Focus on the Family

From Academic Kids

Focus on the Family (FOTF or FotF), founded in 1977, is a evangelical Christian non-profit organization based in the United States. The organization describes itself as "dedicated to nurturing and defending families worldwide". The group was founded by Dr. James Dobson and is headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Focus on the Family is one of a number of evangelical para-church organizations that have arisen in the last decade. Their stated aim is to not start a new church or denomination, but to work interdenominationally to protect and promote their definitions of traditional family and family values. Some of the core promotional activities of the organization include a daily radio broadcast by Dobson or his aides, as well as the publishing of a variety of magazines.

In response to perceived threats to the family from changing world views in society, Dobson and his associates have become more politically active, and are regarded as a major voice in the Christian right, generally promoting conservative policies. Recently it began publishing a new political magazine called Citizen which addresses political concerns, especially on issues where current public policies are seen as destructive to families.

The organization has an affiliate in Canada called Focus on the Family Canada.

Contents

Political positions and activities

The group supports the teaching of what they characterize as "traditional family values." It advocates school prayer and supports corporal punishment. It strongly opposes abortion, homosexuality, pornography and pre-marital sexual activity.

Focus on the Family broadcasts a national talk radio program of the same name hosted by Dobson or his aides. The program has a range of themes, such as Christian-oriented assistance for victims of rape or childhood abuse; parenting difficulties; child adoption; husband/wife roles; family history and traditions; struggles with gambling, pornography, alcohol, and drugs; and many other themes. When programs deal with civic issues, listeners often respond to these programs by contacting political leaders.

The organization claims that their daily radio broadcast has over 1.5 million listeners daily in the United States. They also have offices worldwide, and claim a worldwide audience of over 200 million for their daily radio broadcast, which would be over 3% of the human population.

Focus on the Family also produces ten monthly magazines (with a total of about 2.3 million subscribers) and a wide variety of books and films. Magazines include Focus on the Family, Parental Guidance, Clubhouse, Clubhouse Jr., and Citizen.

Leadership

Leadership for the organization was provided by Dobson alone until 2003. In 2003, Donald P. Hodel became president and chief executive officer, tasked with the day-to-day operations. This left Dobson as chairman of the Board of Directors, with chiefly creative and speaking duties.

In March, 2005, Hodel retired and Jim Daly, formerly the Vice President in charge of Focus on the Family's International Division, assumed the role of president and chief executive officer.

History and facilities

Focus on the Family began in 1977 out of a small office in Arcadia, California. It soon outgrew that facility and began acquiring space in both Arcadia and in nearby Monrovia as its radio program grew in listenership. By 1990, the group needed even more space, and relocated to a new office complex in Pomona, California, that was supposed to last the organization for many years. Further growth caused by increased listenership of the radio program and readership of its books and magazines caused the organization to look for even more. In September 1993, having relocated to temporary quarters in various locations in Colorado Springs in the previous months, Focus on the Family dedicated its main building on an expansive 49-acre (200,000 m²) site.

Currently its three office buildings have a combined space of over 526,000 square feet (49,000 m²) housing over 1300 employees. One of the buildings is largely used for receiving telephone calls from listeners and providing requested assistance; this activity engages the largest segment of its employees. The organization's facilities are open for tours by the public Monday through Saturdays, excepting certain holidays. A bookstore and cafeteria are onsite, as is the child-oriented Whit's End Soda Shoppe which serves ice cream and "Wodfamchocsod" (chocolate soda) made famous by the Adventures in Odyssey children's radio theatre show produced by Focus on the Family.

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