Boston, November 11. 2020 – Receiving a grant of $1000 can make a difference at any time, but it is especially helpful now as survivors of sexual and domestic violence face increased financial pressures due to COVID-19. Through a partnership with The Allstate Foundation, Jane Doe Inc. (JDI), the Massachusetts Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence announced today that they have awarded 10 mini-grants to support the economic journey to independence and safety for survivors across the Commonwealth.
Grants were selected based on applications by survivors detailing their dreams and plans to further their education, build a small business or complete a certificate program.
“This year’s grantees once again demonstrate the creativity, strength and drive of survivors to take charge of their own lives and provide for themselves and their families. It is an honor to offer these modest grants to help survivors achieve significant milestones in their journey,” said Debra J. Robbin, Executive Director of JDI. “Partnerships with organizations like The Allstate Foundation are essential to create these opportunities and help break down the barriers survivors face in achieving financial stability and independence.”
Here are a few examples from this year’s ten grantees:
- Child Care Dreams: Resilient in the face of adversity and abuse, this survivor has worked incredibly hard to support their children after leaving their partner. After years of trying to make a traumatic relationship work, they gained the strength to leave and support their children on their own. They have gained valuable experience working as in a daycare environment, and this grant will give them the opportunity to gain the licensure now required to work in pre-schools. Their dream of financial stability and working with children can be realized after years of hard work.”
- A Beacon of Hope: With this grant, the survivor will be able to become a certified practitioner of TRE (Tension & Trauma Release Exercises). This resilient survivor sees TRE as life-changing and meaningful work to help others release the trauma and PTSD that’s held inside the body. After a lifetime of surviving neglect and abuse, this brave survivor sees a chance to transform their trauma into something helpful for others who might otherwise cause harm to others or help release survivors from pain and trauma. By getting certified, they hope to become “a beacon and a guide — not just a survivor anymore.”
- Fashion Forward Freedom: After fleeing abuse, this trans survivor worked hard to establish themselves as a fashion and jewelry designer, with a talent for in-person sales. Now, selling online is more important than ever, so they need a little help setting up an Etsy shop. The funding from the grant will help them procure the supplies they need and improve the look and feel of their e-commerce site. The survivor has already done so much work that shows their resilience; this grant allows them to continue achieving their goals of independence and self-sustainability.
- Cutting Ties with Abuse: After escaping forced illegal work, this survivor has discovered her own resolve to become self-sufficient and stand on her own two feet doing what they love: cutting hair. This grant will help realize her dream of owning an all-female barbershop, empowering other women to thrive and survive. With the funds provided by this grant, the survivor will become a certified barber and learn how to run her own business, earning stability and financial freedom. Watch this Facebook Live segment featuring this grant recipient through RESPOND, Inc.
- Read about the other grantees! Download this document:
“1 in 4 women and 1 in 5 men experience domestic violence in the United States. 99% of those cases included financial abuse. It is a primary reason that many survivors are unable to leave an abusive partner or have to return to one,” said Tracey King, Allstate spokesperson. “Through our work with Jane Doe, Inc. and their statewide network of member organizations, we are tackling this issue head-on by providing the education and resources survivors need to find long-term security through financial independence.”
For the past 11 years, these mini-grants have been an aspect of The JDI Economic Empowerment and Capacity Building Project supported in part by The Allstate Foundation. JDI’s project also includes working to improve service delivery and policies that deepen understanding of the role financial stability and empowerment play specifically for those who experience sexual and domestic violence.
Sexual and domestic abuse victims can have a wide-range of financial impacts, such as incurring expenses if someone decides to move out of their neighborhood, drop out of school or stop working. In terms of sexual violence specifically, studies also show that living without housing, a stable income, employment or steady education may increase a person’s risk for sexual victimization.
Economic challenges people who experience sexual and domestic violence can range from having poor to no credit scores, incurring debt and foreclosure due to an abuser to a lack of job security, inability to afford housing costs, obstacles to pursuing educational opportunities and inability to cover medical expenses. Racial disparities, as well as urban and rural poverty, create additional income and wealth gaps as well as barriers to access supportive services and resources.
To increase access for survivors, training is provided to banking and financial industry employees, as well as sexual and domestic violence advocates on; strategies to break the cycle of poverty and violence, asset building, gaining a better understanding of survivor’s needs and the dynamics of abuse in the context of financial matters. In particular, JDI centers the needs and experiences of marginalized individuals, including Black and other people of color, LGBQT+, immigrants – in its policy, systems advocacy and prevention efforts.
Representatives from JDI, The Allstate Foundation and grant recipients are available for comment. Please contact Toni Troop, JDI’s Director of Communications and Development, to arrange: firstname.lastname@example.org, 617-212-7571
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JDI (also known as Jane Doe Inc., The Massachusetts Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence) is the only statewide membership and advocacy coalition in Massachusetts dedicated to addressing sexual and domestic violence. We aim to support survivors and end violence by promoting gender equity, racial justice, and safety for everyone. JDI’s mission is to complement and support the expertise and leadership of our community-based member organizations with a statewide strategy involving public and private partners to tackle systemic issues that foster and perpetuate violence, to create policies and explore innovative solutions that improve the lives of survivors, and to prevent gender-based violence.