The Northwest Arkansas Women’s Shelter (NWAWS) is facing a serious and potentially devastating financial crisis. Over the last 14 months, a completely new leadership team has looked into all facets of the organization’s operations.
During this same time, new members of the Board began their own review. Despite many coming into the review with a pre-conceived idea that cutting expenses was the solution, both groups concluded that NWAWS is facing a revenue problem—one it has been facing for years. Simply put, our expenses—which increased to meet growing demand for services—outstripped our ability to generate revenue.
There are many reasons for this shortfall. Most are results of decisions and actions or inaction that cannot be changed. One could look at early decisions and say we should have never done x or y, but we did. Looking at the circumstances surrounding those decisions, one can only conclude that the decision makers acted in the best interest of the organization with the information available to them at the time.
Well-intentioned decisions do not always produce well-intentioned results.
The cumulative consequences of those decisions is that we are now strapped for cash, poor in assets, and yet continually receiving requests for service. The unfortunate reality is that the demand for our services has never been so great. However, neither have resources needed to support those services been in such short supply.
Frankly, this means without a significant cash infusion, shelter operations will cease in July 2016. For the first time in nearly thirty years, Benton County will be without an organization specifically designed to address the needs of victims of domestic abuse and their children. Hundreds of moms or dads and their children will not have access to safe shelter. Thousands of individuals will not receive help through our crisis hotline. Untold thousands will not be exposed to messages about safe dating, healthy relationships, and how to recognize the ‘red flags’ of abusive relationships.
This does not have to be our fate. Over the past year we have analyzed our challenges, developed a comprehensive three-year development plan, revitalized our advocacy program with an emphasis on providing services in the community, and identified two additional areas requiring further study: our facility needs and our brand. While changes in these two areas might be forthcoming, they will not occur quickly because our clients and the community can ill-afford for us to make more hasty decisions. Our clients rely on our services to reach their potential, and we cannot reach ours without the community’s support.
What can you do to help?
You can become a donor – a one-time or a sustaining donor (Builder of Hope) – by clicking here and making a contribution. You may also write a check and mail it to us at P.O. Box 1059, Rogers, AR 72757.
If you are interested in making a significant donation to the shelter and its future, we would be delighted to meet with you and whomever else you would like to include in those discussions.
You can become our ambassador by encouraging organizations to invite us to share about the dynamics and pervasiveness of domestic abuse/violence and how we can all make a difference in changing lives. You can introduce us to other individuals, organizations, businesses, and community or faith groups that might want to know about or get involved with us and learn how we provide services to victims, their children, and the community.
You can donate to and shop at the Northwest Arkansas Women’s Shelter Thrift Store located at 1622 S 8th St in Rogers (in the Southgate Shopping Center). Sales from the thrift store generate about 20% of the gross revenue needed to sustain organizational operations. Plus clients always get to shop for items they may need at no cost to their family.
You can follow us on social media, share our content, and encourage others in your network to do the same.
What we need is prompt action and then long-term sustaining support and involvement.
What will you do to take action and join us?