WHO WE ARE
The LIFT Alliance is a structured partnership between SafePlace and Austin Children’s Shelter, two organizations that serve the survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse.
In early 2011, faced with decreasing government funding, an uncertain climate for philanthropy, and shifting state priorities and processes, the leadership of SafePlace and ACS began talking about the risks, opportunities, and benefits of forming an alliance.
At the same time, long-term research studies were proving what we knew from decades or working with survivors: domestic violence and child abuse often happen in the same families and are highly associated with the same risk factors. (Minnesota Center Against Violence and Abuse)
The two agencies spent the next year investigating the implications of an alliance to their programs, budgets, bylaws, licenses and existing agreements. In 2012, LIFT: An Alliance to End Abuse applied for independent 501(c)(3) status, and in January 2013 began to provide coordinated planning, HR, finance, operations, development, and other administrative functions to both organizations.
Austin Children’s Shelter and SafePlace maintain their independent statuses, names, and licenses. These combined “back-office” functions allow both organizations to provide better services and opportunities to their clients, while using scarce resources more efficiently.
It also allows us to use the power of our combined voices to work to end abuse. We are united in our belief that no one deserves to be abused, whether emotionally, physically, or sexually, and we advocate for policies and processes that put survivors first. Intimate abuse costs hundreds of lives and damages thousands of others every year. It’s time to work together to stop it.
Why This Makes Sense for Our Clients
The children and adults we serve have faced abuse that most of us can never imagine, and they need time and space to recover. We know from decades of working with survivors how to help our clients heal and build successful lives. As we plan programs and services together, we are able to do more for individual clients than either agency could accomplish alone, giving them access to services that they wouldn’t otherwise have.
Long-term research studies have shown us the connection between child abuse, domestic violence, and sexual assault. Working together, we are developing programs and systems with the purpose to end abuse, through community partnerships, education, training, and advocacy.
Our first project together is the expansion of the George M. Kozmetsky Charter School. Located on the SafePlace campus, the school has served children in grades K-8 staying in shelter or supportive housing with their custodial parent. In September 2012, the school expanded to K-12 and welcomed the students from Austin Children’s Shelter. With teachers who receive ongoing training in working with survivors of trauma, the school offers the children and teens in our care a supportive environment and an individualized course of study.
Why This Makes Sense for Our Supporters
LIFT: An Alliance to End Abuse has allowed SafePlace and Austin Children’s Shelter to allocate more dollars to direct care. By spending less on administrative functions and combining benefits packages and payroll systems, we have reduced the overhead of the two partner organizations by more than $300,000 in 2013.