Far too many cash-strapped families in America are just one small financial crisis away from falling into the chaos of homelessness and entanglement with social services agencies. Pittsburgh-based child welfare administrator Kim Eckel had seen it happen too many times and was convinced there must be better way to help families avoid engaging with child protective services. So, she developed it herself. Working nights and weekends, the mother of three conceived of a technology platform that would quickly channel donations from individuals, corporations and foundations directly to families along with referrals and help from health care and social services professionals.
Her innovative solution, Footbridge for Families, won the $150,000 first place award in the 2020 UpPrize Social Innovation Challenge sponsored by the BNY Mellon Foundation of Southwestern Pennsylvania. A year later, Kim has brought her concept to life serving over fifty families while further refining the organization’s business process and technology. The organization is poised for significant growth this summer through its new partnership with UPMC Children’s Primary Care Centers and the addition of a Chief Operating Officer.