We strive to meet a wide variety of needs with a focus on sustainability in Public Service, Families, Child Welfare, Human Rights, and Community Public Health.

Meet the Team

Ashley Rhodes-Courter, MSW

Founder, Executive Director

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Erick Smith

Program Director

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Brandice C., MSW, LCSW

Clinical Services Director

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Robin Wiltshire, B.A. Skidmore College

Urban Farmer

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Eric Law, Owner of Greens ‘n’ Things Urban Farm

Urban Farmer

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More from the Founder

Letter from the Founder

What makes a strong, healthy, educated, and independent person? What negative influences lead to failure and dependence? I have often contemplated these questions because as a young girl I did not have equal opportunities for growth and development. For almost a decade I was shuffled around in foster homes and institutions. So many of my former foster brothers and sisters are now incarcerated, homeless, became teen parents, or fell into the cycles of abuse that brought them into care.

Promoting the health, nutrition, education, safety, and prosperity of the next generation is key to ensuring the survival and productivity of every community. My experience and education has taught me that we must invest in children and families as they are the core of this concept.

Globally we have services in place to help vulnerable populations, but child welfare, social work, medical, mental health, faith-based, and educational professionals are often strained because they are underfunded and understaffed. Social service agencies don’t always have the ability to reach all those in need; and yet these problems are too important to be ignored.

Since the state was technically my parent until I was 12, my childhood was governed by child welfare laws, agency rules and policies. But ultimately, it was the love, patience, and dedication of a few individuals that changed my life. My needs and sometimes safety were overlooked by a tangled bureaucracy. Luckily, teachers called-in the abuse reports, which led to the investigation of questionable foster parents. A Guardian ad Litem (CASA volunteer) advocated for me in dependency court. Community members donated goods and services that helped meet my basic necessities and give me enrichment. Through word of mouth, a family became aware of me and they later became my forever home.

Many families require various levels of support and assistance. Some are lucky enough to have close support systems and healthy cooperation, while others need much more complex aid. This assistance does not always necessitate a large, expensive state or private infrastructure. The power of one person or a small, committed group may be more effective at the local level. I began The Foundation for Sustainable Families to use my knowledge and experience to gather like-minded experts, clinicians, and caring individuals to help struggling families and encourage many levels of community support. We aim to mobilize people wanting to contribute time, resources, funds, or expertise. Just as a pebble tossed into a pond sends ripples to the far edges, even a tiny contribution often makes a bigger impact than expected.

This community-based initiative has evolved from my personal and professional understanding that the most valuable changes happen at the family and community levels. We must empower the individual to be self-sufficient and encourage all to take action for themselves and others. By preventing abuse, hunger, neglect, and breaking down barriers to education and resources, we will lay the groundwork for a productive and safer society.

As a concerned Millennial, I advocate that we each become involved and invested in our global future, starting with our children. Lend a helping hand when a family is struggling. Be the student to speak up when you see a peer being bullied. Embrace a friend with some differences. Contribute time or resources to a local agency that serves at-risk populations.

Step Forward, Take Notice, and Take Action!

Who is Ashley Rhodes-Courter?

Since her first National Keynote at age 14, Ashley Rhodes-Courter has shared her story with thousands in the United States and in over 7 countries.

Ashley Rhodes-Courter, MSW, is the quintessential American success story. Born in 1985 to a single teen mother, by the age of 3 she was in Florida’s foster care system where she spent almost ten years being shuttled between 14 homes—some quite abusive—before being adopted from a Children’s Home at the age of twelve.

Despite her ordeal, she excelled in school because she believed that, “my education was the one thing nobody could take from me.” Early in her life she felt compelled to advocate for herself and the other children she lived with, particularly in the abusive foster homes.

Her efforts and academic achievements landed her Eckerd College’s Trustee Scholarship where she graduated with honors and ahead of schedule earning a double major in Communications and Theater and a double minor in Political Science and Psychology. Ashley then went on to earn a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Southern California.

During her undergraduate studies, she was one of 20 college students selected for the USA Today All-USA Academic Team and was named one of GLAMOUR Magazine’s Top Ten College Women. She was also selected as one of the four Golden BR!CK Award winners for outstanding advocacy for community change by DoSomething!. As part of their campaign, she was featured on 25 million bags of Cool Ranch Doritos.

By the age of 22, Ashley had become a New York Times Bestselling Author. Her first book, “Three Little Words” is now an International Bestseller and has been published in at least 4 countries. Her second book, “Three More Words” debuted at #1 on Amazon Bestseller’s List. Both books are used in classrooms across the country in various community and First Year Experience Collegiate programs.

Ashley has received State, local, and National awards for her speaking, advocacy, and philanthropy. She has spoken on Capitol Hill and has been invited to the White House twice. “Three Little Words” is now being made into a major motion picture.

Three Little Words

Three Little Words

Discover the Power of Your Own Voice

Three Little Words is an International Bestseller and details the inspiring true story of the nearly ten years Ashley Rhodes-Courter spent in the foster care system. Despite all odds against her, Ashley triumphed over painful memories and real-life horrors to ultimately find her own voice.

Ashley lived in fourteen different foster homes, including two group homes. As her mother spiraled out of control, Ashley was left clinging to the unpredictable, dissolving relationship, all the while getting pulled deeper and deeper into the foster care system.

Ashley is juggled between caseworkers, shuffled from school to school, and forced to endure manipulative, humiliating treatment from a very abusive foster family. In this inspiring, unforgettable memoir, Ashley finds the courage to succeed, trust, and bring justice and hope to others.

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Three More Words

Three More Words

Discover the Power of Your Own Voice

Three More Words: In the sequel to the New York Times bestselling memoir Three Little Words, Ashley Rhodes-Courter expands on life beyond the foster care system, the joys and heartbreak with a family she’s created, and her efforts to make peace with her past. The first half of the book answers many questions readers often have from the first book. The second half brings Ashley’s life and purpose full-circle.

Ashley Rhodes-Courter spent nearly a decade of her life in fourteen different foster homes. She went on to earn a Master’s Degree in Social Work, and after becoming a Guardian ad Litem (or CASA) volunteer, she and her husband begin their journey as foster parents, caring for more than 20 children. The latter part of Three More Words details the chilling situations that bring foster children into their care, and explains the heartbreak of watching them return to destructive environments. Ashley also shares the miraculous joy of becoming a biological and adoptive mother.

Whether she’s overcoming self-image issues, responding to calls for her to run for state Senate, or dealing with continuing drama from her biological family, Ashley Rhodes-Courter never fails to impress or inspire with her authentic voice and uplifting message.

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