Fund to provide financial support to gender-based violence survivors

Women Helping Women has launched a half-a-million-dollar fund designed to increase support resources to survivors of gender-based violence who tend to face significant economic challenges.

The Cincinnati-based nonprofit noted that the more than 8,000 survivors it works with tend to experience greater-than-usual need for real-time resources to allow them and their children to reach safety.

Kristin Smith Shrimplin, WHW’s president and CEO, noted data that shows the average female survivor experiences a lifetime personal cost of nearly $105,000. That’s on top of the fact the majority of survivors that WHW serves live below the 200% federal poverty level. 

Kristin Smith Shrimplin, president and CEO of WHW

When survivors lack financial means for immediate safety, they’re at an increased risk of repeat victimization, Shrimplin said.

Those realities have intensified over the past four years in part because of increased instances of gender-based violence during the pandemic, according to Shrimplin. Increased costs caused by inflation haven’t helped either.

To address those issues, WHW has committed to investing more than $100,000 annually into its new Survivor Equity Fund to cover the immediate safety and housing needs of survivors across the region. The agency also plans to allocate $100,000 every year of its investment income back into the fund so that the balance never drops below $500,000.

In the next 24 months, WHW’s goal is to amplify the fund to $1.5 million and invest at least $300,000 annually to support survivors’ complex needs, Shrimplin said.

The Survivor Equity Fund is part of WHW’s newly launched three-year strategic plan this month.

“Survivors already bear the inequitable burden of the economic cost of gender-based violence,” Shrimplin said. “They cannot afford relocation. They cannot afford to change their locks. They cannot afford emergency hotel stays. They cannot afford back utilities and rent which is forcing them and their children to face eviction.

“In our abundant region, we know we can do better, and we must be solution-focused,” she continued. “That’s why WHW is flipping the expected script of a nonprofit and we are now acting as an equitable funder.”

Helping survivors escape the cycle of abuse

Founded in 1973, Women Helping Women provides expert crisis-intervention responses and prevention services in its five-county region of Hamilton, Butler, Brown, Adams and Clermont counties.

In 2023, the organization served nearly 8,300 survivors, responded with over 33,000 crisis intervention services and educated nearly 5,400 youth with 26,000 hours of prevention training.

With 87% of survivors served by WHW living in extreme poverty and women of color massively overrepresented, the organization is activating support through an equity lens to ensure that marginalized communities receive rapid support as they experience higher rates of victimization.

Data presented by WHW showed that 80% of women with children experiencing homelessness have also experienced domestic violence, and 57% of all women experiencing homelessness reported domestic violence as the immediate cause of their homelessness.

Shrimplin described the Survivor Equity Fund as an example of a nontraditional strategy for addressing the unique circumstances of each survivor, while addressing the inequities that lie beneath.

Additional information about the fund and how to donate to it are available on the WHW website.

“We believe survivors,” Shrimplin said. “We invest in survivors.”

Women Helping Women

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