For over 14 years, Terri Sorensen has been a leader at Friends of the Children, a revolutionary organization that breaks the cycle of generational poverty, one child at a time. Friends selects children who face the highest risks and pairs them with a salaried, professional mentor for 12 years, from kindergarten through graduation – no matter what. Friends of the Children was founded in Portland, Oregon, in 1993 and has been scaled to 14 locations, including four sites in Oregon (Portland, Gresham, Klamath Falls, and Central Oregon); Austin, TX; Boston, MA; Charlotte, NC; Harlem and the South Bronx, NY; Los Angeles and San Francisco, CA; Seattle, WA; Tampa Bay, FL; and Cornwall, United Kingdom.
Friends of the Children is a program that works for the highest risk children:
– 83% of our youth graduate from high school, while 60% have a parent who did not.
– 93% avoid the juvenile justice system, while 50% have a parent who has been incarcerated.
– 98% avoid teen parenting, while 85% were born to a teen parent.
Terri is the national president of Friends of the Children, developing strategic direction, fundraising, expansion, and evaluation. Terri has diversified funding streams and raised over $85 million to expand and sustain the program during her tenure at Friends. Under her leadership, Friends of the Children won the 2014 Social Impact Exchange business plan competition and has launched nine new sites in the past five years across the US and UK. In addition, Friends of the Children has led the field of mentoring with its rigorous evaluation: conducting a return on investment (ROI) study with the Harvard Business School Association of Oregon, securing a Social Innovation Fund sub-recipient award from Third Sector Capital Partners for a Pay-for-Success feasibility study, and engaging in a longitudinal randomized control trial (RCT) of the model.
Terri holds a BS in Accountancy from the School of Business & Public Administration at the University of Missouri, and is a Certified Public Accountant. Previously, she was Controller for the American Red Cross, Oregon Trail Chapter, held key managerial positions with Sprint Corporation, and worked in public accounting for Ernst & Young in Kansas City, MO. Terri is a member of the Leap of Reason Ambassadors Community, a cadre of leaders who share a core commitment to high performance. She has served as a board member for Social Venture Partners and Oregon Mentors. Terri received a 2012 Orchid Award for the 25 Most Influential Women in Business by the Portland Business Journal.