LAWRENCEBURG, IND., DECEMBER 16, 2022 – The Dearborn Community Foundation has awarded Safe Passage a $1,000 proactive grant to help bring awareness of domestic and sexual violence to the forefront.  

DCF Board member Becky Lyons, left, presents a $1,000 grant check to Mary Mattingly, Community Outreach Director for Safe Passage.

“Often these types of cases are hard to prosecute, and survivors feel helpless and hopeless. Safe Passage provides help, healing, and hope to assist these survivors on their journey,” said DCF Board member Becky Lyons, who recommended the grant.  

In a continuing effort to make an impact in the community, DCF is awarding 15 proactive grants of $1,000 each throughout 2022 to charitable organizations that serve Dearborn County residents. Each of the Foundation’s 15 volunteer board members is recommending a grant. The money comes from the Foundation’s Unrestricted Endowment Funds, established by donors to provide flexibility to address changing needs in the community over the years. 

Established in 1997, Safe Passage, Inc. is the sole support service provider for domestic and sexual violence survivors and their children in Dearborn, Ohio, Ripley, Franklin, Switzerland, and Jefferson counties. All services, including safe shelter, are free and confidential. On average, the organization serves 1,200 individuals through the shelter, the toll-free 24/7 helpline, and nonresidential programming for those who may not need shelter but do need support. The number continues to increase, said Safe Passage Community Outreach Director Mary Mattingly.

The main reason a victim does not leave dangerous circumstances is resources; 85 percent of Safe Passage clients are low income.

“Funding from this grant helps provide client support services, including emergency shelter, transportation, counseling, legal advocacy, job and housing support, children’s programming and life skills,” said Mattingly. “It also allows us to help local individuals meet unexpected challenges, such as replacing a tire so a client can get to work, covering the initial housing fee for a new safe residence, groceries and fuel for the week, or even a youth camp fee to help a financially strapped family.”

Safe Passage relies on community support, from individuals to corporations, to help cover the shortfall from state and federal funding, the agencies’ main source of funding.

“While we see the worse domestic violence can bring, we also see the best from the community. Groups often bring fresh produce to the shelter, blankets, and cleaning supplies, or even diapers when the need is communicated,” said Mattingly. The DCF grant allows Safe Passage to offer comprehensive free services and expand support with innovative programming as needs arise, she said.

Safe Passage provides a 24/7 Toll-Free Helpline at 1-877-733-1990, and additional hotlines for domestic violence at 1-812-933-1990, and sexual assault at 1-812-932-SAFE, added Lyons. Victims are encouraged to heal through no-cost counseling sessions. Additionally, a “Hope Chat” now is available from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. for those who would rather text, she said.  

“They can text ‘hopechat’ at 877-733-1990 to connect with someone. Within Safe Passage is a division called ‘Safe Place,’ which is a specialized team dedicated to serving survivors of sexual assault or other unwanted sexual experiences,” said Lyons. “So many of these survivors need to know someone is there to support them physically and emotionally, and know they are not alone. Safe Passage provides that support, and I hope this grant helps them to continue their efforts to assist those in need.”  

To contribute to Safe Passage, visit www.safepassageinc.org.

Anyone can contribute to an unrestricted endowment at DCF and help make impact grants like the 15 DCF Board members are recommending in 2022. For a list of the unrestricted endowments and to learn more about the Foundation, call 812-539-4115 or visit the Foundation website at dearborncf.org. If you are interested in contributing to DCF, visit our website’s “Give Now” page to donate online and to learn about other giving options.