What would you do with an unrestricted $250,000? To many nonprofits, answering that question may seem like a pipe dream. Not Women Against Abuse.
The Lipman Family Prize, the annual global social impact award administered by Wharton, recently announced its 2017 finalists: Boston’s Seeding Labs, Berkeley’s We Care Solar and Women Against Abuse, the Center City-based domestic violence advocate and service provider.
If it’s announced the top winner at the prize’s ceremony on April 28, Women Against Abuse stands to win a quarter-million-dollar prize — and even if it’s not, the organization is still guaranteed $50,000 for getting this far. (Over 115 organizations applied for this year’s prize.)
Plus, its staff will have the opportunity to take executive education courses at Wharton, attend Penn’s Executive Program in Social Impact Strategy and apply for a scholarship for the Nonprofit Leadership program in the School of Social Policy & Practice.
Executive Director and President Jeannine L. Lisitski wrote in an email that the organization isn’t sure yet how it will spend the funds, but that “support from the Lipman Prize could not come at a better time, in light of potential threats to the Violence Against Women Act and other federal level budget items that would impact our ability to sustain life-saving services.”
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Lisitski said she does hope the funds will be able to support Shared Safety, a collaborative effort between city departments and local service providers (including Women Against Abuse) to improve their collective response to Philadelphia domestic violence problem by expanding emergency housing, encouraging trauma-informed training for human service agencies and more. The initiative’s work led to the appointment of the city’s first director of domestic abuse strategies.
According to its website, the prize’s honorees are selected after “rigorous evaluation by a committee of faculty, students and staff” across Penn. Honorees come from around the world; none of last year’s finalists were from Philadelphia.
What does such a distinction means to Women Against Abuse’s head?
Of course, Lisitski and the team are “honored to be among the finalists for this prestigious award.” But it also means the organization and its Shared Safety collaborators are another step closer to making Philadelphia — and potentially the rest of the country — a safer place for those suffering from domestic abuse:
“We believe this collective impact approach could serve as a national model and create a future free from abuse in its varied forms,” Lisitski said.
The Philadelphia Domestic Violence Hotline number is 1-866-723-3014.-30-
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