In September 2019, JDI announced its latest round of 10 economic empowerment grants to survivors across the Commonwealth who have experienced the financial impact of violence and abuse. Made possible thanks to the support of The Allstate Foundation Purple Purse, these micro-economic empowerment grants were designed to help survivors further their education, build a small business or complete business certification. Recipients were nominated by membership organizations from across the state.
This is a milestone year for JDI and The Allstate Foundation, as it marks the 10th year of their partnership. Since 2009, both organizations have worked closely together to break the cycle of domestic violence through financial empowerment. The resilience and strength of survivors shines through when you read how they plan to use these micro-grants to support their futures. From the homegrown dog-walking business and real estate agency to the nursing career and translator services, the future is bright for these recipients and offer an example of how JDI and our partners are making a difference.
Along with physical, emotional and psychological trauma, nearly all victims of sexual and domestic violence – 99% – are subject to financial abuse. For survivors, costs associated with gender-based violence, including medical expenses and lost wages, can add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Economic dependence is a major reason that many survivors struggle to seek help or leave their abuser.
Together, JDI’s and The Allstate Foundation have tackled the issues of financial literacy and economic independence, which are critical to improving the safety and security of survivors. With Allstate’s support, JDI has awarded a total of $70,000 in grants to 85 survivors since 2012. Among this year’s grantees are:
- “Paws”-itively Professional: When this survivor combined their love of animals with their need for financial independence, a homegrown dog-walking business was born. This survivor’s passionate and driven nature quickly allowed for this business to succeed, and they were even able to hire an employee to help out. Even so, this survivor is still seeking financial stability and, in order for this to happen, they need to cover expenses such as liability insurance, promotional materials and marketing literature – exactly what this grant will go towards.
- The Holistic Healing Hero: After working multiple minimum-wage jobs to support their young children, this survivor is turning to a career in holistic healing. This survivor has chosen to practice Reiki, a Japanese technique to reduce stress and promote healing and relaxation. As a Reiki practitioner and instructor, this survivor will be able to help others while maintaining financial stability for their family. The grant will help cover their remaining Reiki training courses.
“We are so appreciative of the generous support of The Allstate Foundation, which enables JDI to award these grants every year,” said Debra J. Robbin, Executive Director of JDI. “Survivors of sexual and domestic violence often face significant barriers as they work to achieve financial stability and independence. JDI’s partnership with The Allstate Foundation, our member organizations and state agencies are working to improve service delivery, directly support the financial advancement of survivors, and increase the policy understanding of the role that financial stability and empowerment play in resolving issues of sexual and domestic violence.”
In addition to enabling JDI to provide grants directly to survivors, The Allstate Foundation’s support also allows JDI to empower nearly 100 advocates in domestic and sexual violence provider organizations across Massachusetts to identify and implement strategies for incorporating culturally appropriate, responsive financial literacy support into their work with victims and survivors – helping to counter the economic impact of sexual assault and domestic violence.
“Like all domestic violence, financial abuse is a pattern of abusive behavior used to control and intimidate a partner,” said Tracey King, Allstate spokesperson. “It often begins subtly and progresses over time. The signs can be difficult to see – even for victims experiencing it. Through our work with Jane Doe, Inc. and their robust network of member organizations, we are tackling this issue head-on and helping survivors become financially self-sufficient.”
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