Founded in 2007, Seacoast Women’s Giving Circle (SWGC) annually examines a community issue before a rigorous grant-making process, an approach that recently resulted in a $15,000 competitive award for The Chase Home.
According to Kirsten Mahoney, who co-chairs SWGC with Kathleen MacLeod, several “compelling factors” led the group to fund Chase Home in 2020.
“100% of its clients have been affected by Adverse Childhood Experiences [ACEs] and trauma, which was our focus this funding cycle,” she said. “Chase Home has a proven track record of success in mitigating the experience of trauma by building resilience and protective factors. It also prevents the entrance of youth into the Juvenile Justice system.”
According to MacLeod, Chase Home presented a project that particularly resonated with SWGC members.
“Chase Home discussed in great detail how it planned to embed trauma-informed training into its systems and organizational culture across all programming,” she said. “This training is also critical for The Chase Home to gain accreditation in compliance with 2018’s Family Preservation Act. The COVID-19 crisis makes this training even more important.”
Expressing gratitude for SWGC’s investment, Meme Wheeler, executive director of Chase Home, said the award will “literally transform how [they] operate.”
“This marks the beginning of an 18-month process in which every staff member–clinical and administrative–will receive very high-level trauma-informed training,” she said. “This is going to be best-in-class training and enhance every aspect of our service delivery model.”
Chair of SWGC’s GIVE committee, Erika Taylor said this year’s focus, Trauma due to Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), was a natural follow-up to last year’s topic of Substance Use Disorder.
“Based on our research, we have learned that childhood trauma has a lasting impact that dramatically increases the likelihood of future physical and mental health issues,” she said. “Based on what Chase Home presented to us, we felt they would make a big impact in addressing that topic.”
Wheeler added, “This is an incredible honor and opportunity, and at-risk youth are the big winners.”
Since its inception, SWGC has distributed more than $700,000 to local nonprofits. New members are welcome to join at any time with a contribution to their collective gift. To learn more about SWGC, visit seacoastwomengive.org.
Founded in 1877, Chase Home serves more than 140 at-risk youth annually statewide through prevention, early intervention, residential and community-based programs. Some youth are served in the community while others live at Chase Home.
To learn more about The Chase Home, visit chasehome.org.