Innovative Programs

FATHER Project, a program of Goodwill/Easter Seals Minnesota

Mission/Goal of Program

Founded in 1999 by the City of Minneapolis, the FATHER (Fostering Actions to Help Earnings and Responsibility) has served thousands of fathers through an extensive network of community partners. The FATHER Project became a program of Goodwill-Easter Seals Minnesota in 2004. The mission of the FATHER Project is to empower fathers so that they can provide for the emotional and economic support of their children. This program is a collaboration of community and government organizations that encourage low-income, primarily unmarried, non-custodial fathers to participate fully in the healthy development of their children.

A Return on Investment study by the Wilder foundation in 2010 showed a long-term financial return of $3.41 for each dollar invested in the FATHER Project. Evaluation outcomes have shown increased parenting skills, educational achievement, job placement and benefits for the children of participating families.

Programs/Services Offered

There are a variety of supportive services offered to fathers in the program, along with key employment and education supports. 

  • Case management: a professional father advocate provides expert consultation on issues facing fathers and support for effective parenting.
  • Parenting support: parenting classes help fathers learn practical skills and receive support from other fathers in similar circumstances.
  • Child support services: Child support staff works with FATHER Project; from paternity to payment issues, to help fathers understand and improve their situation.
  • Father and family activities: fun and educational activities provide fathers, children and family members with important opportunities to strengthen relationships.
  • Employment services: comprehensive employment services, including job search support and resume development.
  • GED tutoring: provision of 1-1 tutoring from experienced, committed volunteers; all testing expenses are covered and bus tokens are available for students who demonstrate a commitment to the program.
Start Date
Friday, January 1, 1999
Type of Agency/Organization
Community-based Organization
Geographic Reach
Clientele/Population Served
Low-income, non-custodial parents
Family Strengthening