Tracy Foster, founder, and president of Project Being There, says that it is her experience that no one makes a decision in isolation. She and her husband, Steve, wanted a family and made the decision to adopt from Vietnam. Over the course of several years, they adopted three children. Tracy and Steve observed that all the orphanages they visited shared similar facilities―most buildings were older and without heat or air. Resources were limited. They witnessed degrees of deficiency among the three orphanages where their own babies had been living. However, they discovered that a trained staff with direct administrative oversight could make a positive impact on the quality of life the children experienced. Their experiences provided key insight and helped them recognize the orphanage they wanted to serve. Tracy and Steve believed that deepening their service to the orphaned children of Vietnam would help their own children learn about their birth country; a commitment they made in their adoption agreements.
Establishing a Nonprofit
With the help of their adoption group, friends, and family, Project Being There was officially incorporated on March 18, 2009, and became a tax-exempt 501(c) (3) non-profit organization on September 19, 2009. They did so with help from SCORE, a national organization that advises small businesses and organizations. The PBT name was inspired by a quote from the Roman philosopher Seneca who said, “Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for kindness.” One of the biggest lessons they learned in those first few years was that perfection is an illusion and perseverance is essential to real service in the world.
Committed to Loving Kindness
Project Being There is committed to extending as much kindness as possible to St. An’s children and staff. They readily admit that it requires passionate dedication. The Fosters, the PBT Board, and other volunteers take regular working trips to St. An’s to spend time with the children and staff. The annual visits are central to the success of the program at St. An's by establishing friendships and fulfilling promises made for a better life and greater opportunities for success.
PBT is a true nonprofit, board members and volunteers do not recieve any compensation or salary. Board members and volunteers personally pay their travel expenses when visiting the orphanage.