October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month: What You Need to Know

Photograph of a woman beneath a purple sky at sunset.

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month (NDVAM). Although the first NDVAM was more than 30 years ago, domestic violence remains a serious problem throughout the United States, including right here in southeast Kansas.

Fortunately, our region is well-served by several nonprofit organizations committed to educating the public about domestic violence and empowering victims to escape from abusive relationships and begin the road to recovery. This post provides some basic information about domestic violence with links to further resources, including links to local, regional, and national organizations that can help victims and survivors of domestic violence.

What is domestic violence?

Often when people hear the phrase domestic violence, they think of physical abuse. But that understanding is too narrow. The Kansas Coalition Against Sexual & Domestic Violence explains that domestic violence is “a pattern of abusive and coercive behavior used to gain dominance, power, and control over an intimate partner.”

That includes physical violence, but other behaviors are often a part of that pattern, too. According to Rebecca Brubaker, executive director of Safehouse Crisis Center, domestic violence is a progressive crime. That means that an abuser’s behavior tends to get worse over time, rather than starting out as physical abuse.

For example, what may begin as emotional abuse, like name-calling or gaslighting, may develop into intimidation, threats, or destruction of property, and only later escalate to physical or sexual violence.

What are the impacts of domestic violence?

Like the definition of domestic violence, the consequences of domestic violence are broader than many people may realize. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), domestic violence “is a major public health problem affecting millions of people in the United States each year.” A 2015 CDC report found the following impacts, among others:

  • Fear or concern about safety.
  • One or more symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • Physical injuries, including injuries requiring medical attention.
  • A need for housing, victim-advocacy, or legal services.
  • Missing at least one day of work or school.

How common is domestic violence in southeast Kansas?

Figuring out exactly how common domestic violence is can be tricky. Between 2013 and 2017 (the last year for which statistics are available), Kansas police reported an average of nearly 23,000 incidents of domestic violence each year to the Kansas Bureau of Investigation (KBI).

Of those, more than 1,300 were reported during the typical year in the 11 southeast-Kansas counties served by Safehouse Crisis Center and Hope Unlimited.

But the KBI’s figures only include incidents that were reported by victims to police, and then by police to the KBI. And according to estimates from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics, just over half of domestic-violence incidents are ever reported to police.

That means that the real figure is likely much higher than the number reported by the KBI. In fact, the CDC estimates that more than 1 in 3 women, and about 1 in 3 men, “experienced contact sexual violence, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner during their lifetime.”

Resources for victims of domestic violence

Being the victim of domestic violence can leave a person feeling afraid, isolated, and trapped. Fortunately, a nationwide network of victim-advocacy organizations has developed over the last few decades to educate the public about domestic violence and provide support for victims. Those organizations include:

Local resources

Regional resources

National resources


Future Fund applications are in. What happens next?

During August, the Community Foundation of Southeast Kansas accepted grant applications for its Future Fund Giving Circle. This year, the Future Fund has $14,586 available for granting. But the applications we received requested a total of more than three times that!

So, like every year, those applications will have to be reviewed to determine which will receive grant awards and which will not be funded this year.

How do we do that? Read on to find out!

Background: What is the Future Fund?

The Future Fund is a “giving circle.” In a giving circle, donors pool their funds and jointly determine how to distribute them. The Future Fund’s founders (try saying that three times fast) decided that its funds would only be available for nonprofits, schools, churches, and government institutions within Crawford County, Kansas.

Other than that restriction, which organizations receive grants from the Future Fund is determined by the Future Fund Review Committee based on those organizations’ grant applications.

In the past, the Review Committee has funded grant requests for organizations such as:

A more complete list of Future Fund grantees going back to 2014 can be found on our Future Fund page.

Behind the scenes of the Future Fund: What we’re up to now

September is a busy month for the Future Fund. During August, local organizations submitted grant applications to the Community Foundation. September is when the Future Fund Review Committee meets to go over those applications and decide which projects to fund. Here’s a timeline for the month:

  • Last week: We mailed application packets to Review Committee members. Those packets included a copy of each grant application, information about committee members’ role, and an organizer to help them keep track of all the grant requests.
  • This week: Between now and the middle of the month, committee members will be reviewing Future Fund grant applications. In determining which grant requests to accept, committee members will consider several factors, including:
    • The requesting organization’s ability to complete the proposed project.
    • The efficacy of the project in addressing the need identified.
    • The efficient use of available resources.
    • The appropriateness of the requested budget for the project.
  • September 17: The Future Fund Review Committee meets. Committee members will discuss each application and together decide which proposals should receive a grant. For successful applications, the Committee will also decide how much money to award, which may be less than the amount requested.

Shortly after the Review Committee’s meeting, the Community Foundation will notify applicants of the Committee’s decision. Successful applicants will also receive a grant contract and grant-evaluation report. Money is distributed from the Future Fund only after the grant contract is returned.

Finally, at the completion of the project or by July 2020, each organization that received a grant will have to return the grant-evaluation report. That report helps us ensure that Future Fund money is being used properly by grantees, and it can impact which organizations receive grants in the future.

How to support the Future Fund

Unfortunately, the Future Fund can’t fund every grant request we receive—at least, not this year. But that’s where community members like you come in.

The Future Fund is open to donations of any amount from anybody. And if your total contributions in a single year are at least $250, you can become a member of the Future Fund and be eligible to serve on the Future Fund Review Committee.

In that way, you can not only help grow the Fund so more money is available for local charities, but you can also help direct how that money impacts our community.

Learn more about the benefits of giving to the Community Foundation.

Of course, you can help even if you can’t donate. You can share this post with friends and colleagues on Facebook so that they can learn more about the Future Fund or the Community Foundation’s many other funds. Or you can volunteer with local charities, enabling them to do more with the resources they have.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Future Fund, the Community Foundation, or charitable opportunities in southeast Kansas, please feel free to contact us today!

Photo by Tim Umphreys


Summer 2019 Newsletter Now Available

The CFSEK Summer 2019 Newsletter is now available! What you'll find in this issue: 

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CFSEK Announces Joshua McCloud is New Donor-Services Coordinator

The Community Foundation of Southeast Kansas is pleased to announce Joshua McCloud as its new Donor Services & Community Outreach Coordinator, a newly created position at the foundation, according to Kit Parks, Executive Director of the region’s public charity.

Joshua comes to the foundation with a skill set tailored for donor-services work along with ties to southeast Kansas. Joshua has lived in Pittsburg since childhood. He graduated from USD 250 schools and Pittsburg State University, where he obtained a B.A. degree in Political Science. After completing his undergraduate degree, Joshua moved to Texas, where he earned his law degree from Baylor University. His studies there focused on business organizations, tax, and estate planning. Since that time, Joshua operated in his own law practice in Texas until returning to Pittsburg in 2015.

When asked about his new role at the community foundation, Joshua replied, “I am excited to be able to help advance the Community Foundation’s mission to encourage charitable giving benefiting the common good and quality of life for everyone in southeast Kansas. I look forward to working with donors and others in the community to help them understand how we can all help each other.”

The Community Foundation of Southeast Kansas is a local public charitable foundation which awarded $238,000 in Foundation grants in 2018 and has facilitated $12.9 million in donations since its inception in 2001. The Community Foundation serves the region by providing donors with a wide variety of charitable interests and encouraging charitable giving that addresses present and future needs in our area.

Parks said, “It is with amazement and gratitude to have seen the Foundation’s growth in recent years, from assets of $18 million in 2015 to $42 million in 2018.  Due to this growth, it is the right time to add a new position to assist in our mission to serve our community.  The Foundation Board of Directors and staff are pleased to welcome Joshua McCloud to our team”. Joshua will join Community Foundation staff Executive Director Kit Parks, Office Administrator Kim Lynch, and Program Coordinator Sherri Stephens.


The Community Foundation of Southeast Kansas Announces Spring 2019 Grant Recipients

Spring has been a busy time at the Community Foundation of Southeast Kansas (CFSEK)! Three funds have awarded 22 grants totaling $51,386.

Get Busy Livin' Foundation Grants

First up, we have the Get Busy Livin' Foundation, which awards grants up to $500 to area organizations for projects and activities that support and promote Youth Volunteerism. This spring, the GBL Foundation gave a total of $4,361 to 10 organizations.

Women's Giving Circle and Circle of Friends Grants

Also providing grants this spring, the Women’s Giving Circle and the Circle of Friends granted funds to 9 southeast Kansas organizations totaling $34,820. Part of the Rita J. Bicknell Women’s Health Fund, the mission of these giving circles is "to improve the health and well-being of women by supporting education, increasing awareness and sharing quality of life opportunities to benefit all women."

Elm Acres Foundation Grants

Finally, the Elm Acres Foundation, Inc., provided grants to three local organizations in the total amount of $12,205. The purpose of the Elm Acres Foundation is to provide support for at-risk youth in the southeast-Kansas community (Crawford, Cherokee and Labette counties), including supporting any entities that provide services for at-risk youth. 

Congratulations, Grant Recipients!

The Community Foundation of Southeast Kansas along with The Get Busy Livin’ Foundation, Women’s Giving Circle, Circle of Friends, and the Elm Acres Foundation would like to congratulate the 2019 grant recipients. For a complete list of organizations that received grants this spring from these funds, please visit the For Grantseekers section of our website.

About the Community Foundation

Established as the Pittsburg Area Community Foundation in 2001, the Community Foundation of Southeast Kansas is a public non-profit Foundation.  The Foundation serves the region by helping individuals, businesses and municipalities fulfill their charitable-giving goals in ways that benefit the common good and improve the quality of life. The Foundation inspires a passion for generosity in each community that we serve. If you would like to know more about the CFSEK, we invite you to explore our website in more detail or call (620) 231-8897.