Caring Contact

a listening community

Westfield, NJ   |  www.caringcontact.org

Mission

Caring Contact is devoted to promoting emotional wellbeing and preventing emotional crises by providing opportunities for people to express themselves to compassionate listeners in a safe environment. We respond to the need for human interaction and create opportunities for people to help each other. We offer training to people and organizations in the listening skills needed to support those in crisis.

Ruling year info

2014

Executive Director

Ms. Mary Claire Givelber

Main address

PO Box 2376

Westfield, NJ 07091 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

23-7442645

NTEE code info

Hot Line, Crisis Intervention (F40)

IRS filing requirement

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

Sign in or create an account to view Form(s) 990 for 2020, 2019 and 2018.
Register now

Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

In 2019, there were an estimated 1.38 million suicide attempts and more than 47,500 deaths by suicide. It is the 10th leading cause of death in the US. Among young people, ages 10-34, it is the 2nd leading cause of death. 12 million Americans have serious thoughts of suicide each year and 54% of Americans have been affected by suicide. Starting in July 2022, access to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline will be made through a 3-digit code (988), rather than the current 10-digit phone number. The Lifeline anticipates a significant increase in the number of calls received as a result of this change. More calls to the Lifeline mean more calls to Contact, and the need to greatly increase the number of crisis calls we answer. Caring Contact's highly trained volunteers give callers a safe space free of judgement and help them develop a deeper self-understanding so they can start to work out their own problems. We strive to keep them out of the already strained mental health system.

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?

Caring and Crisis Hotline

Caring Contact has responded to calls to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for Essex, Middlesex, Morris, Somerset, and Union counties since its founding in 2005. We also answer a non-emergency support line. Our confidential service is available to anyone 365 days a year. In 2021, we responded to 4,897 Lifeline calls, and 8,887 support calls. Guided by 1 full-time and 5 part-time employees, more than 90 highly-trained volunteers staff our lines. In 2021, we responded to 4,897 crisis calls on the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and 8,887 calls on the non-emergency support line.

Caring Contact was founded in 1975. Volunteers undergo a rigorous 52 hour classroom training in active listening followed by 24 hours as trainees on the crisis lines before being certified as Caring Contact Listeners. Volunteer training includes Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST).

Population(s) Served
Adults
Children and youth

Though many youth call the Lifeline and our non-emergency support line, we know there are many others struggling with depression, anxiety, issues with school, friends, and family, as well as thoughts of suicide, who either don’t know about crisis lines, or who are afraid to call. The goal of the Save Our Youth Campaign is two-fold:
1. Educate youth and adults about the Lifeline, demystifying it and making it more accessible
2. Ensure members of the community, both youth and adults, have a basic understanding of suicide and the steps they can take to help those they are concerned about
We use a variety of approaches to meet these goals, including:
• Hotline Awareness presentations, presented either in-person or virtually
• Providing resource materials and awareness at school and community Mental Health Fairs
• Interactive Suicide Awareness & Intervention Training for teens or adults, presented either in-person or virtually and customized based on the needs of the group

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Young adults

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 crisis hotline calls answered

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Age groups

Related Program

Caring and Crisis Hotline

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Reflects the number of calls on the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline answered each year.

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

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.

Caring Contact has two, complementary goals. The first is to recruit, train, support, and retain enough volunteers to fully staff our hotline, which is open from 7:00 am to 11:00 pm, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, depending on volunteer availability.

Our current focus is Launching 988, which takes the work we have done since 2017 to increase our capacity to answer caring and crisis calls and targets our efforts specifically towards answering calls on the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. While we will continue supporting callers to our non-emergency support line, our focus in 2022 and beyond will be to serve as many of those in crisis as we can. As the primary responder to Lifeline calls from five New Jersey counties, we received 13,377 Lifeline calls in 2021 and anticipate receiving even more once the Lifeline access code changes from the current 10-digit number to 988 in July 2022.

Our work, using the power of active and empathetic listening to save lives, rests on the strength of our volunteer recruitment, training, and supervision program. Without highly trained, motivated, and supported volunteers, Caring Contact would not exist, and thousands would lose the ability to be heard without judgement. One recent caller, a mother struggling with ongoing health issues and loneliness said, “If I didn’t call you, I was going to take the pills and alcohol and try to die. Thank you.”

2022 will see an extension of this work as the need for our services grows year over year. Our volunteer corps will be augmented with additional paid Shift Captains and new part-time staff who will provide supplemental shift coverage especially in the afternoons and evenings when the number of Lifeline calls increases. Both Shift Captains and the added staff will come from our highly trained Listener corps.

Additionally, we will be adding two new services for our callers; resources and referrals and follow up. Both programs are mandated by the Lifeline administrator as part of 988 effort. Caring Contact staff is developing our follow up program and the NJ Department of Human Services is developing the resource database. All Listeners, both volunteer and paid, will be thoroughly trained in how to offer these options to the appropriate callers.

Our second goal is to expand our work outward through a comprehensive community education and training program. We build awareness of our services through a Hotline Awareness program and train both youth and adults in the basics of suicide awareness and intervention using an interactive and customizable training that can be presented either in person or virtually. Our primary focus is to reduce the incidence of youth suicide and suicide attempts in our communities as well as to support individuals of all ages.

Caring Contact’s activities fall into 3 major areas:

Listening:
Caring Contact has been the primary responder to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for Essex, Middlesex, Morris, Somerset, and Union counties since 2005, when the Lifeline was founded. We also answer a non-emergency support line. Our service is available to anyone, anonymous and confidential, 365 days a year. In 2021, we responded to 4,897 Lifeline calls, and 8,887 support calls.

For most of our history, Caring Contact volunteers came to our call center to answer calls. Now, about 1/3 of our volunteers take calls from their homes using special WIFI phones, while the remainder continue to volunteer from our call center.

Training:
Our volunteers complete a rigorous 12-week classroom training, certification in ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training) and 24 hours of live phone training prior to being certified as a Caring Contact Listener. Since Fall 2020, classroom training has been held remotely using Zoom and will continue to be virtual or hybrid for the foreseeable future. The required phone training is still done in person with rigorous health and safety measures in place.

Caring Contact volunteers are required to complete six hours of Advanced Training each year. As of March 2020, all Advanced Training sessions have been held virtually.

Supporting:
Organizations and individuals come to us to learn more about caring for others in emotional pain. We provide training and education tailored to the needs of each group and can hold sessions either online or in person. Thanks to the use of Zoom and other virtual platforms, and to renewed interest on the part of schools and community organizations, we were able to interact with many students and adults in 2021. Specifically, we presented our free Hotline awareness program to 3,463 youth at several different middle and high schools and to 339 adults. We also trained 306 adults and 280 students in basic Suicide Awareness & Intervention.

Founded in 1975, Caring Contact has been providing opportunities for people to express themselves to compassionate listeners in a safe environment for over 45 years. In addition to our non-emergency support line, we have been the primary responder to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for residents of Essex, Middlesex, Morris, Somerset, and Union counties since 2005.

Our crisis lines are staffed by highly trained volunteers who undergo rigorous classroom and phone training before they can answer crisis calls. Until March 2020, all training was done in person. As a result of the pandemic, we revamped the classroom training for online presentation; the Fall 2020, Spring 2021, and Fall 2021 classes were held virtually. Spring 2022, our 100th class, is planned as a hybrid experience. The 24 hours of phone training are done in person with rigorous health and safety measures in place.

In April 2020, we upgraded our phones to Voice Over IP, enabling volunteers to answer calls remotely. Approximately 1/3 of our 80+ active volunteers take calls from home.

Starting in 2012, we expanded our activities to include the Save Our Youth Campaign, a multi-faceted community education and training program for both youth and adults focusing on the basics of suicide awareness and intervention with the goal of reducing youth suicide in our communities. We have trained or educated thousands of individuals including members of faith communities, first responders, students, parents, teachers, and many others.

Though in-person gatherings were significantly curtailed as of March 2020, we have continued to hold online training and education sessions for a variety of groups. As schools and community organizations have grown more comfortable with Zoom and other online formats, this activity has increased significantly and we trained or educated over 4,000 individuals in 2021.

Our revenue grew from $301,741 in 2017 to $535,979 in 2020. There was a slight dip in 2021 to $495,093. In the same years, our expenses also grew, from $262,663 in 2017 to $393,903 in 2021. In every year our revenues have outpaced expenses and we expect to be able to fund our current and expanded activities for many years to come.

In addition, our organization is more resilient than it was in the past. For example, the ability to take crisis calls from home means that in the case of a natural disaster or the need to close our offices for any reason, we will still be able to serve our callers. Additionally, our Training Director converted our entire volunteer training process, all 12 weeks, to a virtual platform in 2020. Virtual platforms like Zoom have allowed us to continue training new volunteers and to support our existing volunteer base.

Since 2017, we have focused on expanding and retaining our volunteer corps, increasing the number of shifts we staff each 16-hour day, answering a higher percentage of Lifeline vs support line calls, and ensuring that our callers get the highest possible service from our volunteers.

We continued this focus throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, overhauling our phone technology, creating a remote listening program, developing a new, remote training structure, and finding creative ways to maintain contact with our volunteers. As a result, we retained many of our volunteers, and answered more calls than ever.

In 2021, we added Shift Captains, experienced Listeners paid to staff 7 - 11 pm shifts and to answer only Lifeline calls. In 2022, we will be adding a 3 - 7 pm Shift Captain shift and up to five more Shift Captains to better cover our busiest hours. We are also using education and incentives to encourage our volunteers to staff the lines from 3 - 11 pm and are exploring other ways to increase the number of crisis calls we answer.

The results of this intense focus are evident. We answered 4,897 crisis (Lifeline) calls in 2021, up from 4,176 in 2020. As of the end of February 2022, we are on track to answer close to 6,000 crisis calls, without sacrificing the quality of Listener/caller interactions. One of our goals is to keep callers out of our already over-stretched healthcare system by helping them de-escalate and come to a place of "safe for now." In 2021, out of 4,897 crisis calls answered, we called emergency services (police) only 24 times, 15 with the caller's consent.

Financials

Caring Contact
lock

Unlock financial insights by subscribing to our monthly plan.

Subscribe

Unlock nonprofit financial insights that will help you make more informed decisions. Try our 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.

Operations

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

lock

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.

lock

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.

Caring Contact

Board of directors
as of 09/21/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Mr. Robert Evans

Melissa Cohen

Psychotherapist

Tracy Crane

Fanwood-Scotch Plains YMCA

Kimberley DeFronzo

FDA

Robert Evans

Retired

Marie Glassmann

Arch Knisley

Retired

Priya Raval

Willis Towers Watson

Vicki Simpson

Money Manager, Personal Finance Navigation

Anne Britt

Yoga and meditation teacher

Edward Duffy

Retired, Restaurant Management – Quick Service Industry – Regional Trainer - Region Director

Shayla Harris

Strategy Consultant, Accenture Strategy

Hope Skibitsky

Associate, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP

Paul McGee

Central Relationship Manager,Fidelity Investments

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 9/21/2022

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

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

Disability

We do not display disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff.