Sondra Miller has been energized by the #MeToo movement that has given countless sexual victims the confidence to come forward and speak out about their horrific experiences. It’s also created a lot of work at Cleveland Rape Crisis Center, work that she and her team at the nonprofit are driven to get done.
“The #MeToo movement that started last fall and has dramatically increased the number of people asking for our support and services,” says Miller, president and CEO at CRCC.
“As the leader of the organization, I’m challenged to make sure we have all the people and resources we need to be able to respond to those calls. We’re doing the best we can so far. We’ve been able to keep up. But I’m looking at the horizon and thinking if this movement has the lasting impact we hope it does and this increase in clients continues for months and even years, we have some work to do to be able to meet that demand.”
More than 40,000 people were reached by the nonprofit in 2017 through direct services, prevention, education training and outreach, a 62 percent increase since 2015. A total of 1,259 survivors were served through individual or group counseling last year, a 58 percent increase since 2015. You can see more statistics in this month’s Building Stronger Communities feature.
“Our biggest challenge is making sure that we can respond to survivors in the exact moment when they choose to reach out for help,” Miller says. “That means having a 24/7 operation and making sure we have the people who can answer every single one of those calls or greet people as they walk through the doors.”
CRCC’s impact in the community and its ability to meet that challenge is measured in two distinct areas.
“We have a financial bottom line, but we also have a mission bottom line,” Miller says. “How many people did we help? What’s the impact of what we’re doing on citizens and in the community? We use a lot of outcome measures to say, what was the well-being of the survivor when they walked through our doors the first time? What was their health and well-being after they received services?”
Thus far, recent events give Miller hope for the future.
“If the community invests their philanthropy at Cleveland Rape Crisis Center, we can have an impact on our region’s health, well-being and ultimate success,” she says. ●
Mark Scott is Senior Associate Editor at Smart Business Network