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September 29, 2009

As we approach October, Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the NNEDV today announced that it has recognized four exceptional individuals and organizations for making a difference in the movement against domestic violence. 

U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and U.S. Representative Ted Poe (R-TX-2) accepted NNEDV’s Visionary Leadership Award.  Both have been unwavering champions for ending domestic abuse.   

“It was truly an honor to receive this award, especially during the week of the fifteenth anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act.  NNEDV and its state counterparts have worked tirelessly to see that the promise of VAWA is realized in communities all across this country -- from the biggest cities to the smallest towns.  I am very proud of all that has been accomplished in my home state of Vermont by people like Karen Tronsgard-Scott, Director of the Vermont Network Against Domestic and Sexual Violence,” said Sen. Leahy.  “This award is a symbolic reminder of all that we have accomplished, but it also reminds us of the work still left to do in protecting women and families from the threat of violence and abuse.” 

Rep. Poe said, “It is an honor to accept this award. Domestic violence is a public health issue.  NNEDV is doing meaningful work to serve victims of domestic violence and give them an amplified voice.  The National Network is helping to expose violence, support survivors, and change the culture of our communities for the better.” 

NNEDV’s Corporate Stewardship Award was presented to The Allstate Foundation for its long-standing commitment to ending abuse through the economic empowerment of survivors.  Its Economics Against Abuse program and partnership with NNEDV have helped countless survivors live safer lives.   

Accepting the award was Cynthia Young, president of Encompass Insurance, a $3-billion division of Allstate Insurance Co. 

“NNEDV is a premiere national organization whose primary goal is to end domestic violence and help victims take control of their lives and their future,” she said.  “The Allstate Foundation shares in that goal and we are committed to supporting their efforts by providing financial education, job training and education assistance.  We are pleased to partner with NNEDV on a number of programs to advance this important work and honored to be recognized with this award.” 

Lynda Carter, best known for playing the title role in the TV series “Wonder Woman,” announced the recipient of NNEDV’s Spirit of Advocacy Award. It went to Sisters Acquiring Financial Empowerment (SAFE), a local, volunteer-based program in Detroit, Mich.  SAFE provides innovative solutions to assist survivors of domestic violence through specialized training focused on gaining or building the skills needed to reenter the workforce, obtain higher paying positions and manage their finances to break the cycle of economic abuse.   

“My experience as a survivor of domestic violence and as a Human Resource Executive is what inspired the need for SAFE. Although I show no readily visible signs of scarring, I use my personal victory over circumstances to help inspire others into action,” said Kalyn Risker, SAFE’s executive director.   

Sue Else, NNEDV’s president said, “We congratulate and thank Sisters Acquiring Financial Empowerment, The Allstate Foundation, Senator Leahy, and Congressman Poe for their invaluable service to survivors of domestic violence and their allies.  These outstanding honorees are working for a life-saving cause. They are offering help and hope to survivors of abuse and their children.” 

The awards were presented as part of NNEDV’s “Take A Stand” Gala on Sept. 17 at the Mandarin Oriental in Washington, D.C. Denise Brown, co-founder and president of the Nicole Brown Foundation, served as the master of ceremonies.  There were musical performances by Lynda Carter and Grammy Award-winning vocalist Patti Austin. 

Special guests in attendance included U.S. Rep. Donna Edwards (D-MD-4), NNEDV's co-founder and first executive director; Maryland Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown; Academy Award-winning, Golden Globe Award-winning actress Mira Sorvino; and Grammy-nominated vocalist Raheem DeVaughn.