On December 24, 2015, the Los Angeles Daily Journal featured an article on Venable partner Mitch Evall’s work on behalf of the United Friends of Children, a nonprofit helping with the immediate needs and long-term success of children in the Los Angeles County foster system. Evall, who serves as chairman of the nonprofit’s board of directors, has been involved with the program for three decades. Each year, United Friends of Children helps 1,400 youth through three main programs: a college-within-reach program, financial assistance for former foster children attending college, and a housing-centered program focused on jobs.
“Less than 50 percent of foster kids graduate from high school and only 3 percent earn a college degree,” said Evall. “In our program, for the kids in middle school who stay with the college-within-reach program for four years, we have a 100 percent high school graduation rate and 97 percent of the kids go on to college.” Evall attributes the success of the program to the dedication and compassion of the staff and volunteers, many of whom often become like family to the kids. “For a lot of them, that’s the tipping point, just having someone that believes in them.”
Counsel Celeste Brecht first got involved with the nonprofit following an invitation from Evall to a fundraising dinner. “What UFC does to materially make a difference in their lives, and how these people can go from these really bad situations to having someone care, that really made an impact on me,” said Brecht. “It can be overwhelming at times, but [Mitch is] one of these guys who can always find the positives, and I think because he sees real change in these kids it gives him the hope to do it.”