Footbridge At A Glance

What we do —

Footbridge provides rapid financial support to families facing short-term financial crises which have no other solution. Founded in 2020 after winning a Pittsburgh-based social innovation challenge, the organization has filled in the gap and prevented a crisis for over 1,000 families in Pennsylvania to date. Our organization harnesses partnerships with frontline professionals such as doctors and home visitors to identify families in need and makes payments to third-party organizations on their behalf as quickly as necessary. This unique approach strengthens the relationship between our referral partners and clients with 88% of our clients reporting that they are more likely to engage with and attend appointments with the referring organization after receiving assistance. It also dramatically improves outcomes for families on the brink of a crisis with 79% reporting that Footbridge’s financial aid is still making a difference in their families’ financial situation six months later.

It is widely recognized that families’ ability to meet basic needs is the biggest determinant of their ability to lead full and healthy lives. But in many specific emergency situations, existing support structures either don’t cover or cannot act fast enough to cover an acute, unexpected financial need. Our model complements existing supports, filling in gaps as the payer of last resort, and offers our funders flexibility in crafting solutions. The Footbridge model was built with an appreciation for existing ecosystems such as families’ organic relationships, the pragmatic realities of those in a financial crisis, and political complexities. Unlike guaranteed basic income programs, Footbridge aid doesn’t risk putting a family over the benefits cliff and is palatable to both sides of the political aisle.

How we make a difference —

Footbridge was designed to be the solution for when a child welfare worker visits a home and discovers that although there is no abuse, children’s health and safety may be at risk because of severe financial need. We can turn around requests to rectify crisis situations within hours, which is critical as some determinations whether to remove children must be made on the day of an initial home visit.

Footbridge can act quickly because families complete their applications for assistance within a few minutes over the phone. And our speed makes all the difference. Ninety-five percent of those we’ve helped cite Footbridge as important or critically important in preventing a crisis from escalating, with 99% citing our aid as timely.

Footbridge serves as an intermediary for organizations such as health and human service agencies, foundations and healthcare plans seeking to address the short-term financial crises of individuals and families so as to prevent more expensive negative outcomes. Footbridge interviews families immediately following our aid, and at one-, three- and six-month intervals in order to gauge the effectiveness of our support. More recently, we have been able to match the records of 2,435 individuals we have served within Allegheny County’s DHS Data Warehouse, allowing us to look at health and human service administrative data for those whom we’ve helped.

Both survey and administrative data about our clients six-months post-intervention indicate that despite being in a highly vulnerable situation, they were able to avoid utilization of our community’s most expensive systems. In the six months following Footbridge aid, 0.04% of our clients had to use an emergency shelter with none of our clients having to use a day shelter; less than 1% of clients had an inpatient hospitalization; and only 1.5% sought services for a mental health crisis. One third of our clients state that we helped mitigate a mental health crisis and 74% report that receiving financial assistance from Footbridge has enabled them to be their best selves when parenting. Excluding families with child welfare involvement prior to our intervention, only 2% of our clients had to have a child welfare case opened in the six-months following our aid and 0.5% had a placement.

Footbridge is poised for national growth given the efficacy of our intervention and organizational transition to growth mode. New business opportunities can be ramped up expeditiously, with 3-6 months to hire and train additional staff as needed being the most significant activity necessary for Footbridge. If you would like to learn more, please contact CEO Kim Eckel at

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