Philanthropic Spotlight: Kids Included Together

This month, we shine our philanthropic client spotlight on Kids Included Together (KIT), who we have worked with for five years.

KIT is a phenomenal international organization dedicated to teaching how to create inclusive environments, so no child is excluded. Realizing the isolation faced by families who have children with disabilities, KIT was launched with a vision of helping this often-overlooked group feel more connected to and included in their communities.

Originally, the San Diego Jewish Community Foundation and the Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center formed a partnership to host an inclusive summer camp to help make this connection. The program was so successful that in 1997, it became a separate nonprofit, with the mission to teach inclusive practices to child and youth programs throughout San Diego County. Over 300 programs in San Diego County have implemented inclusive practices as a result.

The organization expanded its range beyond our local community beginning in the early 2000s, which led to an annual national conference on inclusion and out-of-state and online training. Around the same time, Torrie Dunlap joined KIT as a part-time employee. Torrie had collaborated with KIT when she was a drama instructor and education director and a parent asked if her child with Down syndrome could participate in a theater program. Torrie, not wanting to refuse anyone, said yes and reached out to KIT for help. She is now KIT’s CEO, overseeing all aspects of the organization.

Today, KIT works in all 50 states and 15 countries, teaching more than 20,000 learners a year through in-person training, online learning, and their unique coaching call center. The organization is contracted by the US Department of Defense to implement inclusion in every military child and youth program throughout the world on 265 installations.

According to Torrie, KIT is one of a kind. No other nonprofit does what they do with the same service offerings. The KIT team has developed best-in-class inclusion services to help ensure all children are included, regardless of ability.

When asked what she would like the reader of this post to know about KIT, Torrie replied with two topics:

  1. Camps, swim classes, theater programs, and all community programs that serve youth can also serve kids with disabilities, not just schools. KIT will provide all of the resources and training so no prior special education credential is needed.
  2. Anyone who knows of a program that would like to include all youth can be referred to KIT, so please let them know about the organization.

PBO Advisory Group has worked with Torrie and KIT since 2018. By doing so, the nonprofit gained a full accounting team for less than the cost of one full-time employee.  We’ve helped the organization receive PPP and ERTC funds, which assisted KIT in operating throughout the pandemic. In addition to our finance and accounting advisory and outsourcing services, we are proud to provide KIT with an HR specialist who, as Torrie says, helps take care of the KIT team.

We are proud of our relationship with KIT and to help play a role in the organization getting more kids with disabilities included in their communities.