August 17, 2021
Throughout our history, CASA and GAL programs across the country have trained committed and dedicated volunteers to serve as court-appointed advocates for children and youth. Today, National CASA consists of 950 CASA/GAL state organizations and local programs, and more than 93,000 CASA and GAL volunteers nationwide. Together we served 242,236 children and youth last year— more young people in the child welfare system than any other national organization.
According to the Johns Hopkins University Center for Civil Society Studies, the nonprofit sector is the third-largest in the U.S. and employs more than 12 million people. These organizations are embedded in every community and address nearly all issues facing society. Every day, someone benefits from the mission of a nonprofit and the commitment of volunteers. At National CASA/GAL, we see this impact every day. Our volunteers, staff, board members, and supporters are making a real difference by advancing our mission to give all children and youth who have experienced abuse or neglect the opportunity to thrive.
It will come as no surprise that the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the nonprofit industry, as it has so many other industries and business sectors. Nationwide, the industry saw a reduction in workforce in the first year of the pandemic. But the news is improving. The Chronicle of Philanthropy reports that donations have hit a new high in the first quarter of 2021 and that hiring is beginning to accelerate. Nonprofits persevere through all sorts of challenges, and I am hopeful that as we begin to return to some sense of normalcy, these statistics will continue to trend positively for nonprofit organizations.
We have seen the resilience demonstrated by CASA/GAL staff and volunteers, and especially by the children and families we serve. This determination is what fuels us. The passion for serving others and for improving our society drives us to work hard for the children and families who need us and inspires us to continue advancing the mission of the National CASA/GAL Association.
Today and every day, we celebrate all of you, and the incredible work of CASA/GAL programs that are impacting lives every day. Thank you for the contributions you make to your communities, and for your incredible dedication and commitment to helping children and youth thrive.