Bet The Farm On It:Kars4Kids Grant Reaps Benefits for At-Risk Youth in Nonprofit Mentoring Program

With each visit she makes to the farm, a nonprofit for rescued animals, the sweet smell of horses and hay hits close to home. Forget Me Not Farm is like family to Sabrina Schmidt, who started visiting the outpost for the Sonoma Humane Society regularly some 20 years ago while she bounced around in the foster care system.

During her trips, Schmidt forged an affinity for the animals, many once abused and neglected like herself, that helped her overcome the challenges of finding housing and a job later in life.

Carol Rathman, founder and director of Forget Me Not Farm, credits the nonprofit’s mentoring program for reversing Schmidt’s fortunes as much as she does the therapeutic connections that visitors establish with resident animals. Mentoring at the farm is supported, in part, by a grant from Kars4Kids, the national car donation program whose proceeds benefit educational initiatives for children.

Worthy organizations interested in furthering the welfare and education of children and young adults outside of a school setting can find can find the Kars4Kids Small Grants listed at

Libby Hikind, founder and CEO of GrantWatch, said foundations are particularly interested in funding mentoring programs and projects that support education, children, and youth at-risk.

By providing grants to libraries, mentoring, tutoring, afterschool programs and the like, Kars4Kids is enriching the education of future citizens and leaders of the community, said Wendy Kirwan, a spokesperson for the organization.

“There are so many worthy organizations out there,” said Kirwan. “We want to help. We don’t want to be limited even by the scope of our own extensive programming.”

Successful small grant applicants must demonstrate a mission well-aligned with Kars4Kids vision of offering children emotional, social, and spiritual development and support. Kars4Kids is a nationally recognized Jewish 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that gives back to the community through a variety of educational, youth development, family outreach and faith-based programs.

Now 30, Schmidt, is employed at an independent senior living facility near her apartment where she helps the residents with their pets, sometimes walking their dogs, cleaning litter boxes or feeding their animals. And while the trauma from moving from foster care to group home and back has subsided somewhat, the farm remains a source of kindness, compassion, empathy and trust for her.

In each visit back to the farm, Schmidt greets the animals with the familiarity of family. She says, that she her affinity for the farm is such that she would sleep there, if she could. Thanks to the mentoring program, she does not have to.

Nonprofits, public and private foundations, small businesses and entrepreneurs frustrated by the often-overwhelming process involved with searching for grants for libraries, mentoring, tutoring, afterschool programs can identify funding opportunities that are easy to read and simple to comprehend at 

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