RISE and Stand Strong, two local nonprofits providing services for sexual and intimate partner violence, have merged.
Jennifer Adams, the former executive director for Stand Strong, is the CEO for this new organization, whose name isn’t yet revealed.
She said the merger will help eliminate any confusion and better serve the community.
“What we have seen over the years is a lot of confusion in the community. Most specifically with clients who are seeking services and they don’t know which place to go to. But also law enforcement [is] not sure which organization to call. And, even donors. We’ve actually received checks that are made out to both of us and, you know, having to split $50 checks,” Adams said. “That’s the impetus behind the merger is to provide really seamless services to survivors. It’s just one organization that is serving the entire county for both sexual and intimate partner violence.”
Adams said the two organizations have some overlapping services including therapy and advocacy, but they’re also bringing complimentary services to the merger — specifically, the prevention program.
“Our prevention programs, we are so excited [about] bringing them together because we are going to have one of the largest programs in the state,” Adams said. “It’s just so important when we’re working so hard to provide services after the harm has been done. It’s just imperative that we’re doing work to stop it from happening in the first place.”
Some news and health organizations have referred to intimate partner violence during COVID-19 as a pandemic within a pandemic.
Adams said when the pandemic lockdowns began, the calls to the crisis line for both organizations quieted down significantly and calls to law enforcement increased.
“Clients were stuck. Right? They were stuck in their homes. They weren’t able to go to work, children weren't able to go to school, they weren’t able to get out and make confidential phone calls and the stress of the pandemic – people losing their jobs, people being stuck in their house. There really was a really sharp increase in the incidences of domestic violence,” Adams said.
As for the future of the organization, Adams said she referenced the merger that created RISE in 2013.
“It is really probably a solid year before everything really gets settled, all the programs get integrated and all the new policies and procedures and we really get running like a fine oiled machine,” Adams said.