The Founding Mothers’ Society recognizes the pivotal contributions of four courageous women – Mary Jane Kirkpatrick, Patricia Garrett (Groff), Doris Payne and Beverly Frantz – who began AWP in 1976 in a small storefront in Sellersville with the mission to support survivors and end domestic violence. Over the last 44 years, AWP has grown to become an active and constant voice against domestic violence, providing critical, lifesaving services to the warriors and survivors who reach out to AWP for help.
With domestic violence rising almost 10 percent nationally during the pandemic, AWP’s hotline calls have outpaced even this surge, with a nearly 40% increase in calls from this time last year. In 2020 alone, AWP handled 4,300 hotline calls. In addition, despite constraints of the pandemic, the agency reached more than 5,600 students across Bucks County schools for prevention and education activities; provided 6,400 nights of shelter to adults and children; offered nearly 7,000 hours of counseling to groups of individuals; assisted in 2,775 cases of emergency justice related assistance; and served 2,300 clients who came to AWP for help and support.
In its first year, the Society will focus on the agency’s increased needs for services. Funding will be used to support hotline calls, advocacy work within the shelter, counseling and therapy for survivors, first response, civil-legal work and legal advocacy. Another critical area is prevention and education, such as the RISE program – Redefining Independence, Safety and Empowerment – focused on helping survivors gain vital skills and confidence so they can pursue their chosen careers and achieve financial independence.
The Society will provide a structure whereby supporters can engage more deeply in this work by coming together through strategic giving to support programs that need significant resources. Members of the Society will meet twice annually to review needs and goals with AWP.
“As needs evolve and increase, services and programs offered by AWP have also grown. But the core mission, set by the founding mothers, remains unchanged,” said Marianne Lynch, Executive Director, AWP. “We’re so grateful to the founding mothers for seeding this movement, and we thank our loyal and generous allies who are joining us in this fight. We have a lot of work to do to end domestic violence. The Founding Mothers’ Society will facilitate deeper engagement and transformational giving to break the cycle of domestic violence and move survivors beyond abuse to a place of permanent empowerment.”
AWP is the only domestic violence community benefit organization in Bucks County. AWP has provided free, private, confidential, and comprehensive shelter, service, support, advocacy, outreach, training, and education to victims of domestic abuse and violence and their children and the community for more than 44 years. The free, private and confidential hotline (1.800.220.8116) is available 24-hours a day.
To join or learn more about The Founding Mothers’ Society, contact Vibha Agrawal at email@example.com. Visit www.awomansplace.org or follow them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/awomansplace or Instagram at www.instagram.com/AWPbucks to stay updated on AWP’s activities.
PHOTO CAP: AWP Director of Client Services Jen Locker (second from left) accepts a donation of Covid masks from members of Alpha Kappa Alpha & Omega Psi Phi.