Maggie Fronk, executive directory of Domestic Violence and Rape Crisis (DVRC) Services of Saratoga County, shared these remarks about the impact of Project Hope and Power when receiving a second grant from the Women's Fund on June 3, 2008. Project Hope and Power is an innovative eight-week training and mentoring program designed to give domestic violence survivors the skills they need to become financially secure and independent.

"We recently started a monthly follow up seminar for Hope and Power graduates. In planning the new program we asked former Hope and Power participants what topics they’d like to see covered. Time and time again, they told us that they’re concerned that they aren’t setting aside enough money so that they’ll be secure in their retirement.

"After discussing this need with Ellen Sax of Key Bank and asking for their help in providing such a workshop, I was driving home and suddenly the impact of their request dawned on me, 'They’re worried about their retirement savings!' Just three years ago, many of these participants were homeless, without jobs, filled with financial dread. Many had just left their abusers and they feared they wouldn’t be able to meet their family’s basic living needs. They feared couldn’t pay the rent next week, that they wouldn’t have money for food, heat, or doctors’ bills. Every day they lived with dread about having the money for basic daily survival. And more than anything, they feared that they would have to return defeated and shamed to the abuser in order to provide these basic needs because this had happened before.

"Now, here they are three years after Hope and Power talking with us about their current financial worries and these worries are not about survival, but about being financially secure when they retire three decades from now. And most importantly, they want to start saving today to overcome this fear, because they’ve learned that they have the power to take charge of their life.

"This program truly is about Hope and Power!"