Dallas, Texas – (April 30, 2021) – In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, a devastating increase in domestic violence surged across the United States. This pandemic within a pandemic stretched domestic violence shelters to the limits with women and children experiencing unspeakable abuse. In an effort to prevent and end domestic violence exacerbated by COVID-19—and to recognize National Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Month—The Mary Kay FoundationSM awarded $25,000 to four North Texas domestic violence shelters: Hope's Door New Beginning Center, Genesis Women's Shelter & Support, Denton County Friends of the Family and The Family Place.
As a longtime partner of North Texas domestic violence organizations, the Foundation awarded the grants totaling $100,000 to support domestic violence frontline workers – the first responders for women and children. While each shelter experienced different rates of increased need for services, the National Commission on COVID-19 and Criminal Justice reported that domestic violence incidents increased by 8.1% overall across the U.S. after pandemic lockdown orders.
“A pandemic within a pandemic – that is the only way to describe the devastating and staggering increase in domestic violence this past year. Referrals to our shelter increased by 60% in 2020 and our legal services saw an increase of 109%,” said Toni Johnson-Simpson, Executive Director for Denton County Friends of the Family. “It is difficult to put into words the truly desperate and heartbreaking crisis our clients are in when they walk through our doors. For so many, they have sacrificed everything to make it here and may have literally put their lives on the line to get help for themselves and their children.”
The COVID-19 pandemic created a wide-ranging host of challenges for domestic violence shelters in the U.S. and around the world. It forced organizations to pivot services while navigating the rapidly changing situation from country to country. For all shelters regardless of location, it required diligently working to devise organization-wide protocols to stay open and ready to serve women and children in need.
“Now more than ever, the domestic violence shelters in our community need our support during this unprecedented and challenging time in history,” said Anne Crews, Vice President of Public Affairs at Mary Kay Inc. and a Board Member of The Mary Kay FoundationSM. “It is imperative to support the first responders who are working tirelessly to help survivors and families during this ongoing pandemic.”
In an effort to expand a global commitment to eradicate gender-based domestic violence, Mary Kay Inc. and The Mary Kay FoundationSM joined forces with the United Nations Trust Fund to End Violence against Women (UN Trust Fund) and CARE USA, a humanitarian global leader. UN Women has continued to raise awareness of the alarming increase of violence against women during COVID-19 and its lasting consequences.
Since 2000, 3,300 organizations advocating for eradicating gender-based violence have received grants from The Mary Kay Foundation, totaling over $58 million. The Mary Kay Foundation has supported over six million women and girls seeking shelter and services free from abuse. For more information, visit marykayfoundation.org.
About The Mary Kay FoundationSM
Guided by Mary Kay Ash’s dream to enrich the lives of women everywhere, The Mary Kay FoundationSM raises and distributes funds to invest in breakthrough cancer research to find a cure for women-related cancers and ending domestic violence against women. Since 1996, The Mary Kay FoundationSM has contributed more than $80 million to organizations aligned with its two-fold mission. In addition, the Foundation supports awareness initiatives, community outreach programs, and advocates for legislation to ensure women are healthy and safe. Together, we can make the world better for women. To learn more about how to educate, advocate, volunteer and donate, and join life-saving work to support and empower women, visit marykayfoundation.org, find us on Facebook and Instagram, or follow us on Twitter.