As a successful nonprofit entrepreneur and agent for social change, Becky Snyder Fawcett ’88, bears little resemblance to the shy girl of her school years. Always a quiet student, it was during her senior year at The Shipley School that Fawcett began to find her voice.
For her senior project, Fawcett wanted to research the impact of divorce on children. It was a personal topic for her, having divorced parents, but stood in stark contrast to the projects of her peers. When she hesitantly submitted her project proposal, her teacher replied, “Why not?”
“So I created a researched advocacy project and an insider look at how children are treated during a divorce and how they excel in spite of it. I think it was the first A I ever received from Mrs. Thomas,” Fawcett recalls with a laugh. She’d triumphed in fixing a lens on a personal challenge and defying the norm.
After high school and college, Fawcett established a thriving career in media and PR before, as she says, “life happened to me.” She and her husband, Kipp, had a difficult time starting a family before ultimately adopting their son, Jake. They were able to meet the financial demands of adoption, but it was not easy. “An average adoption is $40,000 and the average household income in our country is $54,000,” Fawcett says. “For most people, this is a struggle.”
And so, from her kitchen table in 2007, Fawcett founded and launched HelpUsAdopt.org, a nonprofit organization that eases the financial burden of those in the process of adopting through a network of donors and grants. Since then, HelpUsAdopt.org has helped to build over 270 families. The organization raised $1.2 million in 2018 and will increase grants to $500,000 in 2019. “That basically means we’ll be building a family a week,” Fawcett says.
The organization is the only one of its kind in the United States to be based on a platform of family equality and without any religious affiliation while awarding grants up to $15,000. “It’s problem-solving help,” Fawcett says. “I don’t believe there’s a point in existing as a nonprofit if you're not going to solve a problem.”
Fawcett is especially proud of how HelpUsAdopt.org is changing perceptions about adoption. “I love that people look at me and they’re shocked that I’m talking about it so comfortably,” she says. “That, to me, is change.” Her organization grants awards to married couples, single parents, and LGBT families alike adopting from all over the globe.
Now a mother of two, Fawcett is driven by the ever-growing list of applicants seeking help in building their families. “I just have to keep going until we say ‘no’ less. That’s really all there is to it,” she says. “The sky’s the limit.”