March 8, 2023 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm Statehouse Convention Center Little Rock
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Tiffany Mattzela
Event Director

Women & Children First: The Center Against Family Violence

Women & Children First: The Center Against Family Violence
Nonprofit Organization of the Year
Little Rock

Women & Children First provides one of the most fundamental needs of a family facing domestic violence: a safe place 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

In addition to emergency shelter, the center provides food, clothing and access to advocates who can help those experiencing violence create a safety plan and identify next steps. It answered 7,388 calls for help last year, and over the years it has helped more than 15,500 women and children.

Many nights, the Women & Children First shelter, with 54 beds, stands at capacity.

To Angela McGraw, the nonprofit’s executive director, success comes when a victim of domestic violence makes that initial decision to reach out to the shelter. McGraw notes that “it takes an incredible amount of courage to leave an abusive relationship.”

The nonprofit is making plans for a new shelter that will allow it to expand the number of available beds as well as grow its programs. It’s also working to create the first Family Peace Center in Arkansas, which will provide one location at which victims of violence can meet with counselors, police officers, prosecutors and others to begin the process of moving toward safety and independence.

McGraw recounted how in 2014, at the nonprofit’s first Pop Up Shop fundraiser, an “upscale, retail resale event,” a woman introduced herself as a past client of Women & Children First. “She shared with us how WCF saved her and her children’s lives, McGraw said. WCF helped the woman gain a protective order, court support, a referral for legal services and transitional housing.

“She wanted us to know that through the domestic violence support groups and supportive services, she was able to break the cycle of violence. She was excited to share that she had saved money to take her children to Disney World just a few weeks prior and that she was preparing to go on a cruise with friends. She was so proud of herself.”

Previous Arkansas Business of the Year Honorees