Fifth Anniversary Foster5K Benefiting Local Foster Children Staying Virtual

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 25, 2021
CONTACT: Debbie Crouse |

Milpitas, CA​ – The ​Foster5K​ committee will not be stopped. After first postponing and then going virtual in 2020, they will celebrate their 5th Anniversary Foster5K as a virtual event on April 25, 2020. Sign ups are open at​.

They have much to celebrate this year despite the uncertainty of COVID-19 shelter-in-place county orders. The event began with 100 people starting off at A Runner’s Mind on Main Street in downtown Los Altos. Last year, despite a postponement to September that was further delayed due to poor air quality from the California fires, the event grew. There were 400+ sign ups which raised over $30,000 for Child Advocates of Silicon Valley.

Foster5K Co-Chair and Child Advocates Board Member, Debbie Crouse shared, “We had a year like no other in recent history and the community showed up. The committee was blown away when our signups drove towards 400 in the middle of a pandemic and poor air quality. We told participants to “run” their 5K Anyplace, Anytime, Any​where​ and they did it! We received photos of folks running on treadmills, mopping the floor and just having fun with it.”

Their hard work was recognized by the Association of Professional Fundraisers at their Annual Philanthropy Day. They selected Foster5k cp-chairs Crouse and Erf as “Outstanding Nominees” for the 2020 Philanthropy Day.

Emily Nguyen, who is a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Volunteer with Child Advocates, is on the organizing committee with Crouse. She personally recruited 48 people to be on her team last year and she was the top individual fundraiser. “There is a need to serve a cause larger than ourselves. Chipping away in small amounts is a start to addressing a sad systemic problem with foster care. Child Advocates’ mission is critical for lifting up foster children. Asking my friends to get outdoors and enjoying the fresh air on a designated date is a start. Times are harder so I am not sure if I can attain the same number of runners from last year, but I am trying,” shared Nguyen.

To celebrate their 5th Anniversary, the committee will recognize return registrants with commemorative pins in addition to the comfortable 5K shirts they have come to love. As they did last September, they will once again collect photos and videos, award prizes and host a raffle in a virtual 5K Recap at the end of the day.

They are concerned about finding sponsors this year. As a community event, many of their past sponsors are small businesses who have been deeply hit by temporary store closures and shelter-in-place limitations. To thank them for their years of support, Foster5K will promote last year’s Silver and Gold sponsors including A Runner’s Mind, Dish Dash and others.

“We are grateful to have BMC Software as a Gold Sponsor again this year. They not only made a corporate donation, they are sponsoring their employees to sign up. Last year many BMC employees personally donated to Child Advocates. We could not ask for a better sponsor,” said Crouse. “We also could not do it without Palo Alto University, Sereno Real Estate agents Alice and Alicia Nuzzo and Andy Wong, Moss Adams, Chris Shum Photography, Hobees, Curves of Los Altos and others who have sponsored and partnered with the Foster5K since the beginning.”

Hosted by a group of philanthropically minded residents from across Santa Clara County, Foster 5K was created to raise awareness and funds for Child Advocates of Silicon Valley, an independent nonprofit 501(c) 3 organization serving foster children in Santa Clara County.

Foster5K Co-Chair Joy Erf says they feel conservative about participation. This year’s goal is to have at least 300 participants. “We are doing everything we can to promote the 5K. The impact of sheltering-in-place has been even more dramatic for children in foster care. They’ve already been through personal trauma and now have the stress of this pandemic. Something as simple as having a laptop for remote school is a huge challenge.”

“We are thrilled that the community continues to show up for our foster children by participating in Foster5K,” said Frederick J. Ferrer, CEO of Child Advocates of Silicon Valley. “The children we serve are some of the most vulnerable in our community. The support we receive from this race helps us provide them with the support and resources needed to thrive, especially during this pandemic.”

In fiscal year 2020, Child Advocates served 940 foster children through its Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Program, which recruits, trains and supports ​community members who are appointed with a court order by a judge to advocate for the best interests of a child in foster care.​ ​The majority of the funds raised to support these efforts are through donations. “Our ability to serve so many children is only made possible by the generosity of our donors and our volunteers,” says Ferrer. “We are extremely grateful for the financial support and visibility Foster5K brings to Child Advocates. This kind of community support increases our ability to serve more children more meaningfully.”

To sign up for Foster5K, donate or become a sponsor, please visit ​​.

About Debbie Crouse, Foster5K Co-Chair
Debbie Crouse is a long-time resident of Los Altos and brings a wealth of business experience to Child Advocates’ Board of Directors. She has been driving change within technology, service and manufacturing businesses for over 20 years. She currently spends much of her time leading fundraising projects for non-profits and consulting for local tech companies. She has been on the Board of Child Advocates of Silicon Valley for 4 years and is on the Board of Advisors for Animal Assisted Happiness.

About Joy Erf, Foster 5K Co-Chair
Joy Erf, a resident of Cupertino and technical recruiter, found her passion for distance running over 10 years ago when she began training for her first half marathon. Since then, she has completed nine marathons and over 60 half marathons. Joy has provided leadership to other local 5ks including the Montclaire 5k, CEEF Run For Great Schools, and Kennedy Color Run.

About Emily Nguyen
Emily Nguyen is a long time resident of San Jose and a Human Resources Business Partner for Toshiba America Business Solutions. She has served as committee member for Child Advocates of Silicon Valley since 2017 on the committee of Wine, Women and Shoes and the Foster5K. When she’s not rallying her friends to join her Foster5k team Awesome Blossom, you will find Emily devoting her time to her three adorable CASA kiddos, playing tennis, or attending a spin class.

About Child Advocates of Silicon Valley
Child Advocates of Silicon Valley is an independent nonprofit 501(c) 3 organization created in 1986. We serve children aged birth to 21 years old who are placed in the Santa Clara County Dependency Court System for having experienced trauma in the form of abuse, neglect and/or abandonment. We are responsible for operating the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) program in Santa Clara County according to the national guidelines, which entails recruiting, training and supporting CASA Volunteers. We are an affiliate of the National CASA Association. To learn more, please visit