Current Community Grants
Amara has served women and children in Washington State since its founding as the Medina Baby Home orphanage in 1921. They have since evolved to provide pregnancy counseling, foster care support and facilitation of adoption of infants and vulnerable children. Many children have suffered trauma and need support of nurturing families. Foster care children have no permanent family; when they reach 19, they lose their foster child status and are on their own. Less than half will graduate from high school and more than 25 per cent will become incarcerated within two years of leaving foster care. Amara’s goal is to find a lasting family for every child.
Recently they approached the Borghesani Fund with a proposal for a study of a critical need they had identified – how to encourage successful adoption of sibling groups. Two, 3, or even 4 children from the same family are often in need of a permanent home. Having already been separated from their birth parents and families, the one constant in their lives are their siblings. In the words of Amara:
“We believe building stable and loving families for vulnerable children is the best form of intervention to prevent intergenerational cycles of abuse and violence. By finding more families capable of opening their hearts and homes to siblings from foster care, we create better opportunities for them to heal from their trauma and grow into healthy, well-adjusted adults.”
A leadership grant of $5,000 leadership given in 2011 allowed Amara to launchBrothers + Sisters Together, a new project to refine and accelerate Amara’s efforts to recruit and support adoptive families for siblings in foster care. The study identified existing programs across the country and gathered data to determine best practices for identifying potential parents and encouraging and supporting successful sibling adoption.
Strong Women Strong Girls
Since 2002, In Anne’s Spirit has provided grants to Strong Women, Strong Girls. Under the dedicated and capable leadership of founder and executive director, Lindsay Hyde, Strong Women Strong Girls continues to grow and expand services to diverse, at-risk elementary school girls through its after school programs in Greater Boston and Pittsburgh. SWSG engages college women mentors with third through fifth grade girls to empower one another while studying contemporary and historical female role models and working on skill building activities, all strengthening self esteem.
Women students from Harvard, Northeastern, Simmons, and Boston College volunteer as mentors at Boston and Cambridge schools. In addition to the after school programs each college chapter hosts special field days. Two years ago SWSG went national with a program at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, supported in part by grants from the Fund. SWSG has expanded services to elementary school girls and incorporated volunteers from Duquesne University and the University of Pittsburgh.
Victim Rights Law Center
In Anne’s Spirit continues its partnership begun in 2001 with the Victim Rights Law Center, a legal advocacy program whose mission is to “advocate for the interests of sexual assault survivors within the civil, criminal and academic justice systems, and to build community partnerships that meet the complex socioeconomic needs of survivors, including adolescents, low-income women and women of color.” An exciting outcome of this work is the publication in 2007 of their national manual: Beyond the Criminal Justice System:Using the Law to Help Restore the Lives of Sexual Assault Victims (A Practical Guide for Attorneys and Advocates). VRLC has also completed a supplemental chapter specific to minors in Massachusetts for their manual entitled: Representing Minor Victims of Sexual Assault
The Anne E. Borghesani Community Fund is pleased to continue to partner with Sojourner House in our mutual goal to build healthy communities In Anne’s Spirit.Sojourner House has been providing temporary shelter for homeless families, including fathers and children of all ages since 1981. In addition to offering emergency shelter, staff help guests access employment training programs, job searches, educational placements for their children, and permanent housing. Our grants since 2001 have provided assistance to their children’s programs and their individual financial mentoring programs.
Franklin I-O Summer Program in Dorchester
In Anne’s Spirit recognizes the compelling need to provide low-cost, quality summer programs to the youth of the city. The escalating violence among young people in Boston during the last several years resulting in an increase in the homicide rate confirms the urgency of safe summer planning for Boston youth. Since 2006 we have supported the Franklin I-O Summer Urban Program in Dorchester sponsored by the Phillips Brooks House (PBHA), a student-run non-profit public service organization at Harvard University. Although under the auspices of PBHA, the students are responsible for raising all funding for this seven week low cost academic and enrichment camp serving youth between the ages of 6 and 13.
Latinas “Know Your Rights” Project
In 2007 we welcomed a new organization to Anne’s Fund. REACH (Refuge, Education, Advocacy and Change) is a Waltham based multi-service agency committed to reaching beyond domestic or relationship violence. REACH provides services for about 6,000 adults and children yearly through emergency shelters for battered women and their children, a 24-hour phone hotline, education and community based programs.
Recently they identified an urgent need for education among the Latino immigrant families in the Waltham area. Many of these non-English speakers are unfamiliar with Massachusetts laws and legal services, and sometimes undocumented. Isolated and afraid they remain in relationships where they and their children are at risk of physical danger. Mithra Merryman, a Racial Justice Fellow from Greater Boston Legal Services has been working with staff at REACH this year to provide individual legal representation of battered Latina immigrants and work with the community to change barriers Latinas encounter in accessing their legal rights. A result of this work is the creation of the Latinas “Know Your Rights” Community Advocates Project. Collaborating with REACH staff, Ms. Merryman developed a twelve week program to train Latina lay advocates about their legal rights and then share this information within the community.
An Ethnographic Study of the L.I.V.E. Brothers Group at a Boston Middle School
We ventured into a new area in 2009 with a grant to support research into violence prevention programming. Georgia Hall, Ph.D., a principal investigator for the National Institute on Out-of-School Time (NIOST) at the Wellesley Centers for Women, is studying an innovative program, Out of Harm’s Way, being piloted in the Boston School System.
The primary goal of the Out-of-Harms Way initiative is to address the escalating violence in a subset of middle schools in the Boston Public Schools by offering comprehensive services and care, and increasing the participation of students in after school programming. This initiative is directed to middle school boys who have experienced personal trauma or are at risk of being violent. The program focuses on dealing with anger through talk and being pro-active, rather than through fighting.
In the course of evaluating the Boston programs, Dr. Hall identified that something unique about the particular program at the Dearborn School, the L.I.V.E Brothers Group, was contributing to the successful participation of the boys there. She proposed a qualitative study of what makes this program work so effectively, looking at the particular qualities of the two leaders of the group, the framework in which it is conducted, and the curriculum used.
Development of programs addressing male violence is a Fund goal. In Anne’s Spirit made a grant to Dr. Hall and NIOST to support an ethnographic study of the L.I.V.E. Brothers Group. Study results will facilitate replication in other schools.
Lowell Early Awareness Program Scholarship
Boston English High School scholarships in honor of Monique Brown
Melrose Alliance Against Violence www.maav.org