Opening Doors for Survivors of Domestic Violence

Organization Information:

Organization Name:
Underground Railroad, Inc.
City & State:
Organization's Mission Statement

The mission of the Underground Railroad is: 1. To provide shelter and service for survivors of domestic violence, stalking and sexual assault. 2. To provide leadership and programs to end violence against women in our community.

Submission Information

Impact Essay

Products purchased through Tech Soup: Micro Soft Small Business, Windows Server and Office 2007.Underground Railroad’s (URR) goals are to provide services for survivors of domestic violence, stalking, sexual assault, and trafficking; assume the leadership role for eliminating violence against women within the community; maintain adequate facilities, staffing, equipment and resources to support our programs; diversify and expand funding sources to enable the agency to adapt to the changing political and economic environment; enhance and expand community understanding and support for our mission. Established in 1977 as an emergency shelter for victims of domestic violence operated entirely by volunteers we have grown to include transitional housing; legal services; court advocacy; counseling; child care; medical services; community prevention education; and sexual assault. In 1999 we moved from two old homes into an 18,000 sq. ft. facility. In fiscal year 2007/2008 we served over 4,000 individuals, primarily women and children, and had out grown the new location. Saginaw County has reported the highest rate of violent crimes per capita in Michigan for six straight years. Our 42 bed emergency shelter is filled to capacity every night and we often have to turn away victims who are not in imminent danger. The most cost effective way to increase emergency shelter space was to relocate administrative staff and transform offices into emergency shelter rooms. Eight additional rooms will be able to house eight to twelve families or 21 women and children, keeping them from harm’s way. In fiscal year 2008/2009, 144 adults and 204 children were housed in Underground Railroad’s Emergency Shelter for a combined total of 9,236 nights of shelter. With a 50% increase in capacity, we project the numbers to reach approximately 220 adults and 300 children for over 4,600 nights of shelter. Replicating the shelter would not be economically feasible. It is staffed 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. To protect the residents and to keep the perpetrators out, it has the security system of a minimum security prison. Expanding the building was also out of the question. The most cost effective solution was to move administrative staff to another location. The Micro Soft software has allowed our administrative staff to move off-site yet stay in real-time communication with our emergency shelter, court house offices, and resale shop using the Small Business Intranet and Outlook. Additionally, the Windows Server is used as a terminal server to keep the shelter building in a fast working connection with the main server at the administration building. Without these MS tools from Tech Soup this move would not have been as smooth a transition for staff, volunteers and survivors. As a result of the new software:· We post up-to-date company information for all staff on the Intranet.· Our Court House staff and Resale Store staff are able to connect remotely to check their company emails as well as access the company intranet. · We’re able to maintain a central schedule of the agency van usage, car usage, and employee vacation time. · Our Outreach Team is able to maintain an accurate calendar of outreach events and outcomes for reporting to funders on a quarterly and annual basis. This calendar will also be used to plan and strategize events for the coming year.· All networked staff has their Internet home page set for the company intranet so that they may see any new information they may need.

Submission Category
Optimize Mission Delivery
Project Image
URR 2008 090.jpg