Michael Rugen

Co-Founder & Executive Director

After a long legal career at Heller Ehrman and Sidley Austin, Michael resigned his law partnership and set out to make a difference in the lives of at-risk youth. He knew the academic literature and anecdotal evidence show that the most reliable path for a youth to find their way out of poverty is to have a consistent, caring adult presence in their life, so he began to investigate various approaches to mentoring. Having worked with many non-profits over the years, Michael quickly recognized how unique the Friends of the Children model is, combining the soulful mission of serving the most vulnerable children for the long run with a rigorously business-like, evidence-based approach. Michael spent more than two years raising the seed funding and laying the groundwork for Friends of the Children - SF Bay Area before hiring our first staff member in September 2016.

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