Ladysmith-based Embrace, a nonprofit that serves survivors of domestic abuse in Barron, Rusk, Washburn and Price counties, will share in $20,000 worth of cash grants announced Monday, Jan. 11, 2021, by Mayo Clinic Health System in Northwest Wisconsin.
The local agency got $4,000 “to assist with staff development and … learning opportunities around cultural responsiveness and inclusivity training,” a Mayo press release said.
The grant will provide money for training, Brittny Olson, domestic violence program coordinator at the Rice Lake office of Embrace, said Tuesday, Jan. 12.
The grant comes from Mayo Clinic’s newly established “EverybodyIN Fund for Change,” according to Mayo public relations spokesman Dan Lea, Eau Claire.
“Last summer, Mayo Clinic staff contributed nearly $89,000 to the fund with the goal of supporting efforts to advance racial equity,” the Mayo release said.
“Mayo Clinic’s match brought the fund’s total to $200,000. More than 100 organizations located in communities that Mayo Clinic serves applied for the grant funding,” the release said.
While the grant is welcomed by Embrace, it won’t make up for the $25,000 stipend from Barron County that was withdrawn by the Barron County Board of Supervisors last fall, following a dispute over the wording of an Embrace position paper opposing violence in all its forms, including “police violence,” Olson added.
The Mayo grant “does not replace the funding we were depending on for direct services on an annual basis … from Barron County,” Olson said. “It’s one-time funding to support new training needs for our community.”
While the funding has yet to be restored, nor has Embrace changed or withdrawn its statement on violence. There were two developments following Barron County’s decision not to fund Embrace.
First, it was reported late last year that authorities in Barron County were in negotiations with Embrace. Second, Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald announced last fall that he was creating a “Citizen Advisory and Action Team” to focus on diversity issues. The team was scheduled to begin meeting early this year.
As for the Mayo grant, Olson said Embrace will use some of the funds to address issues in Barron County’s Somali community.
She said Embrace “will invite a trainer from a Muslim-led advocacy agency on providing culturally inclusive services to Muslim and refugee survivors of violence.
There will be two parts to the training program, Olson added.
“The first will be training for Embrace staff on providing culturally inclusive and responsive direct survivor services and shelter and changes to specific programming.