Tell us a little bit about The A.D. Henderson Foundation.
The A.D. Henderson Foundation is a family foundation that is dedicated to improving the lives of young children and their families in Broward County, Florida and the State of Vermont. Founders, Alexander D. and Lucy E. Henderson started the Foundation in 1959 to help improve the education and support systems for children to ensure that all children reach their full potential. Since 1993, over $69 million has been invested in communities in South Florida and the State of Vermont.
What made The A.D. Henderson Foundation become a zip code leader?
In recent years, the Foundation has been exploring the idea of a place-based opportunity in Broward County to have a deeper impact in the community. We weren’t sure if that “place” was going to be a classroom, a school, a neighborhood, a city, or a zip code. At the same time the Foundation was having this conversation, the City of Lauderhill was on a mission to make Lauderhill a healthy and prosperous place to live, learn, work, play and do business. Lauderhill’s Health and Prosperity Partnership (LHPP) conducted a community needs assessment in 2021 and an action plan in 2022. LHPP has the support of committed leadership and incredible community buy-in. Our initial three-year investment is in two of Lauderhill’s most impoverished neighborhoods. The City’s devotion to improving the lives of its residents was so encouraging, eye-opening, and affirming, we are happy to be involved in this very real partnership.
What root cause(s) of poverty is The A.D. Henderson Foundation focused on?
The A.D. Henderson Foundation is focused on improving the lives of young children and their families, including reducing Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). Poverty is a risk factor for ACEs, so by working with Lauderhill, we hope to address ACEs, and help give families the opportunity to thrive.
Tell us about any projects you have launched and/or currently have in the works to advance prosperity in Florida.
Lauderhill is the first project of its kind for us. Advancing prosperity is not directly a part of the Foundation’s mission, but we support non-profit organizations that improve the wellbeing of children and their families. We most typically look for good ideas to invest in rather than launching initiatives of our own.
What would you say is the business case for Florida businesses/institutions to get involved with tackling generational poverty in their neighborhoods across Florida?
The proverb, “It takes a village” holds true and that village includes the business community. We know that businesses benefit from a well-rounded, well-qualified workforce and one way to ensure that workforce, both current and future, is to support families. Families will then be in a better position to raise strong and resilient children, work in the community, and be active consumers of the local economy. We need to ensure that all children and families have what is necessary to thrive so that they may be successful.
Is there anything else you would like to add in regards to the importance of joining the fight against childhood poverty and securing the path to prosperity for our youngest Floridians?
Every child, no matter their circumstances, deserves their right to thrive. We know that there is a direct correlation between poverty and equity, and we need to make sure all families are included in opportunities for prosperity and wellbeing. We are doing our best to listen to families who have not been included to be sure they too are part of the path to prosperity.
Click here to learn about the Florida Chamber Foundation’s Florida Prosperity Project that is uniting Florida businesses for good around the Florida 2030 Blueprint goal of cutting Florida childhood poverty in half by 2030 and ensuring 100% have a pathway out.