Southwest Airlines is committed to fostering healthy communities and strives to positively influence lives in each community in a meaningful way. Southwest Airlines is proud to support Promises2Kids CEO Tonya Torosian and its mission to create a brighter future for foster children. We are honored to champion non-profit partners such as Promises2Kids who was recently selected as the Nonprofit of the year in San Diego. We take the extra steps in furthering their mission as they have helped over 200,000 children in need for critical services, emergency shelter and support for abused and neglected children. Southwest Airlines will always come through and be here to support our youth who will one day become tomorrow’s leaders.
A Champion for Child Welfare
A dedicated and passionate advocate for child welfare, Tonya Torosian’s work with children and nonprofit management spans more than 30 years, the last 10 of which she has served as CEO of Promises2Kids. Tonya began as a social worker, then served as an executive charged with developing strategic alliances and implementing processes, systems, and policies. Her leadership and commitment to empower foster youth led to the winning the 2021 Nonprofit of the Year award for Promises2Kids.
“I was only 21 years old and had never heard much about foster care and with my own family being a loving and nurturing home, I could not imagine any child being abused,” said Torosian. “I met incredible children and teens who were thrown into a system after being horrifically abused by their parents. I thought they were now safe and as a foster child would be taken care of and would now flourish. I learned immediately this was not the case and that during that time, the system was not necessarily a safe place for children.”
Today, as CEO of Promises2Kids, Tonya has continued her personal and professional mission to create a brighter future for foster youth. Under her leadership, Promises2Kids annually provides more than 3,000 current and former foster youth in San Diego County with the tools, opportunities and guidance they need to address the circumstances that brought them into foster care, overcome the difficulties of their past and grow into healthy, happy and successful adults. Promises2Kids supports these children through its four core programs: Polinsky Children’s Center, Camp Connect, Guardian Scholars and Foster Funds.
“We are unique in that we are funded by donations solely from individuals, the community, and sponsors such as Southwest Airlines. Southwest Airlines has made it possible for foster youth to travel for college tours, inspiring and engaging them in their pursuit of higher education. This is critical for Promises2Kids and its efforts to help former foster youth successfully transition to adulthood. As a result, we have the flexibility to design programs to be responsive to the current needs of foster children,” Tonya shared.
Even through the COVID pandemic that has plagued so many nonprofits, Tonya’s leadership has enabled Promises2Kids to successfully navigate and redirect its programs to meet the needs of employees and those it serves. Tonya acted quickly to secure funds necessary to support $350,000 of unexpected expenses for these youth in response to COVID. She also made sure the staff had flexible work schedules, taking into account family structures and obligations and supporting employees in the best way possible.
In addition to her internal leadership, Tonya has inspired businesses and community leaders to serve as role models and mentors for foster youth. This has resulted in more than 80% of youth in the Guardian Scholars program completing their education – compared to national averages as low as 10 to 30%. In addition to her daily duties as CEO, Tonya has served on the board of several nonprofit organizations, which includes serving as the President of the San Diego chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. She is also a board member of LEAD San Diego and the San Diego Women’s Foundation.
With her vision and leadership, Promises2Kids continues to create a brighter future for foster children in San Diego County.