• 4200 Colley Avenue Suite A
  • Norfolk, VA
  • 23508
  • (757) 622-6400

ForKids Home

Contact InformationPhone: (757) 622-6400 Fax: (757) 622-3837
HeadquartersNorfolk, VA
ServicesBuilding communities

Organization Overview

Housing: ForKids works with 175 families every day to ensure they have a safe place to stay while they gain essential skills, stabilize employment, reduce debt and work toward self-sufficiency.

Education: Over 300 children find tutoring, mentoring and coaching through a variety of educational opportunities. Hot Meals and Homework provides at-risk children with weekly tutoring and a hot meal for their entire family.

Clinical Services: Clinical counseling, health care advocacy, employment counseling, budgeting classes, parenting classes and safety classes contribute to the self-sufficiency of 175 parents and their children.

Background & History

Over twenty years ago ForKids was founded by local citizens to shelter families in the Ocean View neighborhood of Norfolk. After opening Haven House as a 30-day emergency shelter those same citizens quickly found that short-term shelter was not an adequate solution for family homelessness and they embarked upon a new mission to “break the cycle of family homelessness.” In the succeeding years through many federal/private partnerships, including U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Norfolk’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and Virginia HOME, ForKids lengthened the emergency shelter stay to four months, added critical clinical services for both the adults and children and funded the purchase, renovation and construction of our eight additional properties. We opened Norfolk’sfirst Transitional Housing Program in 1994 and the area’s first Permanent Supportive Housing Program in 1998. In 1995 ForKids founded the Norfolk Homeless Consortium in conjunction with two other family shelters and has led the Continuum of Care process which brings millions of federal dollars to Norfolk’s neediest citizens. Elizabeth Place, Legacy, and our newest permanent supportive housing, Dillon Place, is part of our long-term plan to revitalize West 38th Streetin Norfolk. These four housing facilities provide a safer neighborhood for not only our families, but all the residents of 38th Street. ForKids has five residential programs in Norfolk and one in downtown Suffolk serving 39 families every night.

A partnership initiated in fall 2007 with the Norfolk Department of Human Services (DHS) for non-residential services, has resulted in ForKids serving an additional 45 families, more than doubling our daily capacity. This partnership assists families facing imminent homelessness or who are already homeless to obtain ForKids case management services for 12 months: DHS places these families in housing. This approach has been successful in other states as an alternative to families living in costly shelters for an extended period. Furthermore, in 2006, ForKids began receiving grants from the City of Virginia Beach to assist 12 homeless families annually.

Our commitment to tangible results and to building the communities in which we operate has resulted in numerous awards over the years including: the 2008 Campbell and Company Award for Excellence in Fundraising, Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), the 2008 Housing Partner: Special Project Award, Hampton Roads Housing Consortium, the 2006 Neighborhood Builder Award, Bank of America Foundation, the 2006 Volunteer Program of the Year “Hot Meals and Homework,” Volunteer Hampton Roads, the 2005 Virginia Housing Award for Best Housing Program, and 2004 United Way of South Hampton Roads Agency of the Year.

Management Team

CEO, Thaler McCormick, joined ForKids in 1996 initially as Services Director prior to her promotion to Chief Executive in 2001. When Thaler joined ForKids, it was just beginning to grow beyond the boundaries of Haven House, its 8-unit emergency shelter. During her tenure as Services Director, she built the organization’s supportive housing programs and developed ForKids’ extensive children’s services programming and clinical services. As Chief Executive she has actively pursued and implemented a broad network of partnerships with the public sector, service organizations and other non-profits that have resulted in a tenfold increase in ForKids’ service capacity. Today ForKids assists more than 200 families each day throughout Hampton Roads.

ForKids’ innovative, result-driven programs for homeless families have garnered numerous awards including the 2008 Special Project Award from the Hampton Roads Housing Consortium for the redevelopment of W. 38th Street, the 2008 Campbell and Company Award for Excellence in Fundraising from the Association of Fundraising Professionals International,the 2006 Bank of America Neighborhood Builders Award, the 2005 Virginia Housing Award for Best Housing Program and the 2004 United Way Agency of the Year.

During her tenure with ForKids, Thaler has secured millions in federal government grants while successfully reducing ForKids’ dependence on government funding. Since 2001 she has increased community contributions from less than $100,000 to over $1.6 million in FY2009. Her success in implementing results-driven practices while bringing ForKids onto a firm financial footing earned her the 2009Excellence in Nonprofit Leadership Prize from the Virginia Beach Foundation and the “Women In Business Achievement Award” from INSIDE Business magazine in 2005.

Thaler’s work to end homelessness has taken her to Washington D.C. to participate in a White House Roundtable discussion on national solutions for family homelessness and to Moscow to provide training in case management best practices for the AIDS Foundation East-West. She was a member of the Mayor’s Blue Ribbon Commission to End Homelessness that created the 10-Year Plan to End Homelessness in Norfolk. Thaler is currently active in the Western Tidewater Continuum of Care and on numerous boards and advisory councils.

Prior to her work with ForKids, she worked as a Senior Consultant for Arthur Andersen in Washington, D.C. and wrote on housing and development issues for the Urban Land Institute. She holds a Bachelors Degree in Business from Miami University and a Masters Degree in Urban and Environmental Planning from the University Of Virginia School Of Architecture.

MacKenzie Arbogust - Chief Financial Officer Chief Financial Officer

MacKenzie Arbogust joined ForKids in September 2009. MacKenzie oversees the financial and operational aspects of ForKids, including budget development, annual external audit, facilities management, and human resources. MacKenzie came to ForKids from AARP’s Legal Counsel for the Elderly (LCE) in Washington, D.C., where she worked as the Manager of Business Operations. LCE provides free legal services to D.C. seniors who earn up to 200% of the national poverty level and is supported by governmental grants and the AARP. Prior to her tenure at AARP, MacKenzie worked in the Northern Virginia high tech corridor as an analyst in varying roles for 5 years before going back to school full time to pursue her MBA. She has her BS from the College of William and Mary and her MBA from the Robert McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University, where she was a Connelly Scholar.

Joi Chihsolm-Thaxton, Director of Education Director of Education

Joi Chisholm-Thaxton joined the ForKids team in December of 2013 to expand and cultivate ForKids’ education program for youth in the Hampton Roads community. Joi oversees the organization’s efforts in tutoring, mentoring, coaching and developing educational partnerships with local school divisions. Joi comes to ForKids with a wealth of educational knowledge and experience, most recently serving as Director of Education at a Private Day School. She also has eleven years of experience working in the public education sector as a Special Education Teacher, Compliance Facilitator and Assistant Principal. Joi earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Hampton University, a Masters of Education degree from Regent University, and received a post-graduate certificate in Administration and Supervision from North Carolina Central University. She is currently a doctoral candidate in the Educational Leadership program at Capella University.

Vikki Henderson, Regional Director of Services

Vikki Henderson has been with ForKids since 2005 and directs ForKids services in Suffolk and Chesapeake along with our regional veterans programs. A Norfolk native, Vikki spent 15 years working in Dallas, Texas, at Dallas Services, an early childhood center for special needs children with a budget of $2.5 million. She applied this knowledge to ForKids, where Vikki managed the operations of eleven properties, the federal Continuum of Care grants process, all financial processes of the agency and most recently oversaw the Grants and Research team responsible for applying and reporting on over 70 different grants which fund the agency. She received her BBA in Federal Acquisitions and Contracts from Strayer University.

Sarah Johnson - Chief Services Officer Chief Services Officer

Sarah Johnson, joined ForKids in 2009 to manage the expansion of the In-Home Case Management programs. She now oversees family services delivery, including family case management, clinical services and housing stabilization as well as children’s educational advocacy. During her time at ForKids Sarah managed the re-design and restructure of the Western Tidewater emergency shelter program into a motel voucher and rapid re-housing program to respond to dramatic changes in government funding. She has played an integral role in designing and implementing new grant initiatives and managing financial assistance provided to prevent and end homelessness. Previously, Sarah gained clinical skills and experience providing Individual, group and family therapy at The Pines Residential Treatment Center and Hampton Roads Youth Center., serving adolescents with emotional and behavioral challenges as well as providing training and supervision to direct care staff and leading implementation of Medicaid billing. She received her BSW from Daemen College in Buffalo, NY and then moved on to the Advance Standing MSW program at the University at Buffalo School of Social Work.

Bill Young - Chief Development Officer Chief Development Officer

Bill Young joined the ForKids team in December of 2009 to grow and diversify ForKids’ income streams following a 15-year career in a variety of for-profit businesses. Bill heads up the ForKids’ development team, including fundraising, community relations, volunteer coordination, special events, and marketing as well as new business development. Bill came to ForKids from Beaufort Advisors, a small, rapidly growing healthcare consulting firm in Norfolk where he served as VP of Business Development. Prior to Beaufort, Bill served as the Chief Operating Officer and owner of Taste Unlimited for eight years until negotiating its sale in 2006. He holds an MBA from the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia where he was a Shermet Scholar and the recipient of the C. Lewis Sheppard award for distinguished community service. He received his BA in Economics from the University of Virginia.


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