YWCA Evanston/North Shore raised more money than any of 145 other groups participating in last month’s Allstate Foundation Purple Purse Challenge for domestic violence service programs.

The YWCA raised $311,000 and that qualified it for an additional $100,000 from the foundation

“This is a feat that we could not have accomplished without the support of so many,” YWCA Evanston/North Shore President/CEO Karen Singer said in a statement.

Singer says the campaign also raised awareness about domestic violence issues. “As a result,” Singer said, “calls to our 24-hour domestic violence crisis line and requests for emergency shelter have increased dramatically – a sign that more women can name their situation, feel the support of a community, and make a call with the belief that they deserve better.”

The money from the contest will go directly to the YWCA Evanston/North Shore’s free domestic violence services that include staffing of the crisis line 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, safe rooms in the domestic violence shelter for women and their children to stay, food for them to eat, and transportation vouchers for them to get to doctor’s appointments, jobs, job interviews and school.

Donations also provide trained counselors and financial education, and legal advocacy so that women don’t have to navigate the intimidating process of filing for a court order of protection alone.

“It’s been a great month, but we know our work here isn’t done!” said Ms. Singer. “The Purple Purse Challenge has helped us up our game in terms of generating conversation around, awareness of, and support for survivors of intimate partner violence. Now we need to keep it going!”

The Allstate Foundation offers the following tips to start a conversation with someone you suspect is in an abusive relationship:

  • Offer support without judgment or criticism.
  • Don’t be afraid to tell her that you’re concerned for her safety.
  • Avoid confrontations.
  • Encourage her to get help.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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