Women Helping Women raised more than $10 million to expand its longstanding efforts to support survivors of gender-based violence in Greater Cincinnati.
The record-breaking fundraising total nearly doubled the $5.6 million goal for the Rise Beyond Violence campaign.
“The vision of the Rise Beyond Violence campaign is to fully serve 50,000 survivors and reach 25,000 students and community members within five years,” said Kristin Shrimplin, CEO of Women Helping Women.
Founded in 1973, Women Helping Women works to support survivors and prevent dating violence, sexual violence, domestic violence and stalking. The organization operates from a public health framework.
Cincinnati-based Women Helping Women plans to use the $10 million investment over the next five years. The money will go toward intervention and expanded prevention efforts.
This year, WHW is on track to support 9,000 survivors in Adams, Brown, Butler and Hamilton counties. It would be the most in the organization’s 50-year history.
“We cannot afford to stand by and continue to increase our response to the gender-based violence epidemic,” Shrimplin added. “Rates continue to spike, and prevention is the only sustainable solution.”
Shrimplin praised the financial support from donors big and small, public and private during the more than year-long campaign.
One of them is philanthropist Frances “Francie” Pepper, wife of former Procter & Gamble Co. CEO John Pepper.
WHW didn’t provide specifics about the Peppers’ investment, only referring to it as “significant.”
Francie Pepper praised WHW for continuing to “think outside the box” in terms of addressing the issue. This most recent fundraiser gives the organization the freedom to expand its Survivor Equity Fund, she said.
The campaign funds will support more than 800 survivors a year. Money will go toward things like tackling financial obstacles, preventing eviction and assisting them with finding safety in their home.
Francie Pepper described WHW’s mission as being about re-empowering victims of intimate partner violence.
“From the time I was a young woman, I was impassioned to stand with survivors,” she added. “It mattered to me then, as it matters to my husband and me now, that survivors are not only supported but empowered.”
Women Helping Women also stressed the importance of its corporate donors, specifically Fifth Third Bank and bi3.
Bi3 is a philanthropic initiative created by Bethesda Inc. to drive innovation in health care and improve community health outcomes. Since 2010, bi3 has awarded more than $95 million in grants to TriHealth and community-based organizations.
Jill Miller, president and CEO of bi3, considered her organization’s most recent $1.5 million donation a “building block” to fuel others to invest in what she called a “vital campaign.”
The Rise Beyond Violence campaign funds are going to enable Women Helping Women expand its DVERT (Domestic Violence Enhanced Response Team) program throughout Hamilton County.
The trauma-focused crisis response team provides on-call, on-scene response to domestic violence survivors to avert gender-based violence and to prevent children from growing up in violent homes.
Intimate partner violence disproportionately affects women of color, particularly mothers, according to Women Helping Women.
Fifth Third provided a leadership investment of $300,000.
Stephanie A. Smith, Fifth Third’s chief inclusion officer, voiced pride over how her employer “showed up” for the community. Smith was a cabinet member for the Rise Beyond Violence Campaign.
“The inequities of violence demand collaborative and innovative solutions,” Smith said.
“From the corporate boardroom to the classroom, courtrooms, emergency rooms, and the living rooms of our homes – it’s on all of us to lean in and lend influence, investment, and actions to prevent gender-based violence and to empower all survivors.”