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KCADV receives $20,000 grant from Toyota to support Economic Empowerment Program

Toyota has made a $20,000 grant to the Kentucky Coalition Against Domestic Violence (KCADV) to support its Economic Empowerment program.

The funds will be used to support financial education classes, credit counseling, Individual Development Accounts (IDAs), and microloans for survivors served by the state’s 15 regional domestic violence programs and state community college system. The program serves 2,600 participants annually.

The grant helps domestic violence survivors like Heather Wyatt. Three years ago, Heather was a new mom, a high school dropout and fleeing an abusive partner. She moved from Virginia to Kentucky to escape the violence and couch-surfed at the homes of an aunt and friend in Glasgow. She enrolled in the Kentucky Community and Technical College System’s Work and Learn program to earn her GED, and through her counselor learned about KCADV’s Economic Empowerment program.

“When I came into this program I was homeless, uneducated and a brand-new single mother,” said Ms. Wyatt; “I had no money and no idea where to start.” She enrolled in the IDA savings program and focused on building her credit.

Less than a year after earning her GED, she enrolled at Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College where she is working on an Applied Associates in Science in software programming. The IDA program matches her savings for school 4-to-1 and credit counseling helped her increase her credit score to 714. With rental assistance, she and her son are living in their own home and she looks forward to pursuing a B.S. in computer programming at Western Kentucky University.

Toyota has been a loyal donor since 2010 and was one of the first funders of KCADV’s initiative with Kentucky Community and Technical College System. The continuation of this grant is part of Toyota’s commitment to education and financial empowerment.

“When we make an investment with any organization, we really want to know that our support is going to help make a positive change for people,” stated Rick Hesterberg, manager of external affairs for Toyota Motor North America. “Listening to the testimonies of survivors who have utilized this program (EEP) tells us all we need to know.”

The nationally recognized Economic Empowerment Program was born out of frustration in 2004 when executive directors of KCADV shelters lamented that they were serving the daughters and granddaughters of previous clients. They committed to economic empowerment as a strategy to break the cycle of violence and poverty.

“Toyota’s support has been invaluable in the continued success of our work with KCTCS,” said Deputy Director Mary O’Doherty. “It’s incredibly rewarding to be able to help survivors establish safe and stable lives. Family stability is an important step in the life of a survivor, and this grant will help us ensure that generations to come will be able to escape the cycle.”

In 2016, KCADV published evaluations conducted by University of Kentucky researcher Jennifer Cole, Ph.D. that showed Economic Empowerment program participants made significant improvements in their financial practices, economic conditions and quality of life.

From Kentucky Coalition Against Domestic Violence

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