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Tuesday Blast: Begin Early to Stop Domestic Violence
Delivered: December 9, 2014

TUESDAY BLAST - Chicago Foundation for Women's eUpdate


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December 2014 Edition


Celebrate the season of giving!  Join Chicago Foundation for Women for an intimate holiday gathering at the Evanston home of CFW's President/CEO, K. Sujata and her husband, Laurence Marks. Co-hosted by board member Blair Wellensiek, this event is CFW’s premier holiday gathering.

We will haveTWO "on the glass" tickets to a Blackhawks game!

Purchase tickets

My introduction to domestic violence came in the form of a toddler with a broken hip and leg. I was a college freshman working at a daycare center when I met the injured girl. The girl had been abused by her stepfather and removed from her mother’s custody by the child welfare system.  

In the two decades since, I’ve held an array of jobs and internships working with young people in a range of settings—Head Start centers, youth centers, acute and residential mental health hospitals, foster care and public health agencies —all leading to  the position I hold today - Director of Programs at Chicago Foundation for Women. All my experiences lead to one goal - to stop violence before it begins.

In Chicago, as across the nation, news of domestic violence bombards us daily. Each year, the Chicago Police Department responds to approximately 200,000 domestic-related calls – that’s nearly 500 incidents of domestic violence every day, according to a March 2014 press release from Office of the Mayor of the City of Chicago. Last year,  member programs of the Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence served 8,168 children who witnessed domestic violence.

Such numbers are especially troubling given that witnessing violence between one’s parents or caretakers is the strongest risk factor of transmitting violent behavior from one generation to the next.  Boys who witness domestic violence are twice as likely to abuse their own partners and children when they become adults.  Up to 60% percent of perpetrators of intimate partner violence also abuse children in the household.

All violent incidents reflect our failure to put sufficient focus on prevention.  Prevention comes from exploring real life situations and developing coping mechanisms for unexpected situations. People need help understanding how their choices could lead to unintended consequences and learning to cope with their personal realities. Universities across the country are developing or currently implementing research to inform violence prevention programs with hopes of providing a definitive practice for educators, health professionals and families.

Undoubtedly, the scale of the problem can appear daunting—especially when you factor in all the other challenges that inform and complicate this issue, including racism, sexism, poverty, and gun violence. If we want to address domestic violence, we need to start young.

Here are two inspiring examples of programs doing just that:

Together Strong: A required nine-week violence prevention class for students at the Oak Park and River Forest High School in Oak Park, Illinois, Together Strong is offered by Sarah’s Inn, an organization within the CFW network. Their mission is to not only improve the lives of those affected by violence, but break the cycle of violence for future generations.  Together Strong works by educating teens on dating and domestic violence, sexual assault and nonviolent conflict resolution. It also focuses on bystander advocacy. 

Safe DatesThis adolescent dating violence prevention program used with eight and ninth-grade students has been identified as a model program in the National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP). Safe Dates is a national program that helps teenagers discern between healthy relationships and manipulative or controlling and abusive relationships. It was found to prevent perpetration and reduce acceptance of teen dating violence among the participating adolescents versus adolescents who did not participate in the program.   

To end violence, our starting point is clear. We need to help young people learn how to make healthy choices and to navigate healthy relationships and conflict resolution. This means investing in programs that encourage safe and age-appropriate exploration of health and sexuality, and making such programs accessible to all of our city’s youth. Investing in our children today will protect the children of tomorrow.  

~Monique Brunson Jones
Director of Programs
Chicago Foundation for Women



CFW in the community  


Engaging Diverse Millennials
Focus Group

Let's Talk: Do we need a women's movement?
CFW recently hosted a focus group for Millennial minority women to talk about their place in the feminist movement. Over 25 women joined this community conversation to discuss building an inclusive women's movement. We also explored what is needed to increase awareness about issues impacting women and girls of color in Chicago. 

Special thank you to Amina Dickerson, board member Nicole Robinson and President/CEO K. Sujata for leading the focus group sessions. Be on the lookout for more details about the initiative in 2015!

#ILGivesBig and CFW
Thank you for your donations for our Giving Tuesday campaign! CFW invests your dollars, smartly and strategically, in basic rights and equal opportunities for women and girls. We support organizations serving the needs of women and girls by providing them funding to support their work, along with necessary tools and training to help them grow.

CFW joined nearly 600 organizations in Illinois in the #ILGiveBig initiative coordinated by Donors Forum.  

Marjorie Benton (left) is presented with an award by Children's Place International CEO Cathy Krieger.
(Posted by John Sweeney, Community Contributor)

CFW Co-Founder Marjorie Benton Honored for Her Leadership to Help Children in Extreme Poverty
Congratulations to CFW's Marjorie Benton. Children's Place International honored Evanstonian Marjorie Benton and four other women for their life-long dedication and commitment to children living in extreme poverty at its annual fall fundraiser in Chicago. Themed "Creating a Better World for Children: Women Leading the Way," the event highlighted the special contributions of women overseas and the United States to help children living in extreme poverty.

Read more about Marjorie's award HERE.




Grantees in the news    

26 Women Graduate from Youth Job Center's WILL Program
The Youth Job Center's W.I.L.L. coordinator Precious Wright speaks to the 26 graduates at the ceremony Saturday.
(Picture by Nancy Traver, Chicago Tribune,
Community Contributor)

Over 20 Graduate from Youth Job Center's WILL Program
Youth Job Center's WILL (Women Invested in Learning and Livelihoods) program was highlighted in a recent Chicago Tribune article. A grantee of the Eleanor Network at CFW, the 18-month WILL program helps women ages 18-25 find, secure, and maintain career jobs.

The WILL program is one of the 8 workforce development programs in the Eleanor Network at CFW. Launched in 2012 following CFW’s strategic alliance with the former Eleanor Foundation, the Eleanor Network at CFW expands economic security across the lifespan of a woman. The grantmaking model within the Network combines intensive training and comprehensive support services to ensure that women have clear pathways for career advancement.

Read the full article HERE.   


RVA's Sarah Layden being interviewed

For Some Sex Assault Victims, Ordeal Carries Price Tag
CFW grantee, Rape Victims Advocates (RVA) was recently featured as part of a national story on CBS about how survivors of sexual violence across the country are being charged for rape kits and/or the emergency treatment received as a result of the assault.  RVA’s medical advocacy services were featured and their Director of Advocacy Services, Sarah Layden, and one of the clients she assisted were both interviewed.

View the full interview HERE.  


Sexually-Active Teens Should Get IUDs: Doctors Group

CFW grantee, Planned Parenthood of Illinois, was recently highlighted in two recent news articles— New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof and Chicago Tribune. Both articles  highlight the critical importance of  the provision of long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs) to uninsured abortion patients. Planned Parenthood's works shows how LARCs can move the needle on pregnancy prevention. CFW's grant is allowing Planned Parenthood to make these methods more widely available to their patients.

Read the New York Times article HERE.

Read the Chicago Tribune article HERE.

DHS to Close Controversial Artesia Family Detention Center, Open Largest Immigration Detention Center in U.S. History

CFW grantee, the National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) welcomed the announcement that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will close the Artesia, New Mexico, detention center for mothers and children by the end of the year.  However, DHS will open the United States’ largest immigration detention facility yet—just for mothers and children. 

Link to this statement:

Read more about family detention:

 Upcoming events

Visit our website calendar to see all our upcoming programs and events.

9: Shopping Night at Early to Bed with the LBTQ Giving Council  
11: 6th Annual North Shore Holiday Party

MARCH 2015
12: 30th Anniversary Impact Awards

CFW grantees: Want to be sure your news clips and awards get in the Blast?

Email Blast editor Sharonda at or share the good news on our Facebook and Twitter pages! 

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