Reach Beyond Domestic Violence, Inc.

Waltham, MA   |  www.reachma.org

Mission

REACH works with survivors of domestic violence to foster safety and support while engaging communities to promote healthy relationships.

Ruling year info

1981

Executive Director

Ms. Laura R. Van Zandt

Associate Executive Director

Deborah Heimel

Main address

P.O. Box 540024

Waltham, MA 02454 USA

Show more contact info

Formerly known as

Waltham Battered Women's Support Committee

EIN

04-2735449

NTEE code info

Family Violence Shelters and Services (P43)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Domestic abuse is insidious and its impact cuts across every ethnic, racial, gender, and socio-economic sector of society. These attitudes and behaviors are built on social norms, which are shaped through education (media, schools, faith practices, consumerism, etc.) and practice (what we do every day). To eliminate domestic abuse, we need to alter attitudes and behaviors, which requires transforming the social norms at individual and community levels. On an individual level, the abuse survivors who come to REACH need to be heard. They say over and over again how much they appreciate that we listen to them, believe them, and respect them. At REACH, survivors know that they are not alone in their journey or judged for any actions they do or do not take. As one survivor told us recently, “Every time I walked into the REACH office, people asked me ‘How are you doing?’ and they really wanted to know. That kind of attention made so much difference to me because I knew then that people rea

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Emergency Shelter and Hotline

REACH's Emergency Shelter Program serves people who are fleeing from abusive situations in their homes or relationships, and often have no place else to turn. We offer a comprehensive range of services designed to provide immediate safety, meet the needs of victims, and to help them gain independence. Those services include counseling, assistance securing longer-term housing, support with legal issues, a children's therapy program, and access to other resources beyond those of a typical shelter program to help families heal physically and emotionally. REACH's shelter serves as a first line of defense for victims who are facing physical injury, economic uncertainty, and the lasting effects of trauma that influence their emotional and mental health, their coping skills, and their ability to make decisions for their families. We help families articulate their own goals and outcomes for the duration of their time with us, and measure progress against those stated goals.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Given that there are fewer than 200 shelter beds in the state to accommodate the demand, it is imperative that domestic violence victims have access to support within their communities without having to flee to shelter. While we are committed to maintaining our shelter for the safety and security of individuals in immediate danger, our range of services extends to Community Based Advocacy, allowing survivors to receive many of the same services but without having to relocate and leave community ties behind. This allows us to work with survivors wherever they are on their journey, and to assist a far greater number than can be helped through shelter alone. Shelter programs, for security reasons, can only help a survivor after they've left an abusive partner. But we are able to help survivors who might be struggling with the decision to leave. We work with each survivor to identify areas of need, and encourage them make the best decisions for their families.

Population(s) Served
Adults

REACH's Prevention and Education Program challenges the dangerous perception that domestic violence is a private, family issue, or one that happens elsewhere. We use a 3-pronged approach: Youth Work: We reach 2,000 teens a year using evidence-based curriculum and interactive discussions to encourage teens to think about healthy relationships. Community Education: Working with faith groups, police departments, hospitals, and neighborhood organizations, we lead conversations with people around domestic violence, what it looks like and how to support those experiencing it. Network Mobilization: We bring together cross-sections of the community to determine the best strategy for getting the message out regarding domestic violence, in order to create community-driven, culturally-appropriate prevention strategies.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Where we work

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

REACH Beyond Domestic Violence has an ambitious and unambiguous goal: building healthy communities by ending domestic abuse. REACH stands for Refuge, Education, Advocacy, and CHange. These, we believe, are the keys to addressing both the symptoms and the causes of domestic violence. We support abuse survivors on every step of their journey to recovery, and work with community members to make such abuse a thing of the past. Because we aim for social change alongside individual healing, we also work for gender and racial parity, intelligent consumption of unbiased media, promoting accountability, and being recognized as a warm and caring community resource.

We believe that the social norms and individual behaviors that allow abuse to happen can be changed through new types of education and practice at individual and community levels. REACH strives to shift the norms so that domestic violence is viewed as abhorrent and unacceptable.

The passage from abused to independent is long and difficult. Individuals and families everywhere need to know that they can live safely. When that is not possible, they should have resources available to bolster their physical and emotional condition, and allies by their side who will listen, believe, and respond. REACH offers the practical aid and compassion that enable domestic abuse survivors to stabilize their lives and continue contributing to their communities.

Overall, our goal is to enable survivors to live a safe and full life. We empower survivors to establish their own goals and objectives, rather than being held to a standard that we establish. For some, housing is their priority, for others, it is learning to process their trauma in a healthy way. Still others may emphasize accessing a substance abuse program to treat an addiction that has served as a coping mechanism. To help survivors achieve their goals, REACH:
• helps them build skills that will strengthen their internal capabilities.
• connects them to resources in the community to increase their social connections and support, and
• helps them navigate the tradeoffs that are often created when working toward overall safety, and work with them to mitigate the negative effects of those tradeoffs.

So REACH’s goals are both individual and societal. We support survivors at the same time that we strive to change social conditions so that domestic abuse disappears from our culture because everyone deems it unacceptable and has the knowledge and fortitude to stop it before it begins.

At REACH’s eight-family shelter, survivors can be safe and learn the skills and confidence to restart their lives. While most of our 40-50 annual guests are women (often with their children), we serve all survivors, regardless of gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation. Our survivors struggle with the effects of trauma, often exacerbated by mental health and substance abuse, so we provide care around the clock while fostering a community of support. Activities such as book clubs and open mic nights remind survivors what healthy relationships look like.

Not everyone is in a position to go to a shelter. REACH’s community based advocacy program helps about 300 survivors each year who still live in the community (often with their abuser) achieve a measure of stability, along with access to resources that keep them and their children safe.

We help both shelter and community survivors with safety planning, finding a job or housing, and accessing benefits. We accompany them to court, support their legal issues, and ease access to other resources. Our English and Spanish support groups show survivors that they are not alone. Our child and adolescent therapist helps youth deal with the violence they have seen or experienced.

REACH’s 24/7 hotline is a resource for anyone experiencing abuse. Sometimes, a hotline call is for general information or a referral. Often, the call opens the door to a survivor who seeks help, escape, and safety. In FY2018, we answered more than 1,800 hotline calls.

REACH’s long-term vision is a world without domestic violence. The way to get there is through education. Our prevention staff trains police departments, medical professionals, social service agencies, corporations, faith organizations, and middle, high school, and college students to deepen their understanding of and increase their capacity to respond to signs of domestic and dating abuse and sexual violence. Our prevention programming includes work in 10-15 middle and high schools and several colleges each year. Domestic violence thrives in the darkness of secrecy. REACH’s prevention efforts shine light on what domestic violence is and how it works. We replace risk and fear with safety, awareness, and connection.

REACH’s approach is relational, trauma-informed, and strengths-based. This means that we build trusting connections with the survivors and become a presence in their lives, that we are aware of and sensitive to the physical and psychological impact of trauma, and that we look at each survivor as a whole person, drawing on all of their emotional assets rather than seeing them solely as a victim of domestic violence. We believe that the survivors are the experts about their own lives so we listen carefully, believe unreservedly, and extend compassion and practical help in equal measure. Through empathy, kindness, and unstinting education, REACH Beyond Domestic Violence works toward a world absent of domestic violence.

REACH was founded in 1981 as an all-volunteer shelter and hotline, and has grown into a multiservice organization serving 7,000 people a year in 27 communities north and west of Boston. The past two decades have seen REACH grow into a recognized and trusted resource with 9 community-based advocates (4 of whom are bilingual), 4 prevention education and engagement specialists, and a child and adolescent therapist on staff.

During this time, REACH acquired an emergency shelter then doubled its capacity, then we conducted a successful capital campaign that allowed us to move our offices into a bright, welcoming, and well-equipped space. The bigger office has enabled REACH to serve more people with individual advocacy, offer more and different support groups, and train and utilize more volunteers and interns.

An important element in our ability to do this work is the broad range of partnerships we have developed. REACH regularly collaborates with many other organizations to meet the survivors’ needs. Safety planning often means coordinating with police departments. In Waltham, we helped convene and still participate in a High Risk Response Team that brings law enforcement together with other service providers, the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office, and other community partners in cases at high risk for lethality. With federal funding from the Office of Violence Against Women, we convened a similar team around elder abuse in Waltham that has branched into six other communities.

Our longstanding partnership with Greater Boston Legal Services has given rise to the collaborative Latinas Know Your Rights (LKYR) program. LKYR builds capacity within the Waltham Latina community by equipping immigrant survivors with knowledge about their legal rights as well as resources for those affected by domestic violence. Participants often go on to organize and advocate around other issue of importance to them. Members have spoken at the State House on immigration issues, as well as in other community forums.

Children’s Charter in Waltham is an outpatient mental health clinic for survivors of sexual, physical, emotional, and interfamily/multigenerational trauma. We have worked with them for more than 15 years, including developing and co-facilitating our child and adolescent therapy program. We conduct outreach to and receive referrals from the Department of Children and Families; group therapy is often part of the work plan with their clients. Children are referred to our group through the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families, Children’s Charter, Creative Start in Waltham, and our staff who work with survivors.

As members of Jane Doe Inc., Massachusetts’ coalition against domestic and sexual violence, we collaborate with other member programs when advocating for legislation in the interest of survivors. The Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Program at Newton-Wellesley Hospital is a frequent partner in providing care and programming as well.

As mentioned above, REACH started its life as an all-volunteer shelter and hotline. In the 38 years since then, we have added advocacy (in both the shelter and community) and prevention to our portfolio, and grown into a well-respected organization that serves 7,000 people a year in 27 communities north and west of Boston. Expanding the shelter and moving into larger office space was not just practically and logistically necessary. It also symbolizes our increased influence as an organization, and the kind of visibility that we believe domestic abuse should have in general.

In June 2018, REACH adopted a three-year strategic plan with four integrally connected priority areas. Institutions alone cannot eliminate social inequity and structural oppression – the supporting structures that enable and perpetuate domestic violence. It is more and more evident in social innovation research that the context of social change occurs most fully in networks. Networks of institutions, community leaders, and residents may be able to dismantle these structures with greater facility.

With this in mind, our first priority area is to develop more robust prevention and community engagement strategies and increase our partnerships and collaborations that are central to our work. We believe that we are all in this together and we are part of a larger movement. We believe that our collective knowledge, power, and compassion will create lasting change because cooperation creates shared understanding and that is what changes social norms. We believe changing social norms is possible and necessary to dislodge the attitudes and behaviors that support the imbalances of power where domestic violence feeds. Educating youth and adults about the warning signs, intervention strategies, and how to talk about unhealthy or abusive behaviors can lead to lasting social change. We strive to prevent the pain before it starts.

At REACH, we believe that caring for one another – staff, volunteers, survivors, family, friends, neighbors – is part of the change we want to see in the world. Promoting wellbeing helps sustain us – as does a living wage, growth opportunities, work/life balance, and benefits that enable joy in life, hence staffing resources are another priority area. And as a vital community organization that serves so many individuals, businesses, and schools, we need to ensure that our future is bright and that our financial foundation is strong. Financial sustainability is increasingly about entrepreneurship and partnerships to help sustain the organization. We are challenging ourselves to chart a course forward that will enable us to be here as we are needed and give us the opportunity to try new things while we continue to do what works. We need more voices, more networks, more investment, and more energy. We work collaboratively on all of these fronts to move the organization forward even as we continue to offer help and compassion to individual survivors.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

Financials

Reach Beyond Domestic Violence, Inc.
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

Reach Beyond Domestic Violence, Inc.

Board of directors
as of 7/23/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Mr. Stephen Reed

Retired (Attorney)

Term: 2020 - 2022


Board co-chair

Mr. Ian Agranat

Wildlife Acoustics, Inc.

Term: 2020 - 2022

Claire Bean

Retired (Banking)

A. Miriam Jaffe

Kushner Sanders Ravinal LLP

Sylvia Whitman

Community Volunteer

Leslie George

Principal, New England Gemological Laboratory and Appraisal Services

Leanne Sullivan

TFC Financial Management, Inc.

Nancy Teeven

TIAA

Stephen Langlois

Kestra Financial

Ashleigh Hala

Babson College

Jeff Allen

The Gillette Company

Geoffrey Burns

Renaissance Family Medicine

Marion Davis

Independent Writer, Editor, and Communication Strategist

Vilma Uribe

Brandeis University

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Not applicable

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 12/18/2020

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

The organization's co-leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, or other sexual orientations in the LGBTQIA+ community
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

No data

 

No data

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data