Our History

The First Responders Children’s Foundation was originally formed as the National Law Enforcement & Firefighter Children’s Foundation in 2002.  Founder and President, Alfred R. Kahn, hosted our first annual Thanksgiving Parade Breakfast in November, 2001 – just after the 9/11 tragedy.  His hope was to provide the families of New York’s first responders lost in the line of duty with a positive, supportive and festive atmosphere as they entered what was sure to be a very difficult holiday season.  The event was even more powerful for the children and families than Mr. Kahn could have imagined. 

“Your Thanksgiving event brings so much joy to so many people – I can’t begin to tell you how much everyone (including me) appreciates it!!” – Chief Joseph J. Esposito, NYPD

NY Fire Commissioner Salvatore Cassano with the kids enjoying the 2011 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Photo by Thorsten Roth

NY Fire Commissioner Salvatore Cassano with the kids enjoying the 2011 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Photo by Thorsten Roth

The overwhelmingly grateful response from these families underscored for Al that the impact of each loss was going to last a lifetime.  There was a clear need for an organization that could be there to help these families, and others across the country, with crucial assistance years into the future.

A few months later, the National Law Enforcement & Firefighters Children’s Foundation (NLEAFCF) was incorporated to provide aide to line of duty families in which a parent had been killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty.  Support was provided through emergency grants to families, programing grants to first responder agencies for child education and safety initiatives, and the continued staging of our annual Thanksgiving Parade Breakfast.

Scholarships & Grant Program

In 2006, the NLEAFCF Scholarship & Grant Program was launched.  Since then the Foundation has provided 320 college scholarships and special need grants to individuals from line of duty families and law enforcement and firefighter organizations across 37 states.

Thanksgiving Parade Breakfast

In 2017, the First Responders Children’s Foundation hosted our 17th annual Thanksgiving Parade Breakfast.  Since inception, the Foundation has hosted over 20,000 family members of or fallen heroes from the New York Police Department, Fire Department of New York, New York and New Jersey Port Authority Police Department and various other local, state and national law enforcement and fire fighter departments for a hot breakfast and a front row view of the famed Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade.  ,

A New Name

In the 15 years since the Foundation was established, the world has evolved.  The responsibilities we put upon our uniformed heroes has grown exponentially. And so has the reach of our Foundation.  Quietly, behind the scenes, we work with families and agencies across the country including not only police and fire departments, but also the DEA, FBI, Homeland Security, Secret Service, Forest Service, Border Patrol, Court Officers, EMS and all other forms of first responders.  As a result of this expanding scope, we believe it is only fit that our name match our focus.

So, at our 17th Annual Thanksgiving Parade Breakfast November 23, 2017, we launched our new name and logo. The National Law Enforcement & Firefighters Children’s Foundation will now be doing business as the FIRST RESPONDERS CHILDREN’S FOUNDATION.

Under this new moniker, we will continue our legacy programs to provide college scholarships and special need grants to the children of those lost or permanently disabled in the line of duty.  But, we will also be working closely with departments from cities across the country to roll out new programs which answer the needs of the families of those who serve and protect us.

We are keenly aware that the loss or injury of a parent can last a lifetime.  Our first responders rely on organizations like ours to have their backs should tragedy strike. They can count on us to put their families first in times of need – just as they put all of us first every time they go out on a call.


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