SILVER2023

WOMENS COMMUNITY CENTER INC

aka Women's Freedom Center   |   Brattleboro, VT   |  womensfreedomcenter.net

Mission

The Women's Freedom Center (WFC) works toward ending men's physical, sexual and emotional violence against women and their children. Toward this end, we are committed to offering support and advocacy to all survivors of violence, as well as prevention and educational activities to help create
a community in which violence is not tolerated.

The WFC serves the southeastern region of Vermont; covering two counties, Windham and southern Windsor.

Ruling year info

1974

Executive Director

Vickie Sterling

Main address

PO Box 933

Brattleboro, VT 05302 USA

Show more contact info

Formerly known as

Women's Crisis Center

EIN

23-7393095

NTEE code info

Women's Rights (R24)

Family Violence Shelters and Services (P43)

Sexual Abuse, Prevention of (I73)

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

The Women's Freedom Center is working to end men's physical, sexual and emotional violence against women and their children. Toward this end, we are committed to offering support and advocacy to all survivors of violence, as well as prevention and educational activities to help create a community in which violence is not tolerated.

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?

Shelter & Advocacy

We provide emergency supports, advocacy, and safety planning for survivors and their children who have experienced physical, emotional, verbal and/or sexual abuse.

Population(s) Served
Victims and oppressed people

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of clients served

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Shelter & Advocacy

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

These are unduplicated adults and children

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.

Our work is driven by goals of safety, equity, resilience, confidentiality, financial and emotional independence, sustainability, and self-determinism for the families with whom we work.

The WFC aims to continue to provide viable options, resources, and support for survivor's long-term safety, self-sufficiency and stability. We have helped thousands of survivors with safe housing, legal advocacy, protection orders, transportation money, food money, childcare, and safety planning. Our objectives are to: increase options for survivor's immediate safety needs; expand shelter capacity; enhance shelter supports; provide emergency food and phone access; expand viable options for survivor's long-term safety and stability; sustain transitional housing options and assistance; provide access to transportation; and continue access to legal representation for survivors involved with custody, divorce and/or relief from abuse cases who would otherwise go unrepresented.

Comprehensive Direct Service, Rape Crisis, and Housing Stabilization: The WFC works to address the immediate needs of survivors experiencing stalking, sexual assault, and domestic violence while providing systems advocacy to transform the policies that affect their lives. Our education and prevention efforts seek to work with a community of women and men, youth and children, who recognize the cultural significance of violence against women and who accept the challenge of creating a community in which coercive violence is not tolerated.

Cultivating Effective Community Partnerships: WFC is a member of the Vermont Network Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, a statewide coalition providing resources to member programs; has representation on the Vermont Domestic Violence Council; and membership in several local groups working on housing-related issues. WFC advocates also serve on a number of boards addressing the policies and practices affecting the lives, safety, and welfare of abuse survivors. The WFC coordinates “Frontlines", whose function is to shore up gaps in accountability for violent offenders and gaps in safety for survivors. Included in this collaboration are local police officers, court personnel, attorneys, advocates, domestic violence prosecutors, the provider of batterer intervention groups and a representative from the Department of Corrections. The team collaborated on an 18-month analysis and strategic implementation of best practices for the safety of survivors at the intersection of domestic/sexual violence and the criminal court system. Currently, the task force is organizing a cutting edge Strangulation Assault Response training for law enforcement and emergency personnel. The WFC provides consultation to the Intensive Domestic Violence Program at the Dept. of Corrections and attends weekly meetings with the Domestic Violence Prosecution Unit, to coordinate their efforts toward maintaining victim's safety while holding perpetrators of domestic violence accountable.

Expanding Educational Outreach & Youth Advocacy: In 2016, our outreach staff engaged the public, community partners, parents, educators, and children with 154 educational presentations. WFC has a monthly column in the Brattleboro Reformer, and monthly radio spot at WKVT, where we address salient topics related to our work. Our community education efforts create dialogue and understanding of the root causes of violence against women and the complex issues surrounding domestic and sexual abuse.

Community Events: Women's Film Festival (WFF): Annual fundraising event features women directors on the rise, and the stories of women and girls told in their own voices. Glove, Sweat, & Cheers Softball Tournament: The family friendly event raises money through fees, sponsorships, and raffle sales. Take Back the Night: Each year at Sexual Assault Awareness Month, the march and vigil offers the community the opportunity to rally behind survivors of sexual violence.

The Women's Freedom Center began as the Women's Community Center in 1974 as a grassroots response by local women to local problems and needs. In 1977, the Women's Community Center, Inc. began doing business as the Women's Crisis Center (WCC) and obtained Federal money that helped support the rental and maintenance of a few rooms in an apartment building for women and their children fleeing abuse. In 1982, the WCC obtained a HUD grant to renovate a building to be used as a shelter for victims of domestic violence. That shelter has been a safe haven for women and their children who are fleeing domestic and sexual violence for over 35 years. In 1997, the WCC Board completed a capital campaign that allowed for the purchase and renovation of a small home that provided accessible shelter space, group meetings and offices for staff. In 2011, the Women's Crisis Center changed its name to the Women's Freedom Center after listening to women express the desire to be identified by the freedom they achieved rather than the crisis they experienced. In 2014, in response to a gap in services for survivors, we expanded our coverage area up into southern Windsor County. We now have 2 offices providing around the clock support to survivors of domestic and sexual abuse and are known as a safe, confidential place for survivors to come and explore options.

Wise stewardship of our resources by our foremothers and current leadership has allowed us to continue to thrive and expand our service area. WFC hired a Development Director to focus on fundraising efforts, donor expansion, and relationship-building. Organizational growth relies upon developing a well-rounded fundraising portfolio and building
upon this foundation. Many organizations make the mistake of becoming dependent upon federal/state grants or a particular segment of the population. This can put organizations at risk during times of economic change. We engage in event fundraising, annual appeals, grant writing, stewardship, and town requests to activate new resources.

A recent accomplishment was raising the funding to purchase and create a supplemental enhanced support, extended stay shelter for single women struggling with the complex issues in addition to domestic violence. This shelter will provide a more structured supportive environment and free up additional family space in our original shelter, which is designed for women who are able to live independently and only needed a confidential safe place during the immediate crisis. The new shelter is intended to house women without children, the majority of those we are currently housing in motels. Stays can be extended, giving women with complex situations more time to gain stability. In-house substance use support groups and mental health support would be offered as well as daytime and overnight on-site staff support. In 2017, the Women's Freedom Center was awarded the Community Based Victim Advocacy Award by the Vermont Center for Crime Victim Services.

Currently, the greatest challenges are the combination of proposed budget cuts and program elimination at the federal level. Victims of these
damaging and life threatening crimes rely on federally funded direct services such as shelter, transitional and stable housing, rape crisis services, legal assistance, direct counseling, and more. Federal funding underpins our nation's improvements to the community-based response to domestic and sexual violence. As an organization located in a rural state, we face other different challenges. An analysis by the Carsey Institute of homicides across a 20-year period from 1980 through 1999 found that rates of intimate partner murder in rural areas were higher than in non-rural areas. Other issues include changes in social mores that have made the impact of one man's violence more widespread, as he is more likely to abuse many partners in a lifetime, rather than one
or two. This is why it is so important for us to address these issues early through youth outreach and education, as a preventative measure.

Financials

WOMENS COMMUNITY CENTER 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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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
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  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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WOMENS COMMUNITY CENTER INC

Board of directors
as of 01/23/2023
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Kayla Bernier-Wright

Tracy Sloan

Tracy Sloan, CPA

Jean Risman

Krista Plante

BDDC

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 ? Not applicable
  • 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 1/23/2023

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
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