Community Foundation Provides More Support For Domestic Violence Victims During Pandemic

June 1, 2020
A sculpture at Women In Distress of Broward County welcomes survivors of domestic violence to a safe place where they can get a fresh start.

Women In Distress of Broward County provides refuge and support to victims of domestic violence. Women like Renee.

“I ran away from an abusive husband and had nowhere to turn. Women In Distress gave me an opportunity to be social again and find myself. I got on my feet by learning how to balance my finances better. I even joined a cool cooking class that taught me how to cook healthy on a budget.”
“I’m currently in college and truly believe with Women In Distress on my side, as I prepare to graduate in less than a year, I have a bright future ahead of me.”
- Renee *
(*Name changed to protect her privacy.)

But what happens to people like Renee during a pandemic?

What happens to the women and children who have been stuck in an abusive home during the coronavirus quarantine? What happens when job loss limits escape options – while adding stress to an already volatile situation?

As the far-reaching effects of the coronavirus continue to unfold, the Women In Distress domestic violence shelter is getting more calls for help. Calls from women who need a safe place to make a fresh start. And they expect this surge of need to grow as stay-at-home orders are lifted.

“Survivors and people in domestic abuse situations are trapped all the time, but particularly during this pandemic, they may not even be able to make a phone call safely,” said Mary Riedel, President and CEO of Women In Distress. “As we continue to return to a ‘new normal’ of life, we expect to see the need for our services increase.”

Now, thanks to emergency support from the Community Foundation of Broward, Women In Distress has an infusion of resources to help more survivors of domestic abuse during this unprecedented crisis.

With a new $100,000 Community Foundation grant, Women In Distress is able to house more people – keeping them safe from abuse and helping them avoid homelessness. The grant enables Women In Distress to provide more counseling for survivors. And as job loss and economic pressures become a greater challenge, the emergency will help provide financial assistance to cover basic needs.

“Support from the Community Foundation of Broward ensures we are able to continue to provide critical services to families as the need grows in the weeks, and months, ahead,” Riedel said. “Together, we remain committed to providing safety, healing and hope to survivors of domestic violence.”

The new support for Women in Distress is one of seven emergency response grants that the Foundation’s Board of Directors recently approved to help people in dire need during this crisis.

These emergency grants are part of the nearly $2 million the Community Foundation has already provided in immediate coronavirus response. That includes new grants as well as easing restrictions on existing grants so local nonprofits can pivot to tackle residents’ most pressing needs. This includes relief for seniors, the disabled, residents who recently lost jobs and others at risk of missing out on aid.

This critical, immediate relief is made possible by visionary local philanthropists who have established endowed charitable Funds at the Community Foundation.

And this is just the beginning.

The health and economic effects of the coronavirus are still unfolding and will be with us for years to come. Because endowed charitable Funds last forever, the Community Foundation will be there every step of the way to fuel solutions to the Issues That Matter most – during this crisis and beyond.

Support for the emergency grant to Women In Distress came from the following Funds at the Community Foundation of Broward:

  • Kearns Family Foundation Fund
  • August Urbanek Family Fund
  • Marlene Holder Fund for Broward
  • Bank of America Unrestricted Fund
  • Community Impact Fund
Contact Information

For more information about the Community Foundation of Broward, contact or 954-761-9503.

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