Saturday, 25 May 2024

Domestic violence shelter effort receives $100,000 donation

LAKE COUNTY – A local effort to raise funds to build a new domestic violence shelter has received a major donation of $100,000.

The effort to build Freedom House, spearheaded by Lake Family Resource Center, received the $100,000 check from the Lake County Foundation in October, said the center's executive director, Gloria Flaherty.

She called the donation “a dream come true.”

Lake County Foundation Board members Dr. Bob Gardner, Randy Djernes, Katherine Williams and Darlene Hamm facilitated the donation, which came from the Northfield, Illinois-based Fred B. Snite Foundation, said Flaherty.

Earlier this year, the Lake County Foundation had reported receiving a $25,000 donation from the Snite Foundation for their work in the community, as Lake County News has reported.

The funds are meant to support the operations of the domestic violence shelter program and assist with the construction or purchase of a new shelter facility, Flaherty explained.

Lake County Foundation Executive Director Randy Djernes said the Snite Foundation donated the money to them because they were planning to build a local domestic violence shelter.

“As it turned out, $100,000 wasn't enough,” said Djernes.

So the Lake County Foundation decided to partner with the Lake Family Resource Center, whose effort already was under way.

The donation to Freedom House is among the larger ones offered by the Snite Foundation in recent years, based on its reports to the Internal Revenue Services, obtained by Lake County News. Many of their donations are in the $10,000 and $25,000 range. The Snite Foundation's 2007 tax documents indicated an investment portfolio valued at more than $19.1 million and total assets of $15.7 million.

Flaherty said Lake Family Resource Center has raised $1.3 million of the $2.6 million needed to construct Freedom House, a 14- to 25- bed facility which the center plans to build on 1.4 acres on the corner of Live Oak Drive and Highway 29 in Kelseyville.

Of that $1.3 million, $175,000 has come from the county, $100,000 from the Lake County Foundation and the rest from private donations.

The largest portion of the money, $1 million, is a 10-year forgivable loan that the California Department of Housing and Community Development, through the Emergency Housing Assistance Program, awarded to Lake Family Resource Center this past May, as Lake County News has reported.

Unfortunately, that $1 million could now be in jeopardy, since the Emergency Housing Assistance Program is among those impacted by the state's recent halt of projects due to cash flow issues, said Flaherty.

The timeline for raising the rest of the money to construct the shelter depends on the economy and what the state does, Flaherty added.

The economic downturn is offering other opportunities, which Flaherty, said includes exploring the purchase of a current facility for less than it would cost to build a new one.

Whether they end up buying an existing building and renovating it or building something new, it will be good for the local economy, said Flaherty.

Lake Family Resource Center's temporary shelter currently is full, she said.

At one point, the occupancy was down to five residents, but now they're expecting eight to nine people over the holidays.

The end-of-year holidays usually see fewer people at the shelters, because people try to hang on for the children, said Flaherty. Afterward, the local shelter usually sees an upsurge.

She said it's too early to attribute current occupancy rates to the strains the economy puts on families, but she added that historically hard economic times like this one have seen increases in the number of people at domestic violence shelters.

“We have certainly seen an upturn in the number of people we're providing services to over the last year,” she said.

The next fundraiser event for Freedom House will be the Wine and Chocolate event on Feb. 14, 2009, said Flaherty. This year they'll add olive oil tasting to the event. “We're kind of excited to add that to our repertoire.”

For more information about how you can help the Freedom House shelter effort, call the Lake Family Resource Center at 262-1611 or visit them online at

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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