Written by Judy Donner who is a Sage Society donor and is currently a Co-Chair of the Women’s Fund Engagement Committee.

Imagine finally finding safety from interpersonal abuse then support staff is taken from you. Or the substance abuse relief that was in site suddenly shuts its doors. Or girls with trauma find themselves without the mentors who meant so much.

Women’s Fund has helped prevent those scenarios from happening during the pandemic crisis.

Coburn Place continues to see growth in the need for long term transitional housing to protect families from interpersonal abuse. With 35 apartments on E. 38th Street and a host of community apartments, 884 families were served in 2019; already, 953 have been served to date this year. “Our staff holds everything together,” said Executive Director Julia Kathary. While women in the program can set their own goals and choose the support they need, the staff to provide that support is critical. “We need to support our staff as we support our residents,” she said. The grant from Women’s Fund provided lunches and grocery trips for staff as well as basic cleaning supplies to keep the facilities safe.

At Dove Recovery House, Executive Director Wendy Noe expressed gratitude that the work of her and her staff was acknowledged with an emergency grant from Women’s Fund. Dove House is a residential facility housing 40 women recovering from substance abuse. “Isolation is a core issue for our residents,” said Wendy Noe. “It’s easy to lapse when in isolation and you have no support or accountability of the group who understands.” Telehealth and a dedicated staff made sure that the women who rely on them for support and assistance got the help they needed during a difficult time.

Girls Inc. of Shelby County is the only game in town. A small, lower income rural community, there is a serious lack of support services. “There are very few, if any, services outside of school” said Executive Director Amy Dillon. So when schools closed due to the pandemic, the connection that is so vital to girls in need was severed. The staff became hopeless. But Women’s Fund stepped in with a grant to pay salaries during the crisis. “This support allowed us to get creative and focus on different ways in which to support our girls,” said Amy. The Women’s Fund grant was a tremendous morale boost that trickled down from the staff to the girls they support. 

Women’s Fund is proud to have the support of donors who allow them to reach out in times of need. “The work done by these grantee organizations is vital to girls and women throughout our community,” said Women’s Fund Executive Director Jennifer Pope Baker. “We are proud of their work and our donors who allow us to support them.”