Independence House in Hyannis got a significant boost this week courtesy of New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and his New England Patriots Charitable Foundation. In a release, Independence House Executive Director Lysetta Hurge-Putnam announced the organization is the recipient of a $100,000 grant.
Although the formal announcement was made during the 15th Annual Domestic Violence Awareness Month Community Breakfast Thursday in Hyannis, Hurge-Putnam said she got a personal phone call from Kraft the week before who acknowledged the work the organization does "under the radar".
The $100,000 grant awarded to Independence House will be used to increase the organization's Housing Stabilization Program which provides transitional housing assistance for domestic violence survivors and their children, the release said. "The people most affected by this award are members of our own community on Cape Cod who are transitioning from a life of abuse to a violence-free home for themselves and their children," Hurge-Putnam said.
Independence House was one of five such organizations in New England to receive a grant from Kraft's foundation.
In September, Kraft announced that his foundation was teaming up with Attorney General Maura Healey's Office to combat domestic violence in Massachusetts. The New England Patriots Charitable Foundation pledged $1.5 million for the cause. The multi-faceted initiative focuses primarily on education and training, especially among teens, according to release from the Patriots organization. Kraft said the incident involving former Baltimore Raven Ray Rice was an impetus for the program. "It was a horrific incident and an incredibly negative story for the entire NFL," Kraft said. "But as a result of that high profile participant, the crime brought international attention to the topic of domestic violence. That level of attention, discussion, disgust and outrage has been long overdue."
Of the initial $1.5 million, $500,000 has been earmarked for a program called Game Change: The Patriots Anti-Violence Partnership. Those funds, combined with an additional $150,000 from AG Healey's Office, will fund the Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP) program in 90 high schools across Massachusetts. In her remarks during last month's announcement, AG Healey said, "One in three young people has experienced physical, sexual, emotional or verbal abuse in a relationship. One in three."
Independence House has been a leader in facilitating the MVP program locally. MVP programs are currently in place at Barnstable High School, Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School, Lower Cape Regional Technical High School and Falmouth High School. Independence House is currently working to bring MVP programs to four other high schools on Cape Cod.
To learn more about Independence House, visit their website here.