National Fatherhood Initiative® (NFI) has reached its 25th year of educating, equipping, and engaging communities to increase father involvement in children’s lives.
But we’re not celebrating that fact. Why? Because any organization that’s been around this long and that’s focused on combatting a social ill keeps its doors open only because that social ill is, well, still an ill.
Fortunately, we’ve made progress. In partnership with thousands of direct-service providers across the country that strengthen families and communities—and entities that support those providers—we’ve stemmed the tide of father absence. It’s remained flat since 1995, one year after we mark our founding. The silver lining is that we’ve seen father absence reduced in the Black community.
It’s the partnerships we’ve established and maintained since 1994 that is the key ingredient in becoming the leading organization in the country that educates, equips, and engages direct-service providers that perform the herculean task day in and day out to increase and maintain fathers’ connection to their children and families. Many of those partners also help reconnect fathers when that bond is severed.
So, as we look back and forge ahead, there is something to celebrate. It’s the effort of our partners to reduce father absence. Without them, we wouldn’t have evolved into an organization that supports that effort.
Celebrating NFI’s Partners
That’s why the focus of our 25th anniversary sits squarely on our partners. In a series of upcoming posts, we’ll highlight a group of those partners—five fatherhood champions—that reflect the diverse people, organizations, and communities involved in this vital work. We polled our staff to identify champions who have been involved in serving dads for many years and narrowed down the list from there. It was very difficult to narrow down the list. There are so many long-serving fatherhood champions who are worthy of celebrating.
We then conducted an in-depth interview with each partner to gather content for a post on each one. You’ll learn many interesting things about each partner and advice from their many individual and combined years of experience to apply in your work. You’ll learn about:
- How their organization serves fathers (or supports services for fathers) and their role within their organization.
- How their past influenced their work with fathers today.
- How their community views fathers and fatherhood.
- What’s most important for fathers to know to be involved in their children’s lives.
- What’s most important for organizations to know that serve or want to serve fathers.
- How they’ve partnered with NFI to support fathers.
- The most inspirational “father story” they’ve experienced.
I’m sure you’ll enjoy and be inspired by their stories. Heck, I can’t wait to read them all!
Did you know that National Fatherhood Initiative was first called the National Fatherhood Project? We were incorporated in September 1993 and changed our name in February 1994. That’s why we mark 1994 as the year of our founding.
Do you know about the history and transformation of NFI through the years? Check out this infographic to learn about them.