Grand Rapids Area Community Foundation awards 72 Grants in 2019 Annual Grant Cycle

The Grand Rapids Area Community Foundation provides an open, Annual Grant Cycle that runs from July 15 – September 15. This past Annual Grant Cycle culminated in providing approximately $181,000 in grants to 56 nonprofit organizations and groups that serve the Greater Itasca Area.

“We join charitable intentions with community needs, and the Annual Grant Cycle is the perfect example of this motto in action. Organizations tell us what they need, and we match that need with funds and donors who have a passion for supporting that type of program in our community,” says Sarah Copeland, Grand Rapids Area Community Foundation Director of Grants and Programs.

Over the next several weeks, the Community Foundation will highlight giving through the Annual Grant Cycle and some of the ways these gifts have a real impact on our neighbors. Copeland notes, “We can provide additional ways that you can support these organizations and programs. Just give us a call.”

PHOTO: (L-R) Cathy Sayward, Grand Rapids Area Community Foundation, provides $5,000 in grants to Mandie Aalto, Advocates for Family Peace Executive Director

Advocates for Family Peace improves lives by ending partner domestic violence

Advocates for Family Peace organizes the agency’s response to domestic violence by focusing on the most destructive form of the violence: battering. Battering is defined as one person using coercive, controlling behavior against another person in an intimate relationship.

Advocates received funding for the Wellstone Family Safety Program

The Wellstone Family Safety Program (WFSP) provides these types of services:

  • Supervised exchanges are provided for families to decrease children’s exposure to domestic violence and verbal abuse during visitation exchanges.

  • Supervised visits are provided to families when children have been exposed to or experience domestic violence. The non-custodial parent can see the child(ren) only when supervised at the WFSP.

  • Correspondence services are provided to families who have unsupervised visitation within their homes but need to make changes in the visitation schedule without having contact with each other.

Participants in the Wellstone Family Safety Program are mostly referred through civil or criminal court orders. The purpose of the program is to provide a safe, neutral space for supervised visits and exchanges. Staff at Advocates for Family Peace process all communication between parties. This reduces the likelihood that victims and children could be harmed if the visit or exchange were unsupervised at a gas station or parking lot. Victims of domestic violence are at the most risk for homicide right after leaving an abusive partner or when attempting to flee. The supervised visitation and exchange program helps to keep the victim safe and reduce the likelihood for additional harm.

Parents have staggered departure and arrival times so that there is no chance of contact between the parties. Children and the visiting parent understand that the parent using violence is not allowed to ask about the other parent, is not allowed to try to pass messages through the children and is not allowed to make future promises. Each family has certain restrictions based upon the level or types of violence used in the past. It is impossible to remove all possibility of trauma in that supervised visitation room, but it is the safest place for a child to see a parent that has used domestic violence in the past.

The victim's separation from the offending parent provides opportunities for the victim to heal and for the nurturing relationship between the parent and child to be restored. Part of domestic violence is an active effort on the part of the offender to destroy the relationship with the nurturing parent. This allows the offender to gain greater control over the family and forces each member of the family to survive the violence in isolation and fear.

The Wellstone Family Safety Program was awarded $5,000 from the Peter Burich and Gloria Sella Burich Fund and the Peace and Progress Donor Advised Fund.

Anyone can donate to the Advocates for Family Peace Endowment at the Community Foundation. There are no fees to donate. Gifts to the Advocates for Family Peace Endowment Fund provide Advocates the ability to serve our community for generations to come.

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