2016 MCFJC Foundation Honorees

At our Annual Benefit each year, the Montgomery County Family Justice Center Foundation recognizes those individuals, corporations and community partners who have helped to advance the movement to end domestic violence.

Community Partnership Award

Gabe Albornoz

Director, Montgomery County Department of Recreation

In 2014 Montgomery County Family Justice Center Foundation (MCFJCF) Director Resa Levy, Safe Start Director Dr. Mindy Thiel and Sheriff Darren Popkin met with Gabe Albornez to discuss forming a partnership with the Montgomery County Department of Recreation to start a Summer Camp for Kids program for children exposed to domestic violence who are enrolled in the Safe Start Counseling program. Gabe’s response was “you had me at hello,” and the partnership was formed. To date Gabe and his staff have allotted over 40 spaces for children to attend the Recreation Department’s Summer Fun Centers at NO cost to Safe Start families who otherwise would not be able to afford any kind of summer activity. This opportunity is truly a blessing for these families.

Outstanding Community Advocate Award

Cheryl Kravitz

President, CRK Communications

Cheryl Kravitz brilliantly uses her expertise in community relationships, motivational speaking, crisis communications, media relations and training, as well as her skills as a writer to help survivors of domestic abuse and violence. Cheryl’s numerous current and previous board positions, committees and activities include her service as a member of the Allstate Foundation/National Network to End Domestic Violence Advisory Board, the Montgomery County Hate Violence Committee, the Montgomery County Family Justice Center Foundation Board, the Domestic Violence Coordinating Council and the Maryland Network to End Domestic Violence. A survivor of domestic violence herself, Cheryl has given thousands of volunteer and professional hours working with women who are being victimized and empowering them to improve their lives.

Inspiring Leader Award

Tom Manger

Chief of Police, Montgomery County, MD

Even before the opening of the Family Justice Center (FJC), Chief Tom Manger was and continues to be a leading advocate in the efforts to create a successful partnership of his department with all other agency partners at the FJC. Under the Chief’s direction, the Montgomery County Police Department continues its strong partnership with the FJC. The Chief expanded his department’s Domestic Violence program, created a stand-alone Domestic Violence Section housed at the FJC with its own Sergeant and Corporal, and increased the number of assigned detectives from four to six. Under his leadership, the Department re-launched its 2951 Project— named for the MCPD Clearance Code that stands for Family Trouble—a proactive effort to identify victims of frequent domestic violence incidents through repeated 911 calls. The Department also changed internal protocols to include the Victim Contact Project (VCP) that requires patrol officers to refer all victims of domestic violence to the Family Justice Center.

Forerunner Award

Donna Rismiller, Esq.

Founder and Principal, Rismiller Law

Donna is one of the major leaders in bringing the issue of domestic violence to the forefront of Montgomery County’s overall efforts. In 2015 she created Domestic Violence Survivor Legal Services to help improve access to legal services for families impacted by domestic violence. She is the former Supervising Attorney for the Domestic Violence Assistance Project for Montgomery County and was a senior attorney with the House of Ruth for Maryland and the Women’s Law Center of Maryland. Donna was the recipient of the 2014 Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence Community Award for her legal services to domestic violence victims and the Daily Record’s 2011 Very Important Professional Award. She has worked with the Montgomery County Domestic Violence Coordinating Council to promote the Choose Respect Montgomery initiatives with teens and parents and the implementation of the Coaching Boys into Men program with local high schools. She was named among the Top 10 Family Lawyers by the National Academy of Family Law Attorney’s, 2014-2015, and was named one the Super Lawyers of Washington from 2011-2016.

Marilyn J. Praisner Founders Award

MCFJC Victim Assistants

No individual or group better exemplifies the profound role of the Montgomery County Family Justice Center and the intent of its founders of than the Victim Assistants that work there. They are literally the frontline and the touchstone through which victims first come into services. Victim Assistants continue working with clients as they transition from victim to survivor, including gathering all information, helping clients attain the initial Protective Order, developing an immediate safety plan, ensuring that each client meets with partner agencies, assisting the clients with paperwork, and discussing their children’s needs. They maintain this relationship as long as necessary and are critical to the entire process of the Family Justice Center.