Willow Domestic Violence Center merges with RESOLVE

Willow Domestic Violence Center has merged with RESOLVE of Greater Rochester Inc. to expand staff clinical expertise and mental health services within Willow. A longtime collaborator with Willow, RESOLVE’s experience providing therapeutic support since 1998 will complement the continuum of services that Willow has provided to survivors of domestic abuse for more than four decades.

Willow is the only state-certified provider of residential and non-residential domestic violence services in Monroe County and is known as the hub and the resource for those experiencing domestic violence and intimate partner violence in the Finger Lakes region. Willow provides free and confidential services including a 24/7 hotline, emergency shelter, counseling, legal services, court accompaniment, mobile advocacy, prevention education and training.

“Survivors often face challenges on their journey to safety and their needs are unique and varied, especially with increased demand while recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Willow President and CEO Meaghan de Chateauvieux in a statement. “This merger is a strategic partnership to ensure Willow’s community response continues to be agile, seamless and comprehensive while honoring the legacy and expertise of RESOLVE.”

The merger will seek to reduce the impact of trauma and strengthen the resilience of survivors.

“Our coming together will create a seamless survivor experience for those in the midst of a crisis and those further along in their healing journey,” said Mary Whittier, interim CEO for RESOLVE.

All RESOLVE team members have been offered positions within the Willow staffing infrastructure, including counseling, prevention and administrative support. Willow will assume RESOLVE’s current eastside counseling space in Penfield, adding to Willow’s central urban locations.

RESOLVE board member and treasurer Kristin Hughes will serve as a Willow board member. Whittier will serve as a consultant during the transition of the RESOLVE team through Aug. 1.

The partnership was made possible by the United Way of Greater Rochester Inc. Synergy Fund, which lends technical assistance and reorganizational support for nonprofit mergers and strategic affiliations.

“This is an example of the power of United Way’s Synergy Fund to support nonprofits in finding alignment and exploring opportunities to strengthen services and fulfill their core mission,” said United Way President and CEO Jaime Saunders. “This affiliation of Willow Domestic Violence Center and RESOLVE builds on the strengths of each organization to best serve survivors of intimate partner violence by providing a full continuum of services and support that empowers survivors and provides much-needed safety.”

The merger is the second time Willow has taken advantage of the Synergy Fund, following the creation of Deaf IGNITE at Willow last August, which integrated specialized services for deaf survivors under Willow’s umbrella of programs.

Willow was founded in 1979, while RESOLVE was founded in 1998.

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Excellus provides funding to domestic violence organizations

Excellus BlueCross BlueShield will provide $50,000 in funding to domestic violence prevention organizations across Upstate New York as part of its response to COVID-19. In Rochester, funding will be provided to RESOLVE of Greater Rochester and Willow Domestic Violence Center.

The health plan has committed to spending more than $162 million to help its members and communities fight the pandemic, officials noted.

“With the numbers of people that continue to get sick, the growing unemployment rate and an increase in anxiety and financial stress, this pandemic has created the perfect storm for an exacerbated domestic violence crisis,” said Sudha Bakshi M.D., Excellus BCBS medical director. “Helping to put an end to domestic violence and removing barriers for those in need is our main objective with this funding.”

Citing data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Excellus BCBS officials noted that one in three women and one in four men in the U.S. have experienced violence from a partner in their lifetime. Victims of domestic violence face more social isolation in general, which is exacerbated by the pandemic.

Officials said that with the multitude of entities closed to the public during COVID-19 it is important for those in high-risk situations to know that courts, many domestic violence organizations, phone hotlines and shelters are available to help.

[email protected] / 585-653-4021
Follow Velvet Spicer on Twitter: @Velvet_Spicer