The Fresh Start for Survivors of Abuse Fund is a field of interest fund of the Collier Community Foundation. The Community Foundation has exclusive legal control over the contributed assets and all donations are tax-deductible.  The Fresh Start fund is administered by the Community Foundation of Collier County and its assets are invested and managed by the Community Foundation of Collier County.

A committee of volunteers reviews grant applications submitted by select referring agencies.   When the established criteria are met, the committee makes a recommendation to the Community Foundation that funds be granted to the agency for the purposes described in the application.

The committee is not part of the Collier County Shelter for Abused Women and Children.  However, many of the women and families helped are referred by the Shelter.  Other referral agencies include Catholic Charities, Project Help, Salvation Army and St. Matthew’s House.

Committee members interview each applicant individually.  The women who receive grants have jobs and have already taken the first steps to getting away, and staying away, from an abusive situation.

How and Why Fresh Start Came to Be

A group of local women who had volunteered for many years assisting abused women, noticed a recurring problem:  In many cases, a woman who took the giant step to leave a potentially life-threatening situation–often not only to protect herself, but her children as well–might seek and find shelter with friends or the Shelter for Abused Women.  As she prepared to start a new chapter in her life free of her abuser, however, she was often unable to survive on her own because she lacked the financial support to live independently. Although she may have had a job, she rarely had the extra income or savings to pay expenses necessary to live on her own without the financial contributions from her abuser.  Faced with the overwhelming impact of paying rental deposits, utility hook-ups, child-care, vocational training or acquiring an automobile, she would often give up and go back to her abuser.

The founders of Fresh Start identified a need to provide financial assistance that was not addressed by any other agency.  In 1995, they established the Fresh Start for Survivors of Abuse Fund of the Community Foundation of Collier County and formed a committee to advise the Foundation in dispersing  much-needed funds to help these women leave their abuser and make a “fresh start”.

The fund relies on donations from individuals and organizations. Your generosity is greatly appreciated.  Thank you for helping us make a difference.

For more information, please send us a message from our Contact Page or call The Community Foundation of Collier County, 239-649-5000.