PEI

$1M fundraiser launched for P.E.I. Family Violence Prevention Services

Endowment fund is expected to allow services to continue without going over budget, and staff to do more front-line work.

Endowment fund should help with budget concerns and more front-line work

Valerie Docherty, chair of the Building Brighter Future Campaign, hopes that building a $1 million endowment will allow services to continue without going over budget, and staff to do more front-line work. (CBC)

A $1 million endowment campaign has been launched to help P.E.I. Family Violence Prevention Services grow its programs and stop worrying about fundraising.

Valerie Docherty, chair of the Building Brighter Future Campaign, told CBC's Island Morning most Islanders are familiar with the organization through the Anderson House women's shelter in Charlottetown.

But the organization provides many other services, including outreach, housing, educational and counselling programs for victims and families.

She now hopes that building a $1 million endowment will allow services to continue without going over budget, and staff to do more front-line work.

Interest from the campaign would be additional revenue, she said.

"It will just allow them just a little bit more security that they can continue offering what they have," she said.

"Not only will you not go over budget but you will still be able to do what your mandate requires you to do."

Campaign looks for 200 sponsors

The endowment campaign started in 2016, and the organization hopes to attract 200 sponsors including businesses, groups and private individuals to donate $1,000 a year over five years.

Docherty added that the campaign would not end the need for general fundraising, but take the pressure off it.

She also hopes that the money will be spent on creating more preventive services.

Creating more preventive service

The organization now offers a program in four P.E.I. schools that teaches grade seven students about healthy relationships.

"And by teaching in the school system we are getting a head start on any potential problems that may be happening in their own home at that point in time or could happen as they get older," she said.

The organization's executive director, Danya O'Malley, is also interested in working directly with the abusers, she said.

And Docherty had previously advocated for an alternative therapeutic court for individuals charged with domestic violence.

"We want to see a healthy family and between a therapeutic court and what Danya is talking about working with perpetrators, I think we could see a change in the way family violence will be viewed in the future," she said.

Raising additional funds could also make the organization more attractive for board members, she said.

Many people do not want to join non-for-profit boards because of the work involved in fundraising.

"But that should not be the number one thing," she said.

She recognized that $1 million is a lot to ask for.

But people can always give as a group or donate smaller amounts, she said, or give food, clothing and personal hygiene items to the organization and Anderson House.

With files from CBC Island Morning

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