Empowering Dads to Become Agents of Positive Change

By Giving List Women   |   May 20, 2024
Monthly DadChats – virtually connecting and supporting one another on the journey. (photo by Brian Anderson)

Brian Anderson, a social worker and educator learning about sexual and domestic violence, started to explore issues surrounding men and masculinity about 20 years ago. But when he became a father, his interest in the subject matter deepened dramatically. 

“This was around the time of #MeToo. There were seismic shifts putting attention on men,” Anderson recalls. “I realized that in being an equal partner with my wife in raising our daughter, I could translate what I was doing at home into advocating the same for other dads.”

From Dads with Daughters to Fathering Together

A member of the Facebook group Dads with Daughters, Anderson thought it should be more than a place for dads to chat. “I wanted it to have an advocacy component, to raise dads’ consciousness, like interrupting ‘jokes’ peppered with sexist language.”

When the pandemic struck, there were already more than 100,000 dads in the group, Anderson recalls. “Most were asking, ‘How can I be better connected? How can I do right by my kids?’ That’s when I realized we needed to be more than a Facebook group.” 

Anderson and colleague Chris Lewis founded Fathering Together (FT) in 2019. Simply put, Fathering Together is reimagining fatherhood and turning dads into positive change agents by convening panels, organizing support groups, and working daily to change the narratives of fatherhood. It’s also helping to achieve exactly what Anderson wanted it to: it’s taking gender equity from the home and emphasizing it in the community.

And the data is clear: Multiple studies have shown the positive impact a father’s presence can have on their children – children have higher self-esteem and form stronger attachments and healthier friendships. 

We Don’t Limit Who Identifies as a Father

Fathering Together has an expansive definition of fatherhood: “We don’t narrowly define who a dad is,” Anderson says. “We have trans fathers, grandfathers, uncles, big brothers. We have lesbian couples where one of the pairs identifies in the father role.” 

In 2022, Anderson published Fathering Together: Living a Connected Dad Life, which makes a critical, heretofore under-appreciated connection between fathers’ work and home lives. “Most men have been taught to excel in the workplace, to build professional skills. But we haven’t taught them to adapt those skills, to apply them in their dad lives.”

A Dads with Daughters member, Cordan Haveron, an educator and coach, is now the executive director of Fathering Together. Under his tutelage, the organization emphasizes their school-based programs as a complement to their training on emotional intelligence, communication, and mental health.

“We began piloting school programs in 2022, focusing on dads with elementary-school-aged kids,” Haveron says. “Our aim is to deepen dads’ participation in school activities by accomplishing three things: increasing their emotional intelligence, helping them better connect with their kids, and advancing a gender equity mindset.”

To that end, Fathering Together sees its school programs and its offshoot organization, City Dads Group, as essential in its efforts to empower dads to foster change not just in themselves, but also in their families and communities.


Fathering Together

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(206) 941-8507
Executive Director: Cordan James Haveron


Fathering Together’s mission is to transform dads into positive change agents through communities of support and accountability which provide space for vulnerability and work toward equitable practices.

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