Bank of America’s ‘Basic Needs’ grant is returning survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and other crimes to safety.
TACOMA, WA—Tacoma Community House (TCH), a multi-service agency that has aided immigrants, refugees, and low-income South Sound residents since 1910, has been awarded a $75,000 grant from Bank of America to fund the agency’s Client Advocacy/Victims of Crime program.
Tacoma Community House’s Advocacy program is comprised of a four-person team of legal advocates who help victims of crime develop a safety plan, access resources, file a police report (if they choose), and navigate the court system—all at no charge.
Most cases involve domestic violence and sexual assault crimes, but they also address human trafficking, robbery, fraud, kidnapping, hate crimes, and homicide cases. Any one of these situations would be difficult for the “average” American; however, most of those seeking services at TCH live in poverty, are undocumented, or do not speak English. Each of the team’s advocates speak at least two languages to bridge this gap.
Bank of America “Shows Up”
On October 18, 2016, TCH Executive Director Liz Dunbar attended Bank of America’s Basic Needs Grantee Breakfast expecting to receive a check for the amount the agency applied for: a generous $25,000.
Dunbar and team were floored when they received triple that amount.
Tacoma Community House is one of 11 organizations in the Puget Sound region to receive the Basic Needs award. Bank of America made the decision to fund fewer organizations with larger grants than they have in the past in order to work more closely with each grantee. Moreover, Bank of America wanted to develop of a “cohort” of grantees that could come together to address issues of mutual concern across the Puget Sound. As Kim Vu, Senior Vice President and Seattle Market Manager for BoA said, “Bank of America wants to show up.”
This past year, the Client Advocacy program managed 291 cases and relies on generous funders such as Bank of America to keep the program afloat. TCH is honored by Bank of America’s investment in our work—not only in helping crime victims regain a sense of safety and normalcy, but helping them become emotionally healthy enough to pursue other opportunities (careers, continuing education, legal citizenship) that will allow them to lead happier and more self-sufficient lives.