The MCFJC Foundation has six ongoing initiatives:
Our Lawyers Initiative is the Foundation’s effort to increase awareness, within the legal community, about the work of the MCFJC and MCFJC Foundation. This is accomplished through:
- Speaking engagements at bar association events
- Talking with various members of the legal system
- Presenting informative materials at the County’s Law Day
- Direct mailings
- Free trainings on protective orders and immigration issues
We are currently seeking additional attorneys with an interest in providing some pro bono legal services to help FJC clients, in a confidential setting, in the filing of their initial Protective Orders, immigrant issues, and other legal matters.
Financial literacy is a key to self-sufficiency. Self-sufficiency is a key to independent thinking. Independence is a critical piece in providing a better chance for a domestic violence victim to leave – and not return – to an abusive relationship.
The MCFJC Foundation, aware that victims of domestic violence are a vulnerable population who are oftentimes financially underserved and underbanked, is working with a local financial institution on a special project to help FJC clients (many of whom have never had access to any money of their own!) develop financial literacy and financial capacity.
The goal is to help the client become totally financial fit. Elements of the on-going program include both general understandings as well as specific “how to’s”:
- Why financial independence is critical
- How financial independence helps break the intergenerational cycle of violence
- How do I learn how to budget?
- Interactive discussions and Q & A events for parents and middle and high school students around the issue of financial literacy
- Selecting a bank or credit union that will be best for you
- How to open an account
- Establishing your own credit (or credit repair!
- Saving – no matter how small!
- Keeping your banking information safe
The MCFJC Foundation partners with dozens of local businesses that offer in-kind services and financial support. Among them:
- Verizon Wireless Foundation funded the technical equipment for the Center’s closed circuit television system that enables clients to communicate with a judge through video conferencing to arrange for an initial temporary restraining order without leaving the Center.
- GEICO Philanthropic and Kaiser Permanente provided funds for the Center’s comfortable, warm, and home-like furnishings, creating a welcoming family environment.
- Panera Bread’s “Doughnation” project provides weekly fresh breads and pastries not otherwise sold, providing heartwarming quality food to those most in need.
- In-kind donations of gift certificates or vouchers to be used for emergency food or clothing.
Foundation board members and other interested volunteers have outreached to the community and partnered with other non-profits such as:
- Women Who Care Ministries provides snacks and drinks for the Center’s pantry so clients and their children can enjoy them when they’re at the FJC, without having to leave the building.
- American Sewing Guild sews stuffed animals for the children who come to the Center as well as window treatments that create a home-like setting.
- Montgomery County Commission for Women donated hundreds of new books to the Center’s children’s library.
- Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Eta Pi Zeta Chapter donates 100 Build-a-Bears annually.
- Arts on the Block created the signature mosaics in the reception area of the FJC.
- Dozens of area artists and photographers donated their original works hanging throughout the Center to brighten everyone’s day.
Specific skill sets and advanced education enhance the ability for victims of domestic violence to be financially self-sufficient. Montgomery College has partnered with MCFJC Foundation to:
- Provide scholarship funds so they can gain technical skills or reach higher educational levels.
- Provide Guidance Counselors to work directly with Family Justice Center clients attending the college.
- Outreach to young men through the Coaching Boys to Men Program.
The Foundation’s Youth Initiative activities consider and support all aspects of a childs’ well-being with programs and projects that will enhance the child’s well being and sense of security during a very difficult time. Programs include:
- Through the County’s ‘Safe Start” program the Foundation funds opportunities for dozens of children to have the opportunity for self expression through Art and Music Therapy.
- In partnership with Montgomery College, children are invited – free of charge – to attend age appropriate music and theater performance opportunities at the College.
- Joint efforts with the Montgomery County Department of Recreation provide for more than thirty children to attend Summer Day Camp.
- Verizon funds the our critically important “Teen Talk” project administered through Safe Start.
- Through an enormous statewide joint collaborative project with University of Maryland, Safe Start and Verizon, the Foundation worked with Safe Start to develop a specialized training for social workers, school counselors, youth group leaders, and clergy to learn how to identify and help children who have been a witness to domestic violence. Thousands have now been trained and there are more trainings scheduled.
- Two additional projects, directed specifically towards Middle and High School students, “Choose Respect – Montgomery,” and “Stop the bully” – both supported through Verizon grants, have educated, informed and helped thousands of young people about the perils of bullying as well as how to develop healthy relationships.
- The Foundation supports “Coaching Boys Into Men” (CBIM) a project of the Domestic Violence Coordinating Council (DVCC), This project is led by high school football coaches who work with their team players to help these men develop strong and healthy relationships based on self respect and positive behavior models.