Author: Chris (page 1 of 2)

Small Nonprofit; Big Dream

Small Nonprofit; Big Dream

This story started twelve years ago as the founding executive director for the Illinois Valley Safe House.  I wish I had journaled all the ins and outs, the ups and downs, and the tears and laughter involved in starting a small nonprofit to end violence against women.  We’ve had more prosperous times.  If I have my way we will again.  For now, I’m seeking new ways to do business as a nonprofit that makes a profit.  I’m starting the journal now.

Have you ever had the experience where you see in writing or hear an interview or watch a video and someone is beautifully articulating what you have known for years, have tried to articulate, knew it to be 100% true and just couldn’t get it out in a way that any other person understood?  I did this month, first watching Dan Pallotta on (he has a series on there) which inspired me to buy his book, “Charity Case.”  He says, “We need a civil rights movement for nonprofits.”  We’ve had our hands tied behind our backs, we’re rewarded for spending less (even when it doesn’t make sense or further our cause) and kept in a tiny, windowless box when it comes to fundraising – where we use large amounts of volunteer and staff time and make small amounts of money.  We do this to keep our ‘overhead’ low.  We receive applause for this sort of behavior, but it doesn’t keep our doors open for services and it certainly won’t end violence against women or hunger or homelessness or plug in whatever social ill you want to see ended.

He calls for a movement to reeducate our boards, our donors, foundations and media that we are no longer nonprofits; we are social justice enterprises or humanitarian organizations or any other variation that moves us toward a smarter model and allows us the freedom to make sound decisions.  He says we need to have courage and we need to band together.

The Alliance received a technical assistance grant from the Ford Family Foundation and will be looking for that smarter model.  There’s a place at the table for you as an interested supporter or prospective board member.  Please call Chris at 541.592.5332 if you want to get involved.

P.S. This was written before our funding had been restored.  Thankfully we now have a three year window to develop the new model that will carry us forward.

How do we help our children heal?

Neurobiology reports that children’s brain development is impacted by exposure to violence in their homes.  And, the younger the child is, the more serious the damage is.  The way we heal our children is to expose them to healthy adult relationships–friends, family, parents and teachers that model self-regulation without the use of anger or intimidation.  We need to help them know what normal is.  The good news is that our brains are capable of healing throughout our entire life.  If you want to talk to an advocate about how you can help your child or any child, call 541.592.2515.  This is an excellent 14-minute video to start you off.

Things to be Thankful for

Everyone at the Alliance wants to thank all our supporters for being there.  You know who you are, and each and every one of you is on our list of people to be thankful for.  Blessings.

Advocacy Learning Center

This is Susie at break time taking in the sights of Minnesota.

Every January

Every January Alliance staff drives into Grants Pass or Central Point to present at the Reserved Officers Law Enforcement Agency training.  It’s a pleasure.  I love working with law enforcement.  There are future officers and deputies from every jurisdiction in Jackson and Josephine County…anywhere from 12 to 20 people.

We use a simulation called In Her Shoes, which requires each participant to pick a role, a specific victim with a specific set of barriers.  We set up stations throughout the building.  We don’t want it to be easy to find those advocates, court houses and shelters.  By the time they are done they’ve already identified the most common barriers to leaving: lack of or inaccessible services, pastors who are ignorant to domestic violence and want to send them back, well-meaning family that sabotage her efforts to leave, a child welfare system that doesn’t always work and even sometimes burned out advocates and full shelters.

So, why do I love working with law enforcement?  Two reasons, they are on the frontline and have a huge influence on how a victim will or won’t leave.  Second, it was a deputy who was the first one to tell me, “You don’t deserve this abuse.”  Six months later that little seed of hope led me to leave…for the last time.

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