In 2006, FMC’s founder, Daniel Heimpel, was a graduate student of journalism and – more importantly – a volunteer coach for an unlikely lacrosse team in South Central Los Angeles. One of the young men on the team had been placed in foster care after his mother’s death. Through this young man, Daniel met another foster youth and an informal mentorship with both young men blossomed. Through the stories they shared, Daniel soon had a window into the rights and wrongs of the foster care system – and started focusing all of his attention on covering children’s issues.
Daniel’s ensuing coverage of the foster care system, which ran in the LA Weekly, Los Angeles Daily News, Newsweek and The Huffington Post (among many others), received national attention in 2010. Daniel was the recipient of the Child Welfare League of America’s Anna Quindlen Award for Excellence in Journalism on Behalf of Children and Families.
Having become passionate about the plight of children like the young men he’d mentored, Daniel used the national platform he’d been given to launch Fostering Media Connections, initially as a project of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI) based in Washington, DC. Within months, FMC had generated scores of stories in many key outlets and had become a catalyst for bringing together thought leaders around issues in foster care.
In January of 2012, FMC launched its Journalism for Social Change program at UC Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy. The semester-long course has been taught at UC Berkeley, USC’s Sol Price School of Public Policy and San Francisco State University’s Journalism Department, wherein graduate and undergraduate students of journalism, public policy and social work are taught the tenets of solution-based journalism.
In June of 2012, FMC branched off from CCAI to become its own 501(c) (3) non-profit organization, with headquarters in San Francisco, California. Early in 2013, FMC launched The Chronicle of Social Change, a daily news website dedicated to solution-based coverage of the issues faced by vulnerable children and families.
In January of 2014, the massive online open course (MOOC) version of Journalism for Social Change launched with thousands of students around the globe.
In October 2015, FMC moved its headquarters to the Jewelry District of downtown Los Angeles. FMC then acquired Fostering Families Today and Adoption Today magazines and launched its Youth Voice program in 2016. And in 2017, FMC embarked on a strategic national expansion plan, establishing regional outposts in Michigan, Wyoming, New York and Arizona.