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Chapter 8: Funding and Sustainability "In these tough budget times, we are working together in unprecedented ways to coordinate resources to better serve victims of family violence and protect our community. Family Justice Centers are clearly one of the best ways." The Honorable Jim Provenza, Yolo County Board of Supervisors Introduction When a community opens a Center, it sends a message of hope, compassion and commitment to women, men, children and families. By keeping the Center open, a community is saying, “We are committed to you not only today, but tomorrow; our obligation extends to those who come after you. We will not abandon you. We will not leave you and your children unprotected, vulnerable and without resources. Funding and sustainability are critical for success. But for this message to ring true, the Center must be sustainable. To date, two Centers have closed in the Family Justice Center movement because sustainability was never properly addressed before or soon after they opened. In both cases they relied upon a single federal grant for nearly all of their funding. When the federal grant ran out, there was nothing else in place to offer the sustainable message of hope and commitment. No Family Justice Center vision becomes a reality without three key ingredients: Funding, a Funding Team and a Funding/Sustainability Plan. It is during the early stages of the strategic planning process -- after the vision for the Center has been developed -- that the ground work is laid for the funding and sustainability needs of a Family Justice Center. Most Centers start working on their funding and sustainability plan during the strategic planning process. The strategic planning process should include the creation of a shared vision along with the creation of various work groups, including a “Funding and Sustainability Work Group� (Work Group) charged with laying out a funding roadmap. This Work Group gets the process started by working on key issues around funding; but with the understanding that, ultimately, these issues will have to be worked out in detail by the lead agency for the entire Family Justice Center project. The Work Group is responsible for developing a process for addressing all of the big funding issues, for framing these issues, and for identifying funding options including the solicitation and use of both public and private monies to start-up the Center. This chapter focuses on key strategies used by many currently operating Centers to initially set up their programs, and to sustain those programs once in operation. The first part of this Chapter focuses on the initial effort to develop a funding plan and get a Center underway with a realistic and viable budget. The second part of this Chapter focuses on sustainability, keeping a Center open and fully funded.


Develop a Funding Plan A funding plan is sometimes referred to as a business plan, a feasibility study and/or a sustainability plan. Samples of such plans are available in the resource library of the Alliance at The main reason for a funding plan is to help a key partner or funder understand why they should invest their money, time, expertise and energy in your dream. At a minimum, the funding plan needs to articulate: • • • • • •

Why a Family Justice Center is needed New Orleans FJC Funding and Sustanability Report How much it will cost at each phase of the project What the scope of the project will be, the services that will be provided and the desired outcomes Where you plan to seek funds When you plan to launch the Center and each phase of the project Who will implement the project

Today, over 80 centers have made a business case for this model and have convinced their community leaders that the Family Justice Center model is a cost-effective investment in their future. The successful outcomes from open Centers are stunning. Many are listed in detail in Chapter 6 in “Dream Big: A Simple, Complicated Way to Stop Family Violence.1 It is recommended that this reference be read in conjunction with this chapter. To list just a few outcomes, many Centers are reporting—in comparison to their pre-Center circumstances—the following: • • • • • • • •

Reductions in homicides and incidents of repeat violence Reduced fear and anxiety for victims and their children Increased victim safety Increased victim autonomy and empowerment Increased victim participation in criminal cases, arrests and convictions Increased efficiency and collaboration among government and non-profit agencies Increased trust and satisfaction in the criminal and civil system by victims Increased community awareness and support

However, in order to capture the outcomes after your Center opens, you should document the existing response to family violence prior to opening. Developing a baseline or benchmarking your community’s response, will help facilitate estimating and accurately documenting the outcomes of your Center. The baseline will also form the business case for convincing potential funders of the economic benefits of developing and maintaining a Center. 2

These outcomes and anticipated outcomes for your community must be highlighted in your funding plan. It shows potential funders why they should contribute money to open a Center and why they should make commitments to continue their financial support once the Center is in operation. Documenting how much money the Center will cost to open, the mix of government and non-government funding that will be necessary to operate the Center, and the associated benefits that are anticipated—both in terms of client welfare as well as efficiency gains as compared to the pre-Center environment— establishes the business case. Potential funders will want to see a clear path from concept to implementation; that their investment of time, money and expertise means the dream will become reality. The vision for a Center sets the stage for the funding plan. With this vision in place, a Strategic Planning Process can be used to direct your Work Group or a funding team in the development of an effective funding plan. Identify a Funding Team The Funding Team should be made up of representatives from sponsoring government agencies, individuals in the business of raising funds, grant writers, representatives from potential funding sources, financial experts, survivors, and your visionary — those on the team who are willing to dream big. To keep the vision from being lost during the fundraising process, the funding team needs representatives from potential onsite community partner agencies who will actually be serving the clients once the Center opens. Having elected officials or policy makers on your financial team will be helpful when it comes to identifying funding sources within city or county government. Once the Funding Team is assembled, a good starting point for outlining a funding plan is to seek input from a community leaders’ focus group. The focus group might be asked: “What are practical and effective ways to engage the community in funding a permanent home for the Family Justice Center?” Aided by a trained facilitator, focus groups can identify promising avenues for a funding plan that will appeal to the community. With this information, the first meeting of a Funding Team will likely be full of great ideas and lots of enthusiasm. Use that first meeting to generate the momentum you will need to help prospective funders see and feel the community’s support and excitement for a Center. To keep the momentum going, you will need your Center Director or Planning Facilitator to keep the Funding Team on task. But your champion – your visionary – will be the one who needs to provide the unwavering inspiration and motivation for the project. Equally important to keeping everyone focused on the shared vision of a future Center are the stories of survivors. Survivors can play a powerful role in helping Centers develop a compelling business case. They have experience with the system preCenter. Their stories are real. They can share their stories with elected officials, funders, onsite and offsite partners, and, importantly, any opponents of your center.


American pastor and former President of Christian Camping International, Rev. Bill Gwinn, would always remind development/funding teams working on any major capital project: “A person with an experience is never at the mercy of a person with an argument.” The experience of survivors always carries great power and persuasion with potential donors—more than any argument or advocacy position. Stories like the ones below help paint a clear picture of the need for any Center: •

• •

• •

“We need one place to go to at least accomplish a couple of things. If not everything, just a couple of things. It would have made all the difference in the world. It wouldn’t have taken me so long to get help or made me feel so helpless.” “You’re so broken down. Getting an answering machine builds a wall between you and help. Still to this day, I feel the system let me down. I don’t trust agencies. And I didn’t like the fact when I called one agency, all they said was: Sorry. We have reached our maximum capacity. We can’t help you.” “It takes you forever to call for help and when you do finally call them, there’s no one for you. You get so beaten up by the process. So if you can’t give me help, give me another solution.” “They gave me pages of referrals. Some of the information was outdated. The brochure gave you numbers to call but they can’t even help you. So why list them? There are way too many numbers. Don’t know why I should call the Attorney General for my state when I need local resources.” “I got the run around. Sometimes they are nice but most of the time they’re so indifferent. It’s like you’re just a number and who cares. There is no customer service. They are rude.” “We need someone to help us navigate through the system. I’ve heard several ladies say, ‘if this is how they are going to treat you, you might as well stay at home’.”2


Focus group with the Hope House Advisory Committee at the San Diego FJC The Alliance has now conducted over 200 focus groups with sexual assault and domestic violence survivors about the Family Justice Center model. These focus groups have been conducted in over ten countries. Themes have emerged from those focus groups:

• • • • • • • •

When focus groups are conducted before a Center opens, survivors say “hurry up” When focus groups are conducted after the Center opens, survivors say “What took you so long?” Victims are fearful of systems and don’t understand the process Courts are always identified as the scariest place to seek help Shelters are generally the safest place to go for help Victims all report going from place to place to get help Victims don’t want to tell their story over and over again Victims want all their services together in one place

Your Funding Team must hear these stories and understand the critical need for the Center. They also need to be able to explain how the pre-Center systems will need to be changed with the creation of a Center. But the entire Funding Team should stay focused on two things: (1) a commitment to the plan, and (2) implementing the plan including all the strategies and tactics identified during the planning process. To keep the momentum going, your Funding Team should create a strong sense of urgency. A strong sense of urgency can be created through various strategies, such as a call-to-action by elected officials, community leaders, and/or survivors; taking advantage of your city’s financial crisis by offering a more efficient service delivery model for family violence cases; or making the commitment that you will “not let victims die in vain.” Even simple things such as a deadline, a timeline in a planning grant or 5

even a matching grant, will go a long way towards maintaining a sense of urgency. Urgency ultimately builds to unstoppable momentum. Seeking funding for the planning process itself is an excellent way to develop buy-in from private foundations or other future funding sources. The Alliance provides communities with sample grant applications to fund the planning process for a Family Justice Center. Many foundations have funded planning grants for launching a Center, such as The California Endowment, Blue Shield of California Foundation, the Verizon Foundation, and many others. Planning grants for strategic planning, funding plans, and/or sustainability plans, are often seen as insurance plans for a foundation’s future investment in or support for the sustainability of a Center. Some foundations demand it before they make larger investments. Peer reviewers of federal grant applications tend to score communities with detailed strategic plans, funding plans, and/or sustainability plans much higher than federal grant applications that lack such plans.

Develop a Budget for Start-up Costs, Operations, and Expansion Launching a Family Justice Center is relatively inexpensive—really! It does not require the creation of a bureaucracy. It does not require the hiring of large staffs. The vision is to simply take existing personnel from existing agencies and co-locate them. They still work for their own organizations and continue to handle their own cases. And every community partner must contribute existing resources to the project, such as dedicated staff, equipment, and supplies. However, the co-location creates efficiencies because agency professionals working in the field of family violence prevention and intervention invariably begin working more closely together on their cases when they are in physical proximity. Every project needs a budget. The budget for a Center has three major categories: Start-up costs, ongoing operations, and expansion/long-term needs. The initial funding plan should identify all the known expenses for initial start-up, move-in costs, monthly operations, parking costs, and other related expenses. The funding plan needs to account for the various phases of the project, including the eventual permanent site. While no planning process can ever anticipate all expenses, it is crucial to be as thorough as possible in identifying anticipated costs. Below we discuss what to consider in developing the budget for your Center. Breaking the project into phases, and developing timelines for each phase, can make individual steps more manageable and likely allow for the opening of a Center sooner. By establishing practical fundraising goals, you’ll get more support for the project. Potential funding sources are more willing to take on pieces than huge portions. Consider the Funding Needs of Community Partners


It is likely that the Center’s onsite partners will have funding challenges of their own. Loss of funding sources is disruptive because onsite partners are vital to the overall success and operation of a Family Justice Center. To avoid having community partners eventually leave due to funding issues, embrace their funding challenges early. Understand these challenges from the beginning of the project. A funding team may be so focused on raising funds for the general operating costs of your Center that they overlook the funding needs of onsite partners. The funding team should take the time to learn about the funding needs of each community partner, try to create a shared sustainable funding plan, and support community partners’ efforts to seek funding. Financial issues are sensitive. On the one hand, each partner agency must be responsible for its own funding of staff assigned to the Center. On the other hand, the Center does not want to begin operations and then lose valuable partners. In San Diego, our funding team often declined to pursue a certain funding source in order to increase a community partner’s chance of receiving a grant from that source which would allow the partner to stay at the Center. Competition for funding will happen, no matter how hard all agencies work to support each other. An agency may lose the funding source for its Family Justice Center staff, and another agency may have to replace it. Each partnering agency must be challenged to support the vision with or without a guarantee of future funding. Consider having an open discussion with your community partners about funding. Ask them how they envision shared sustained funding at your Center. How will you collaborate on grants? How will you support each other’s grants, fund-raising events, and galas? Are there any funding sources that should be considered off-limits? Will you hold joint fundraising events? The Family Justice Center Alliance has authored a Shared, Sustained Funding Model policy for all Centers and every Funding Team should be thinking how it can help agencies work together to pursue grant funds so the pie gets bigger for all partner agencies of the Center. The policy is available in the Alliance online Resource Library. More Funders are Requiring Collaboration In recent years, funders, in local, national, and international communities, have shown a tremendous interest and excitement for collaboration among all applying agencies. Funders are very interested in funding Family Justice Centers because the heart of this model is collaboration. Instead of competing with each other for limited funds, the colocation model seeks to develop a shared sustained funding model for all partners. Instead of slicing the existing “funding pie” into smaller pieces, the co-location model seeks to attract new funding sources to the effort, thereby making the pie bigger for everyone. The collective voice of the Center’s onsite partners is much louder and stronger than one single organization. Funders see this level of collaboration as insurance that their grant funds will be used wisely; that their funds will become an


Tarrant County One Safe Place FJC Planning Team (2011)

investment into the community’s ability to meet the needs of hurting families in more efficient, effective and innovative ways than would be the case without the Center. In Fort Worth, Texas, all agencies are working together to raise support for their new 50,000 square foot Center. Major private donors are supporting their efforts to raise $12 million, including the Bass Family Foundation. It was the first time in the history of the Foundation that more than 30 agencies came together in a single proposal for a common goal. The Bass Family Foundation has expressed satisfaction in seeing all the agencies working together instead of competing with each other for limited dollars. The momentum for the project increased greatly after the completion of a Strategic Plan with funding components included.


Special Grants to Fund Start-Up Costs There are grants available for one-time start-up costs. For example, federal Community Development Block Grants can be used only for “bricks and mortar” expenses. These generally include the following: • • • •

Tenant improvements Data lines Infrastructure Remodeling

Other one-time costs may include the following: • • •

Move-in costs Furniture Equipment

You’ll Need Money to Keep the Doors Open Once the Center opens, an on-going budgeting process will be needed, whether the monies flow through a non-profit agency coordinating the Center’s operation or a local government agency. Sustainability will be discussed later in this chapter but the initial budget forms the foundation for knowing your long-term financial needs. Operations budget will generally consist of the following: • • • • • • • • • • • • •

New staff (if any) Rent Utilities Parking for staff Parking for clients Parking for visitors Phones/computers Internet connections Supplies Brochures and written materials Website Volunteer recognition Staff appreciation events 9

• • • •

Food for victims Food for meetings Training Consultants

Expenses Related to Future Expansion From the beginning, every Family Justice Center should plan for expansion, both staffing and space needs. Based on the experience of many vibrant, dynamic Centers, we have learned that “if you build it, they will come.” We grossly underestimated our space needs in San Diego and many other Centers have as well. If our experience is the norm, a community will outgrow available space and capacity within 120-180 days of opening. Every Center should, at the onset, plan for future needs—one year, three years, and five years in advance. While we have emphasized this nationally over and over, most existing Family Justice Centers failed to plan for adequate space—both for future operating needs and for overall expansion requirements. Learn from those who have gone before you. Think big, even if money is initially tight! Anticipate Going Over Budget Every funding team should anticipate that the project will be over budget. There is always something that is overlooked; no matter how hard all partners try to anticipate every cost. It should come as no surprise that every project has unexpected funding needs. Budgets are moving targets. The most likely reasons for unexpected expenses will be: unanticipated needs for services; unexpected operating cost increases; the need to add a community partner; or matters beyond anyone’s control, such as an energy crisis, parking cost increases, or client needs that cannot be met with donated supplies. Consider adding an additional 15% to 25% to your budget to cover unanticipated costs. Present Your Budget to City or County Officials In this Manual, there is a bias toward local government funding sources. This is intentional. As noted, Family Justice Centers are victim-centered public safety initiatives that include co-located police officers and prosecutors along with nongovernmental, community-based organizations. The presence of police officers and prosecutors in a Center makes it a key public safety initiative and therefore a high priority of government to invest in the long-term sustainability of the Center. Local government, no matter how financially strapped, has an obligation to provide funds for innovative (and now successful) models for saving lives and breaking the cycle of family violence. So, don’t let local government say they cannot afford it! 3 First, let your supporters (including survivors) know in advance about upcoming budget hearings. Invite them to attend, provide a few comments, send a letter of support, make a phone call, or send an e-mail to their representative.


Fill the

room with supporters. Purple is the national color for domestic violence awareness efforts. Purple represents hope and justice. Ask your supporters to wear buttons or T-shirts in support. The “power of we” speaks volumes to your elected officials and San Diego FJC staff and volunteers show their support at the San Diego City reminds them of Council meeting. your community’s ongoing interest and support for your Center. Videotape your elected officials when they speak in support and use those tapes for many months and years to come whenever necessary!

Prepare and submit a written report about your Center which outlines the history, the level of ongoing support, clients served, the community partners that will be onsite, and the services they provide. List your Center’s major accomplishments and how funds have been used to address the problem. Include victim surveys, results of focus groups, and your strategic plan. Prepare a power point presentation that summarizes the key points of your report and include a pie chart that shows the big picture of your city’s or county’s general fund monies. Most likely, the cost of running your Center, as compared to other 11

departments, such as the police department, fire department, or homeland security, will be so small that it may not even show on the pie chart. For example, the annual budget for the San Diego Family Justice Center, approximately $500,000 was only 0.05% of the annual general fund. Out of every $100.00 the city spent out of the general fund, only five pennies supported victims of family violence through the Family Justice Center! At the time the San Diego Family Justice Center was being planned it was estimated that the cost to prosecute one domestic violence homicide in the City of San Diego was $2.4 million.4 According to a recent study by Iowa State University conducted in 2010, researchers determined a murder costs about $17.25 million5. The authors wrote that even though each murder costs approximately $17.25 million, it still does not convey the true costs imposed by homicide offenders. “Since the mean homicide conviction was more than one, the average murderer in these analyses actually imposed costs approaching $24 million. For the offender who murdered nine victims, the total murderspecific costs were $155,457,083!" The ISU researchers also calculated costs of rape at $448,532 and aggravated assault at $145,379. By preventing just a few of these crimes, a Family Justice Center more than pays for itself in terms of economic savings to the community. Identify Existing Sources for Funding Find out how much your city or county is already spending to respond to domestic violence and other crimes. This outcome will interest existing funding sources at the local, state, federal and international level. In the United States, the National Institute of Justice estimates that the costs related to crime victim assistance exceed $105 billion a year. This figure includes medical costs, lost earnings, and public program costs. Clearly, systems are already spending the money on family violence, most often too late. Communities spend it to send criminal investigators and police officers to calls for assistance. The money is spent to treat battered and bruised victims in hospitals and medical facilities. It is spent to prosecute criminal abusers, often unsuccessfully. Sometimes communities wait until it is too late by paying the highest price of all – the loss of a life. The economic consequences associated with the loss of life are profound and often underestimated. One of the key goals of Centers around the world has become reducing the number of domestic violence homicides. With partners collaborating together, homicides do begin to decline. Not only are lives saved, but the reduction in family violence-related murders saves millions over the years. The reality is that communities are not effectively using their limited resources – money, time, and people. Consider the infrastructure costs of running many separate organizations. Consider the costs when such organizations work separately and do not share important information or resources. In fact, many communities are currently competing with each other for limited funding. They just don’t talk about it openly. Anticipate that some non-profit agencies will feel threatened by the creation of a new program and fear the Family Justice Center will be in direct competition with their 12

program. To avoid competing for scarce resources, it is critical for a developing Center to determine how current programs are being funded and which funding sources are critical to your potential partners. Without this information, your Funding Team may accidentally tap into the same funding source that is crucial to a partner agency and jeopardize another program by the creation of the Center. As noted earlier, the best approach is collaboration and strategically seeking funding together. Identify All Potential Funding Sources As we often say, one of the goals of the Family Justice Center model is to make the pie bigger. Not only do communities need to look under every conceivable funding rock, but they need to create new funding rocks. Both the President’s Family Justice Center Initiative and the California Family Justice Initiative, recently sponsored by the Blue Shield of California Foundation, have shown that there are many potential new funding sources, including increased government support (which was not previously allocated for family violence). The Family Justice Center Alliance recently published an e-book report on Phase I of the California Family Justice Initiative. The report, among other things, documented how funds provided by Blue Shield of California Foundation to five sites were leveraged to raise additional funding. Blue Shield’s investment of $65,000 per site helped these communities not only create Centers but also produced a total of $14.8 million in leveraged funds from other funders. The pie got bigger in all five communities because of the relatively small investment of Blue Shield of California Foundation. 6 In 2005, Congress added Family Justice Centers to the federal Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and communities can now seek federal funding to start and operate Centers through the Grants to Encourage Arrest Program in Title I of VAWA. Most recently, existing Family Justice Centers have even benefited from new initiatives such as the Blueprint for Safety Project (where all three pilot sites selected are Family Justice Center communities) and the National Witness Protection Center’s Witness Intimidation Project (where all three pilot sites selected are Family Justice Center communities).7 It is clear that funders are attracted to the level of collaboration inherent in a Family Justice Center. There are many other potential funding sources. Here are some possibilities: • • • • • • • •

Re-allocated, unexpended funds from budgets of the sponsoring agencies The general fund of participating city, county, state, or tribal governments Federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds Local, state or federal grants Private foundations including funders focused on children, families, women, and public health Corporate sponsors Individual donors Interest-free loans from banks or private donors 13

Laura Colgate, the Director of the FJC Sonoma County

Bond measures and local fees8 Special fundraising events

And don’t forget that in-kind donations may be as valuable as or more valuable than cash! Local government may be able to provide a building as has been true for Family Justice Centers in Anaheim, Alameda, Boston, New Orleans and many other communities. Private landlords may be willing to dramatically discount their leasing rates as happened in San Diego and Anaheim. Furniture, interior design, computers, infrastructure, software, and many other hard costs of construction or remodeling can be donated – dramatically reducing the overall cost of the Center. Business and corporate sponsorships can be involved in naming rooms at the Center for a particular

amount of money. Most recently, Laura Colgate, the Director of the Family Justice Center Sonoma County in northern California was able to save approximately $1.6 million through valueengineering on an $8 million Family Justice Center project supported by the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors and private funders. Businesses gain significant goodwill by supporting Centers. Such support may provide positive media exposure, awards, national recognition, as well as indirect benefits for the company in the long-run. More and more companies are simply engaging in for cause marketing as part of their business plan. Assistant District Attorney Carol Shipley, the visionary behind the Stanislaus Family Justice Center in Modesto, CA successfully reached out for major corporate support from Foster Farms and Gallo Wineries in their effort to open the leading Family Justice Center in Central California. The key is having diverse funding sources for your project. Your Funding Team should establish clear percentage goals from each funding source for each stage of your project. • • • • •

Government (National, State or Local) Funding: ____% Corporate Funding:______ % Foundation Funding: _____% In-kind Donations:________% Fundraising:____________ %

In the event your project does not get re-funded from one funding source in any given year, your project should be able to sustain itself while new grants are pending or your Center is waiting for new funds to arrive. The Alliance has documented a broad range of public-private funding for Centers across the United States. Most Centers, however, receive 50-90% of their funding from local government support. While each community


is different, significant local government public funding is always crucial to long-term success. Lessons Learned about Grant Writing Think about hiring a full-time grant writer who can be dedicated to the project and support the financial team. If staffing is an issue, consider asking one of your supporting agencies to dedicate a grant writer for this purpose. Glen Price, a gifted grant writer and strategic planner, has assisted numerous communities in California in writing Family Justice Center grants as part of larger contracts with county governments to assist with all types of grant writing efforts. Find out if your County or City has a contract or staff grant writer and advocate for their involvement in your efforts. Most City or County governments generally have a grant writer on staff or on contract who can play a crucial role in seeking grants only available to government. Public safety is a key priority for any local government and the Family Justice Center is a lifesaving public safety initiative. Allocating a grant writer for this purpose, will make sense and should be at the heart of local government’s priority list. Consider recently-retired grant writers. The Knoxville (TN) Family Justice Center and the Nampa (ID) Family Justice Center are currently making good use of existing city grant writers, while the San Diego Family Justice Center and the Essex County (NJ) Family Justice Center are making good use of recently-retired government grant writers to support their Center’s efforts at securing grants. You can also contact your local universities to identify internships that provide support for your grant writing efforts. Or post the need for a volunteer grant writer on local websites. There are many committed and dedicated citizens who are willing to volunteer their services for good organizations. Don’t Be Afraid to Try Something New There are many challenges in obtaining funding and achieving sustainability for a Family Justice Center. The list gets longer every day. One of the ongoing challenges, and a major lesson learned, has been the importance of grant writing and hiring the right grant writer. Most people who work in the field of family violence are not professional grant writers. Many funding sources do not want to fund rent money or leasing costs to simply house “a whole bunch of domestic violence professionals in one place who don’t work well together.” The concept of one place for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse, and elder abuse to seek services is relatively new and has caught some foundations by surprise. Donors want proof that it will work. Success is not easily measured but evaluation data is now coming in and you need to use all the data provided in the Evaluation Folder of the Alliance’s online Resource Library. After receiving numerous rejections for the original Family Justice Center in San Diego, we decided to go back to the drawing board. We obtained and reviewed feedback from the funding agencies which rejected our proposals. We sought feedback from City 15

Council members, community leaders, partners and survivors from our efforts and presentations. This critical analysis made us realize that our writings failed to clearly and convincingly articulate the vision of a Family Justice Center when we first sought funds from new funders and donors. We also realized that people were willing to invest in the vision of then City Attorney Casey Gwinn and then-Police Chief David Bejarano because they had a proven record of making things happen. They had a clear vision of the Family Justice Center that they shared publicly and in private. When they said it, everyone embraced it, and everyone saw and understood the vision. So we were clearly doing something wrong when we put our vision on paper. We learned that live presentations are more effective than written proposals and that the stories of survivors are especially powerful. Why? Because the sharing of real life experiences vividly illustrates the impacts of domestic violence on potential funders’ communities and constituents. Each time real life experiences were shared, the attendees became unanimous supporters. The need and urgency for a Family Justice Center became real. What then was missing from our written proposals? What was it about a live presentation that made the difference? What made the attendees willing to generously give us their support, time, or their money? We discovered our City Council made a connection or had a relationship with the City Attorney’s Office, the Police Department, the San Diego Domestic Violence Council, individuals advocating for the project, and survivors; even though they did not have a connection to the Family Justice Center -yet. The San Diego Family Justice Center was simply something that did not exist and they could not embrace the concept because it was foreign and unfamiliar. Relationships with existing agencies had to be central to our effort. Cold requests from people with no relationship to us to fund our Center would never work. After much thought, we changed our strategy. We created opportunities for funding agencies to meet and hear about the project from the key partners, whether at a community forum, over lunch, at a meeting, or holding an open house. We put this new strategy into action and immediately invited potential donors to the next meeting. The room was full of supporters of the project. When our City Attorney, Police Chief, and domestic violence community leaders spoke about the project, you could immediately see, hear and feel the excitement and energy in the room.


Casey Gwinn discusses the future of the San Diego FJC at a community forum

Use Your Grant Writer to Educate Although Child Advocacy Centers have been around for many years, funding sources may not yet be familiar with the co-location model for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and elder abuse. Part of the funding plan should include educating local foundations and the community to understand the Family Justice Center vision and model. To help potential donors see the vision, the funding team should give a great deal of thought about how to write each proposal so it portrays more than simply asking for money or rent. The proposal must communicate the vision and the heartbeat of the project. The grant writer must be able to communicate the vision in words. The reader of a Family Justice Center grant proposal should be able to clearly understand how bringing together a multi-disciplinary team of professionals under one roof will save lives and forever change how victims and their children are served in a community. To write a winning proposal, consider developing a team approach. Make sure the visionary member is interviewed and asked to review the proposal or to write the vision portion of the proposal. The grant writer may want to consider asking an expert on the subject of domestic violence and sexual assault to draft the problem section and should consult a good storyteller to review the draft proposal. Other Funding Considerations Track Filing Deadlines Nothing is more painful than missing a deadline to file a grant. At least one person on the Funding Team should be familiar with the filing deadlines for various funding sources. Every funding source has a different fiscal year, filing period, and application process. Develop a tickler system to ensure you are soliciting funds at the beginning of a source’s funding cycle. This can also be a great intern project.


Identify a Fiscal Agent A responsible fiscal agent should be identified early in your effort to launch a Family Justice Center. Consider soliciting the support of any one of the non-profit partner organizations who have already joined your Family Justice Center planning or Funding Team. One of your lead nonprofit organizations may even consider waiving any fees for at least the start-up phase, or even the first 24 months. Fees may vary between 5% and 10% of the total amount of funds in your account. The Bronx FJC recognizes their

funders in a fun and creative way that Your Funding Team will be able to raise more money, also brightens the reception area receive more donations and garner more grants if your Center is connected to a non-profit organization, especially if the organization already has great standing in the community, a long reputation with funders and is a leader in the community. Remember, non-profit organizations have the ability to provide a tax deduction to your donors and funders like to support winning programs. Ultimately, though, you may want to create your own private foundation to support your Center. We have found that a private foundation created to solely benefit a Center is central to long-term sustainability. Otherwise, your Center may end up competing with other important projects of your fiscal agent. In the short run, however, creating a dedicated line-item account with the sponsoring government agency, or identifying a local nonprofit agency to act as a fiscal agent, is helpful.

Be Diplomatic and Generous with Thank-You Letters Procedures on how, when, and who should sign thank-you letters is important. Many Centers have learned that saying thank you is an art form that is generally incompatible with boilerplate language. The thank you that comes from the heart may encourage a donor to give again. The general rule for professional fundraisers is to say thank you at least seven times! This can include notes, cards, plaques, pieces of art made by women or children at the Center, and framed pictures or photo books of special activities of the Center. Be creative. Personal gifts that help donors see, in a tangible way, how their donation impacted lives, often inspire future donations. Develop a Wish List Every Family Justice Center should have a wish list that can be shared with civic groups, government employees, friends and family, and key donors and foundations at a moment’s notice or even posted on your website. The wish list should include the needs of each onsite community partner because funders like options and have special interests. The wish list should briefly explain why the position or item is needed. For example, here’s an item that was included in the San Diego Family Justice Center’s “Wish List” shortly after the Center opened:


“Volunteer Coordinator: Estimated annual Cost - $60,000. Funds are needed to add a full time volunteer coordinator who would help recruit, train and supervise approximately 50-100 volunteers for the Family Justice Center. Volunteers are needed to help manage approximately 500 victims and over 3,000 phone calls per month. Since opening in October 2002, volunteers have donated over 9,000 hours of their time by helping staff answer phone calls, collect statistics, assist at special events and provide follow up phone calls, court support and transportation assistance to victims and their children. Our volunteers have saved the City thousands of dollars. They have also provided much needed support to clients. Using the 2002 national average hourly value of $16.54, this amounts to $148,860 in savings. As the FJC expands and the demands for services grow, more volunteers and supervision will be needed. The position will more than pay for itself with cost savings and sustainability of volunteers.” Solicit Letters of Support Early Immediately begin gathering letters of support from key elected and government officials, the so called “tall trees.” An assigned member of the Funding Team should draft sample letters to make it easy for supporters to endorse the planned Center. Too many communities wait until the last minute to obtain letters of support. These letters should be available at all times. Once you have a statement of support for the Family Justice Center vision, maintain a list of all such supporters even if they have not provided any money or other tangible support. The long list of those who support the vision is impressive to any potential funding source. Use Alternative Forms of Fundraising If you don’t have a foundation or haven’t started a foundation yet, consider some easy fundraising activities simply to bring awareness and generate buy-in. Here are some possibilities: o Hold a silent auction and dinner event o Start a penny drive o Ask restaurants to donate a percentage of their profits on a certain night to the future Center o Have a luncheon or a gala to kick off a capital campaign o Bring in an outside FJC planning team and invite local elected officials to participate (without asking for any initial funding commitment) Reach out to Corporate Sponsors Local businesses are key sources of support. They often partner with nonprofit organizations to fund worthy causes. Once educated about the cost-effective service approach of a Family Justice Center, many businesses will support the vision. Here are possible kinds of corporate support: 19

• • • • • •

Sponsorships for rooms or sections of the new Center Business donations based on items sold or a particular promotion (with 110% of the sales revenues going to the Center) One dollar of every ticket sale for a special event In-kind donations for needs of the new Center Advertising to private and public employees to earmark their United Way contributions or combined federal campaign contributions for the new Center Ask for multi-year giving or matching grants.

Develop a Sustainability Plan Before concluding this chapter, we must talk briefly about sustainability planning which occurs after the initial start-up of a Center. Your Center will need a sustainability plan for many purposes, including grants, local government budget hearings, and private donors. Below is the original “sustainability plan” written by the San Diego Family Justice Center and included in a grant application: “The City of San Diego is committed to the San Diego Family Justice Center (FJC) for the long haul. We are taking steps to assure the continuation of the project through the strong support of the Mayor and City Council. At the local government level, we have obtained $376,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds (CDBG) and $100,000 in social service funds. At the federal level, we have been awarded $835,000 in grants from the Office on the Violence Against Women to support investigation and prosecution operations as well as a Forensic Medical Unit. We have been awarded funding from private foundations including: $500,000 in grant funds from the California Endowment; $30,000 from Verizon, $112,500 from the Waitt Foundation and $60,000 from the California Wellness Foundation. The Family Justice Center’s operational expenses are currently absorbed by the City’s general fund budget. The 22 Community Partners located at the Family Justice Center have committed their staff members to the project as an in-kind donation. The City Council has historically been very supportive of domestic violence prevention efforts and continues to be supportive. This support is evidenced by the City commitment of more than $150,000 of CDBG funds to the FJC over the course of the next two years and the Deputy Mayor’s recent commitment of $10,000 to the 12,000 square foot expansion of the Center. Within the last year, a foundation was launched to support the Family Justice Center and Camp Hope. The Foundation’s mission is to raise funds for the operational costs for the both programs.” While it was the best plan we could create at the time, in hindsight, our initial Funding Team should have worked harder to develop a more comprehensive sustainability plan including when it would be reviewed and how the Center would commit to keeping the 20

sustainability review process alive. Sadly, too many good projects have ended when a grant ends simply because they waited too long to REALLY work on their sustainability plan. To develop a comprehensive sustainability plan for your Center, all the moving parts of a Center need to be taken into consideration. This need is one of the main reasons the Alliance has created the Family Justice Center Snapshot Tool. The tool is a comprehensive assessment designed to measure the Center’s overall organizational effectiveness, service delivery efficiency, functionality of day-to-day operations, and operational funding and sustainability. Each one of the components is important to the sustainability of a Center. If victims don’t like the services or how they are being provided at the Center, they will not return. If the onsite partners are not being treated with respect and services are not being coordinated, your community partners will become frustrated and eventually leave. Neglecting any one or more of these components will have an impact in the Center’s ability to continue raising funds or having the support from local government funding sources or other existing funders. Because Centers have many moving parts, your sustainability plan and strategy must be a living, breathing document that is robust with ideas, diverse in funding and high on your priority list. The Funding Team cannot afford to wait until your grant is about ready to end to worry about sustainability. Consider including at least the following key components: Keep Your Funding Team Active o Convene regularly o Update your Business Plan or Funding Plan annually o Set short-term and long-term goals, but also be ready to take advantage of good opportunities that come your Center’s way o Be creative. Many Centers have passed legislation to provide for operational funding, such as Centers in California, Tennessee and Florida o Find your own Bass Family Foundation or major philanthropic supporter o Reach out to the Alliance to assist you in developing a plan o Be sure you have a consensus on the mix of public and private funding that is appropriate to operate your Center o Engage all the community partners in the thinking and planning process but don’t make them responsible for funding the Center


Create a Community and Center Work History When it comes to supporting a community project, funding agencies want to know about a community’s commitment to the issue of intimate partner violence, prevention and intervention. Give them an overview of the following areas:

Your history – as a City, County, separate organizations, and a Center Your achievements before and after your Center How you’ve overcome challenges Your joint vision for the future Your dynamic and charismatic leaders and champions The history of projects your community has successfully launched The awards and recognition your agency has received The funding you have received and the funders who have invested in your dream o Let new funders know that your city, community, and partners have the experience and determination to make good things happen o o o o o o o o

Honor the History of your Non-Governmental, Non-Profit Partners It is crucial to the success of a sustainability plan that your Funding Team obtains commitments from knowledgeable individuals in the community to prepare a history of efforts in combating domestic violence and sexual assault. People may need to do a lot of digging to find out the history of a community’s response to violence. Often, this history is not written; it is stored in the memories of individuals who have lived it. Someone should interview many of the original movers and shakers in the community to recreate the community’s historical response to domestic violence. If you can show a long-term commitment from your local government and civic leaders, this will likely impress donors and convince them that the community is definitely committed for the long haul. Start a Foundation/Non-Profit Support Organization By starting a foundation dedicated to the Family Justice Center vision, you are saying to donors that you are committed to the project. You are announcing to your community that this issue matters and you will not simply rely on government entities to provide the necessary funds. Most importantly, you are developing long-term funding sources. You are also creating a Funding Team made up of foundation staff and volunteer board members to work on the sustainability of the Center. However, before starting a new foundation, consider doing the following:


o o o o o o o o o o o

Identifying the pros and cons of starting a foundation Joining forces with other nonprofit agencies whenever possible Identifying a fiscal agent for the short-term Starting an auxiliary and/or asking businesses to “adopt” your Center Approaching a law firm to donate staff time to create a foundation Choosing well-known community leaders with huge networks of friends as board members Targeting board members willing to invest major personal time as volunteers Hiring an executive director with a close relationship to local funders, domestic violence and sexual assault organizations Articulating a vision and mission statement Funding the start-up costs for the foundation first Choosing the right time to start – don’t compete with other key initiatives

Seek Volunteer and People Power Volunteers can be a great resource, in the form of raising money and obtaining community support, when seeking grants or pursuing sustainability. The box below lists tasks volunteers are often willing to perform: o o o o o o o o o o o

Writing letters of support Attending community forums Speaking at public hearings Writing letters to the editor Arranging for meetings with a possible corporate or business sponsor Sharing mailing lists and email lists Talking to reporters Telling their stories (survivors are your most powerful allies) Inviting their friends to participate in the Center’s functions Helping to staff community outreach or fundraising events Developing a social networking campaign to spread the word and generate online and smart phone donations

Be Accessible, Visible, and Active in the Community o o o o o

Participate in community fairs Hold monthly open houses Speak at community organizations and ask for help Start a Speakers Bureau or a VOICES Committee Be willing to speak to the media

Invest in Long-Term Planning and Evaluation


Sustainability Planning at the Knoxville Family Justice Center

As noted earlier, outside experts can often help produce progress faster than local advocates lobbying key officials. However, the community must be willing to invest in the process and commit to the action plans. The Funding Team that begins with the Family Justice Center may not be the team to continue planning for the future. Often after a Center opens, more thought is needed to get the Center fully operational. Many Centers have developed Operational Plans, updated their Funding Plans, revised their Sustainability Plan, or invested in a Snapshot plan from the Alliance, to ensure not only that there are sufficient funds to maintain the doors of the Center open, but also to maintain a healthy, well-run Center with satisfied clients and committed community partners. This planning and evaluation process can help move a center toward long-term

sustainability. The Alliance provides technical assistance to Centers seeking to develop a formal Funding and Sustainability plan. The process usually requires a one-to-two day commitment by the Funding and Leadership Teams of the Center. Working together, a careful analysis of existing funding sources is conducted, along with a review of the Center’s successes, supporters and challenges. The process also includes detailed action planning, development of key work groups, presentations, recommendations and a final report from the Alliance.

Conclusion Funding and sustainability discussions often give everyone a headache. Many communities are tempted to simply try to open a Center without thinking about how to sustain it. But early planning efforts will avert later disasters. Relying on one funding source will always create problems eventually. Every Center needs to develop a mix of public and private funding and work toward having a diversity of funding sources. Family Justice Centers are effective and cost efficient. Use the existing data, develop your own data, and then partner with survivors that can or have benefited from the Family Justice Center model to sell your vision to those with access to the resources to fund it.



Gwinn, C. and Strack, G. (2010). “When Family Justice Centers Work Well” in Dream Big: A Simple, Complicated Way to Stop Family Violence. Chapter 6, pp. 135-159. 2 These focus group responses were gathered from survivors during the planning process for the San Diego Family Justice Center between 2000—2001. 3 See Gwinn, C. and Strack, G. (2006) “Don’t Buy the Lie that You Cannot Afford It” in Hope for Hurting Families: Creating Family Justice Centers Across America, Chapter 6, 73-91. Volcano: Volcano Press. 4 See ‘San Diego County Department of Health and Human Services.’ (1994). Cost of Domestic Violence Homicide, Retrieved March 16, 2012, from 5 See ‘Iowa State University.’ (2010). Cost of Crime, Retrieved March 16, 2012, from 6 See ‘California Family Justice Initiative.’ (March 2011), Phase I, E-Book Report, Retrieved March 16, 2012, from 7 The National Witness Protection Center Project, funded by the U.S. Department of Justice in 2011, selected three Family Justice Center communities for their pilot sites: San Diego (CA); Duluth (MN); and Knoxville (TN). See ‘Blueprint for Safety Project.’ (2011-12) About Blueprint for Safety/New Orleans (LA); Memphis (TN); and Duluth (MN), Retrieved March 16, 2012, from 8 In California, Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley successfully developed a local certified records fee, obtained authorization for it through state legislation (AB2010 – 2004), and advocated for her County Board of Supervisors to implement it. The fee now raises nearly $200,000 per year for the Alameda County Family Justice Center.

Chapter 8 - Funding and Sustainability - Dream Big, Start Small  

When a community opens a Center, it sends a message of hope, compassion and commitment to women, men, children and families. By keeping the...