Anti-Violence Initiative

In the spring of 2006, The Bingham Program became interested in the issue of violence against women and children. Initially we thought we would be able to focus our attention on the role we could play in health care. We quickly learned that health care expenses are only a piece of the yearly $1.3 billion costs to Maine economy.

With a population of 1.3 million people, $1,000 per resident per year is not an insignificant sum for a small, relatively poor state. The Bingham Program advisors decided it was time to affect a change in the cultural acceptance of violence against women and children. Social change, however, was not something we were going to be able to bring about on our own so we began to look for partners.

Over the years the issue of violence against women and children had been mislabeled a “women’s issue” and relegated to the less important issues with which the state needed to deal. For the Bingham advisors, however, this was an economic as well as a health issue that needed the voices of business and men added to the discussion of solutions.

In the fall of 2006, we asked former Governor Angus King and Chamber of Commerce President Dana Connors to convene a group of business leaders who were men. The leaders were chosen because they had adopted policies within their own companies and because they were known to domestic violence and sexual assault advocates as supportive. The purpose of the meeting was to introduce them to the research of Vincent Felitti, MD at Kaiser Permanente and Robert Anda, MD of the CDC which dealt with the long term effects on health and productivity of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). Because of the need to get the attention of business and industry focused on these productivity losses, we also began discussions with the Maine Development Foundation about the possibility of developing a measure of growth for the Maine Economic Growth Council’s yearly report. At its meeting in January 2008, the Council set a goal of developing a safety indicator or cluster of indicators for its next report.

In the fall of 2007, at the 75th Anniversary celebration of The Bingham Program, the advisors committed to spending up to $1 million to focus the state’s attention on the devastating personal and economic effects of violence against women and children and on what we all can do to foster primary prevention efforts in our personal and professional lives. We are also working to match that amount and to find partners interested in this work.

Because one of the strongest indicators for continuation of the cycle of abuse is exposure to it at an early age, we envision our work taking place in the wider context of providing safe and supportive early childhood experiences. Early quality care and education are vitally necessary for Maine to insure that our most precious resource is well developed.

There are currently a number of initiatives – statewide and local — focusing on the need for and development of healthy birth-to-three environments. We support these efforts because of the research indicating the critical importance of this period for infants’ and toddlers’ healthy development and the economy. We are a member of the Maine Children’s Growth Council because we believe that our economic future depends on our investment in the birth to three years of children’s lives.

Areas of focus
Initiative spending Total FY 06- 08 FY 09 FY10 FY ’11 FY’12 FY’13 FY’14 FY’15 FY’16 FY’17 F’18
A Call to Men 10,850 10,850
Boys to Men 20,364 20,364
Me. Coalition to End DV 10,000 5,000 5,000
Maine Council of Churches 6,700 1,700 5,000
Me Coalition Against Sexual Assault 89,838 5,000 42,419 42,419
United Somali Women 86,578 43,289 43,289
Total Men & Boys 224,330
Maine Chamber of Commerce 5,000 5,000
Maine Development Foundation 116,200 36,000 30,000 43,000 5,000 2,200
Total Business 121,200
Council for a Strong America 30,000 15,000 15,000
Educare 74,163 38,698 19,234 16,231
Maine Children’s Alliance 149,000 34,500 34,500 5,000 5,000 5,000 5,000 30,000 30,000
Maine Children’s Growth Council 5,000 5,000
Maine Children’s Trust 65,000 35,000 30,000
Maine Head Start Directors 5,000 5,000
Maine Humanities Council 59,288 22,250 24,909 12,129
Maine Osteopathic Association 2,000 2,000
Maine Women’s Policy Center 42,370 42,370
Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center 2,000 2,000
Project AWARE 5,000 5,000
United Way/Mid Coast Hospital 1,500 1,500
York County Child Abuse & Neglect 1,000 1,000
Early Childhood Funders’ Group 36,500 7,500 7,500 7,500 4,000 5,000 5,000
Total Early Childhood 477,821
ACEs summit/ACES 140,000 40,000  50,000  50,000  50,000
Add Verb Productions 116,900 16,900 20,000 30,000 25,000 25,000
Amer. Academy of Peds 8,738 3,738 2,000 2,000 1,000
Family Crisis Services 31,753 31,753
Hanley Center 5,000 5,000
Hardy Girls Healthy Women 43,625 24,640 18,985
Maine Assn. of Psych. Physicians 1,000 1,000
Me.Primary Care Assn/PSR 133,161 89,811 15,929 27,421
Maine Resiliency Building Network 272,146 51,417 58,417 47,417 53,335 30,780 30,780
THRIVE 2,067 2,067
Wabanaki Mental Health 75,000 25,000 25,000 25,000
Waldo County General Hospital 45,000 25,000 20,000
Total Health 874,390
Maine Citizens Against Handguns 3,000 3,000
Maine Family Violence Project 6,500 5,000 1,500
New Hope for Women 1,000 1,000
Prevention. Action. Change. 800 800
USM Muskie Center 133,578 32,378 29,843 31,364 26,662 13,331
Dr. Felitti’s visits 7,500 7,500
Total Other 152,378
All Initiative grants to date 1,850,119 302,286 147,828 201,600 283,171 58,801 106,333 165,868 203,537 129,135 135,780 115,780
What have we been looking for in a project?
For initiative-funded proposals we have been interested in projects that address primary prevention from a statewide perspective. We have used the Spectrum of Prevention as a framework for our funding activities because the Spectrum works comprehensively to bring about social change.  We have also been interested in projects that bring unusual partners to the table as well as other sources of money, whether from the community, business sector or philanthropy.