Washington domestic violence center closes

As the Reveal team kicks into high gear in preparation for the upcoming Valentine's Day event, we can't help but be affected by a recent story in the Washington Post  article about a non-profit domestic violence group that closed its doors today. According to the story, a Northwest Washington non-profit - which has provided legal and counseling services to domestic violence survivors since 1997 - will be closing its doors today and are in a rush to find services for its existing clients. The organization, called Washington Empowered Against Violence (WEAVE) cited financial restraints in a difficult economic environment. Others say that they mismanaged their funds.

According to the website, WEAVE provided services to some 350 people last year, and its annual budget is a little more than $1 million.

 This is from the WP article:

According to a financial statement, the agency had about $250,000, about a two-month reserve, in the bank at the close of the fiscal year Sept. 30.

The D.C. Office of Victim Services recently pulled a $100,000 grant and the D.C. Bar Foundation rescinded a $170,000 grant because of concerns that funds were not used for the designated purposes, D.C. officials said.

Melissa Hook, head of the Office of Victim Services, said her office is awaiting documentation from WEAVE about how funds were dispensed.

“There were questions raised about the billing process,” she said. “We are withholding judgment until we see what develops.”

So, a lot of people are quoted as saying that it wasn't due to someone stealing the money; rather, it was a mixutre of a bad economy and inexperience in dealing with money.

As strong advocates for supporting the end to domestic violence, we're concerned about this situation. Money concerns at non-profits are not a new thing. We know this is a controversial situation - what exactly happened, how did they mismanage the company, was there actually something going on inside. However, we think the focus should be more on the people who are hurt the most - the existing clients. We sincerely hope that these clients will find a new place of security where they can find the legal and counseling advice that they need to live fuller lives and better integrate.