In the campaign to open Delaware County's first shelter for victims of domestic violence, individual donors are making a big difference.
Turning Point, a Marion-based nonprofit, in early 2015 announced plans to renovate existing buildings at the former site of the Children's Home of Delaware, on the city's north side, into living units for people fleeing domestic violence. The project is expected to cost about $2.3 million.
Paula Roller, executive director of Turning Point, said by last week the group had raised about $1.1 million for the renovations. She said her group's goal is to open the shelter sometime this fall.
"It is, to be honest, dependent on the fundraising ... but we're feeling good about it," she said.
Roller said the majority of funding donated so far has come from individuals, not corporations or foundations.
"That's kind of upside down to how things usually go," she said.
Roller credited groups such as the United Way of Delaware County, the Women's Leadership Network and area law-enforcement agencies with building enthusiasm for the project and inspiring individual donations to the cause.
Another group laying the groundwork for the shelter is Women Giving Together, a charitable group affiliated with the Delaware County Foundation.
Women Giving Together announced last week it will launch its "Power of 100" campaign in February to benefit Turning Point's project. The charitable group seeks to raise donations of $100 from 100 individuals, which it will match in order to put at least $20,000 toward the new shelter.
Sue Mahler, a Genoa Township resident and co-founder of Women Giving Together, said learning more about Turning Point's project inspired group members to create the special campaign.
"I think this hits so close to home, being the (most-populous) county in Ohio without a domestic violence shelter," she said.
Paula Tarpey, an Orange Township resident and member of the group, said fundraisers will use email, social media and other networking tools to reach out to potential donors. She said the near-universal nature of the problem of domestic violence has generated enthusiasm for this campaign to combat it.
"Domestic violence has touched almost every one of us," she said.
Roller said Women Giving Together is playing a key role in making the planned shelter a reality.
"They've been great to us," she said. "We're really thrilled to have their help."
Mahler said Women Giving Together has raised more than $85,000 for local charitable causes since the group was established six years ago. The group, which has about two dozen members and is open to more, meets about five times per year to vet and facilitate charitable campaigns.
"The more people we have for this group, the more good we can do for Delaware County residents," Mahler said.
While most of the project's funding so far has come from donations solicited from individuals, Roller said her agency has multiple outstanding requests to corporate donors and foundations. She said positive results from those requests could make a fall opening date more likely.
Residents interested in learning more about Women Giving Together can email firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Delaware County Foundation at (614) 764-2332.
Additional information on Turning Point's proposed shelter is available at http://turningpoint6.org/delaware-shelter.