Some great news from Courage Connection, one of our local organizations that is in danger as our state budget hangs in the balance. Gotta love the power of community.

Courage Connection Grateful for our Caring Community

When the state of Illinois failed to pay on a contract for over $300,000 to serve families who have suffered from domestic violence in Champaign County, Courage Connection was in danger of closing.  At risk was a legacy of support, shelter and service: 24 hour hotline, emergency shelter, counseling, court advocacy, transitional housing, job readiness programs, parenting education, children’s programs, safety planning, and more.

In ten short weeks, Courage Connection exceeded its goal of $350,000 and raised a total of $390,991.  Hundreds of donations from individuals, faith-based organizations, and businesses allowed the agency to continue serving victims and survivors of domestic violence.

When faced with the possibility of closing the nation’s oldest domestic violence agency, supporters Helen Satterthwaite, Dorothy Bell and the Junior League of Champaign Urbana rallied their friends and colleagues.

Current and former board members of Courage Connection, along with the Junior League of Champaign Urbana issued a $50,000 Match for Courage challenge to close the gap in the final days of the campaign.  President of Junior League of Champaign-Urbana, Jenette Jurczyk, said, “It was such an honor to work with Courage Connection and the Match for Courage Campaign.  Junior League has a mission to improve communities by building and supporting organizations that work towards the safety and stability of women and children.  The crisis faced by Courage Connection brought the women of Junior League of Champaign-Urbana together, as it brought so many in our community together in solidarity with a common goal of keeping their doors open.  We support the work that Courage Connection does now and will continue to do for survivors of domestic violence across our greater community.”

The Match for Courage challenge was met by a group called The $5,000 Project, created by Helen Satterthwaite and Dorothy Bell, to save Courage Connection.  Helen and Dorothy were joined by Naomi Jakobsson, Holly Jordan, and Anna Merritt, in the group effort to solicit support for the agency.

Development Director, Megan Wolf said, “We are forever grateful to The $5,000 Project, the Junior League, and our board for their support as we faced this crisis.  We live in a wonderful, caring community.  To anyone who made a donation, or said a kind word on our behalf, thank you.  Thank you for helping the people in your community that needed you.  Thank you for saving lives of women you have never met and changing the future for their children.”

Fundraising efforts covered expenses incurred in fiscal year 2017 which closed on June 30th.  With the budget crisis still looming overhead, the agency’s challenges are not yet behind them, but Executive Director Isak Griffiths is hopeful for the future of Courage Connection, “We knew that if we made it through this crisis, we would look different when we came out the other end.  We are currently reorganizing and making decisions about our future that are focused on the client’s best interest; research-based client success; and trends in funding.  We might be smaller, but we will also be stronger and more stable.”   

President Michael Ujcich commented, “I have been truly overcome by the generosity and support our community has offered during our time of crisis of funding. From small dollar collections to large check donations, each one has helped keep our services going, seamless in the eyes our clients. As we extend our gratitude via phone calls and notes, it is truly humbling to know the love found in our community.”