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“Need is Now Fund” grant helps domestic abuse agency fill urgent pandemic-inspired need

Posted on Apr 20, 2021 by
Christine Ann Domestic Abuse Services uses first “Need is Now Fund” grant from Women’s Fund to buy security hardware and prevent assaults.
By Maureen Wallenfang, Womens Fund Volunteer

A woman assaulted by her drug-addicted son needed window locks, door alarms and door jammers to prevent a second assault.

Window Alarm

Another adult was able to sleep at night after newly installed door alarms thwarted home access by a brother threatening harm.

Christine Ann Domestic Abuse Services, a nonprofit agency that operates an emergency shelter and provides outreach services, gives security hardware to domestic abuse victims for free. It will be able to buy and stock more urgently needed supplies after receiving the first $500 grant from the new “Need is Now Fund” from the Women’s Fund for the Fox Valley Region.

During the pandemic, Christine Ann’s 24-hour hotline fielded more reports of domestic abuse incidents and an increase in the severity of incidents. The agency wanted to be prepared with security hardware when victims leave their abusers, the most difficult and dangerous time.

It’s a perfect example of urgent expenses the new “Need is Now Fund” was designed to meet.

“This fund was created to address those needs where a small dollar amount will have great impact,” said Julie Keller, executive director of the Women’s Fund.

Door Jammer

“We know that given the last year, nonprofits have experience varied and unanticipated needs. They may not be big needs, but they are critical to serve clients or deliver on their mission. If they are not in their budget, these needs often go unmet,” she said.

The new fund provides up to $500 to eligible nonprofits serving women and girls in the greater Fox Valley, especially if those needs escalated under the pandemic.

The World Health Organization says the COVID-19 pandemic created a global increase in domestic abuse, which it calls a “shadow pandemic.”

In Wisconsin, where one in three women will experience some form of domestic abuse over a lifetime, the needs also escalated during the pandemic.

Victims report more instances of physical assault, sexual assault, stalking or being threatened by a gun or weapon, said Emily James, Christine Ann’s Grant & Stewardship specialist.

“People are spending more time with their abusers because they’re spending more time at home and they’ve lost jobs,” James said.

“The abuse has a cumulative effect and escalates over time because of the stress related to the pandemic,” she said.

The need to keep security hardware on hand is critical, she said.

“This grant funds a major re-stock so we don’t run out anytime soon,” James said. “This would supply us for the next three to six months.”

Portable Door Jammer

To date, the “Need is Now Fund” has awarded five $500 grants.

In addition to Christine Ann, grants have also been awarded to Exceptional Equestrians for sensory integration therapy equipment that must be replaced after each riding session during COVID-19; to the Sweet Adelines International-Fox Valley Chorus for technology licenses and professional services needed to meet and rehearse in a safe and secure environment; Sexual Assault Crisis Center for professional cleaning services necessary for clients and staff to meet safely for an in-person support group; and Life Tools Foundation for a new laptop computer to meet the increased technological, developmental and administrative needs caused by the pandemic.

More about “Need is Now Fund” grants:

  • The Women’s Fund started the “Need is Now Fund” in January with $10,000. An anonymous Women’s Fund donor matched it with an additional $10,000.
  • Grants up to $500 will be awarded to eligible nonprofit organizations that demonstrate an urgent need in their missions to help women and girls with safety, health, education, economic security or leadership.
  • The fund is currently accepting applications. Find the grant application portal at womensfundfvr.org under the Grants/Scholarships tab.
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