"This Giving Tuesday, and every day, we thank you for your support," said members of the ACEs Connection staff on a recent "all staff Zoom." L-R (top row) Laurie Udesky, Carey Sipp, Gail Kennedy, Lara Kain (second row) Cissy White, Rafael Maravilla, Donielle Prince, Jenna Quinn (third row) Ingrid Cockhren, (off camera) Alison Cebulla, Jane Stevens. Out that day, and grateful all the same, were Karen Clemmer, Dana Brown, Elizabeth Prewitt, Marianne Avari, and Samantha Sangenito
“We’re hoping December 1 — ‘Giving Tuesday’ — will help us show our supportive matching grant donor just how much our 48,000 members appreciate ACEs Connection. We know we are important to them in their work, their research, their personal or professional understanding of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), their helping their communities take on their most intractable problems of racism and inequity in healthcare, education, housing, and more” said Jane Stevens, founder and publisher of ACEs Connection.
“As the Giving Tuesday campaign says, ‘Everyone has something to give and every act of generosity counts.’ We welcome gifts of any size. What is important is that we are supported, in some way, by as many member donations as possible,” she said.
So far ACEs Connection has raised just more than one-fifth — $11, 223 — of the amount needed to receive the $50,000 matching grant. The “challenge grant” offered in October by a generous donor who chooses to remain anonymous, will be given only if member donations meet the $50,000 mark, essentially turning member donations of $50,000 into a donation total of $100,000.
According to Stevens, this is the first time ACEs Connection has asked its members to support the network in its work of :
- educating people about ACEs science
- engaging them in the movement to prevent and heal ACEs, and build resilience
- increasing the number of people who join ACEs Connection
- helping communities launch and grow ACEs initiatives
- providing tools to help communities measure their progress
- acting as the information resource for the ACEs movement by telling its stories and providing resources.
“Front and center is our desire to understand and address the deeply ingrained problems of racism and inequity — especially economic inequity — and to work with others to tailor solutions that reflect our communities’ unique strengths, needs, and challenges,” Stevens added.
“For six years we have been fortunate to have remarkable support — financial as well as stalwart encouragement for our work — from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF),” said Stevens.
Funders also include The California Endowment, Blue Shield of California Foundation, Genentech, the Lisa Stone Pritzker Family Foundation, the George Sarlo Foundation, and the Cambia Health Foundation.
“Thanks to the generosity of our funders, we’ve been able to make ACEs Connection — with its vast storehouse of resources about ACEs science, the free websites for some 350 geographic communities, data tracking, reports and news — available for eight years.
“Over the next three years, we are transitioning from a combination of funding from several different foundations to a self-sustaining cooperative. By the end of that transition, we intend to derive most of our support from the ACEs Connection Cooperative of Communities. To start 2021 with an additional $100,000 would give us a significant boost toward that goal,” said Stevens of the ACEs Changemaker “challenge” grant campaign.
Going further, Stevens said, “I hope you can find it in your hearts to contribute. This support would help the organization amplify and accelerate this healing journey to replace policies, laws and practices based on blame, shame and punishment with understanding, nurturing and healing.”
“We know from the work of pioneers in the ACEs science movement that we can solve our most intractable problems in all our sectors,” Stevens said, offering examples of how the work is changing lives:
- Patients and physicians can successfully manage addiction to opioids and other substances so that 100% of patients are no longer addicted and can hold down jobs.
- Plymouth County, MA has an opioid death prevention program that combines law enforcement, rehab centers, and hospitals in a joint cross-sector program that has resulted in a 26% drop in opioid deaths v. an 84% increase in deaths in surrounding counties.
- Batterer intervention programs have integrated ACEs science and helped reduce recidivism from 30–60% to just 1%.
- Safe Babies Courts show that one year after participating 99% of the children suffer no further abuse.
- Thousands of schools – including schools in Antioch, CA, Suisun City, CA, San Francisco, CA, Spokane, WA, San Diego, CA, and Walla Walla, WA — have integrated trauma-informed practices so that suspensions and expulsions have dropped or been eliminated, while grades and graduation rates increase.
- A stunning project in Atlanta, GA, provides a community and economic model that successfully combines for-profit trauma-informed low-income housing; health clinics that improve services for families; after-school programs in the housing project; and local gardens for families to grow their own food. Landlords make more money, kids become healthier and do better in school, schools become more successful, residents are more empowered and self-reliant, and communities become more resilient and stable.
“We have the opportunity to build on momentum to continue to report on data-driven successes, to add tools and guidelines requested by communities across the U.S., and to provide guidance to communities making substantial progress in integrating practices based on ACEs science in organizations, institutions, and systems,” said Stevens.
“We hope members will add their support, in any amount, to advance and accelerate this work,” Stevens concluded.