WESTFIELD, NJ —  The Westfield Foundation recently announced its $40,000 pledge to Roots & Wings – Union County, making the foundation the first seed investor to the nonprofit organization dedicated to serving the critical needs of young adults who have aged out of New Jersey’s foster care program.

The money will support a client-centered program that provides safe housing, education, professional counseling and mentoring to these young people. According to The Westfield Foundation, in Union County approximately 100 youth become at risk annually.

Half of the foundation's pledge is a challenge grant to encourage the Westfield community and organizations to partner with them. The Westfield Foundation said it will match up to $20,000 to double donors' contributions.

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Youths in the foster system usually age out at 18, at which time their existing support systems are suddenly disrupted. They face staggering challenges, including homelessness, which can lead to human trafficking, insufficient education, few employable skills, no financial resources and no dependable relationships for guidance.

“We are grateful to the Westfield Foundation for assuming a leadership role to get our local program underway,” said Roots & Wings – Union County liaison Joe Masterson. “Union County, like other counties throughout the state, has limited resources available to prepare or support these young adults. Our program offers qualified youth an opportunity to live independently in a safe environment while pursuing an education, working and learning life skills essential to a stable adulthood.”

Masterson encouraged anyone who would like to make a donation or learn more to call him at 908-403-8621 or visit www.rootsandwingsnj.org.

The Westfield Foundation is a charitable fund supported by annual contributions, family legacy funds and estate bequests. Goals include supporting the ongoing efforts of individuals and organizations to improve the quality of life in Westfield, and also taking leadership roles in bold new initiatives such as Roots & Wings to address emerging or underserved needs in the Westfield area.

In 2013, the foundation awarded over $260,000 to 38 grant applicants. Over the years, a unique and popular opportunity for donor giving to the Westfield Foundation has been to establish a “legacy” fund in an individual or family’s name. The annual investment income from a legacy fund will support the foundation’s yearly giving both immediately and in perpetuity, and is a lasting legacy of generosity for families in the Westfield community. For grant, donor or family fund information, contact Executive Director Elizabeth Chance at foundation@westfieldnj.com. For more information about the Westfield Foundation, visit www.thewestfieldfoundation.com.