Summertime, schools out – for many it’s a welcome time to kick back just a bit, get some vacation time, travel, enjoy those beach-read books, and connect with family and friends.
At Women In Distress, summer is one of the busiest times of the year. For many families, it’s the chance to make a break from an abusive situation so calls to our crisis line and need for emergency shelter go up. We’re planning the back-to-school campaign so children in our program can be outfitted for the new school year and be ready to learn. Our fiscal year ends June 30 but we roll right into planning for fall and winter events and continue a range of programs to help survivors of domestic violence and their children take that next step without fear.
It’s also the perfect time to thank you – our donors and community partners – and share what we’ve been able to accomplish together during this past year.
Among the many highlights:
- Receiving a special $1 million grant from The Jim Moran Foundation last fall – among 14 organizations that shared in a $10 million initiation from the Foundation marking what would have been Mr. Moran’s 100th birthday
- Opening the Pet Shelter (in partnership with the Humane Society of Broward County) made possible by many generous supporters – Bank of America Foundation, Kenny and Sandy Tate, the McBride Foundation and donor-advised funds from the Community Foundation of Broward
- Focusing on our young people with specialists working in the schools on violence prevention and teen dating
- Spreading the message about domestic violence broadly through the Women’s Empowerment Forum in October, a golf event in November that benefits education programs among other services, the most successful Starfish luncheon in its 13-year history and presenting the first Marti Huizenga educational scholarship (began with an endowment gift from Dennis and Lois Doyle) to a survivor who has started her own small business
- Being part of a new self-help center for survivors at the 17th Judicial Circuit courthouse in downtown Fort Lauderdale and providing free legal services for those seeking restraining orders and protection from abusers
- Celebrating the Thanksgiving and Christmas and Hanukkah holidays because of the generous outpouring of gifts and donations from the community
- Opening new doors for survivors through education and trainings at the Ultimate Training Center on our Moran Family Center campus including ESOL classes, financial literacy, job readiness and skills to use new technology
Looking to the future, we are strengthening our agency’s structure and in March added Jennifer Bullock to the senior leadership team in a new position as Executive Vice President. Jennifer has been involved with WID as a volunteer leader and pro bono employment law counsel for more than nine years. She now is directing our programs and services and planning for a strong, sustainable future to serve even more survivors and their children.
Key to our success is having talented, diverse volunteer leaders, led for the past two years by Board Chair Karen Leikert (SVP of Wells Fargo) and incoming Board Chair Kim Bentley (AVP, Corporate Philanthropy at JM Family Enterprises); Trustee Chair Linda Garrett (community volunteer) who will be followed in that role by Keriann Worley (SVP/Market Manager, Entercom-South Florida radio group).
Later this summer, we will be sharing an Impact Report on how your support has enabled us to change the course of lives affected by domestic violence.
The challenges for our families continue, now more than ever. With your support we can meet them. Please consider an additional gift to help us wrap up this program year and begin the new 2019-2020 with a strong foundation.
President and CEO