Finding Our Voices survivors at the Scarborough Public Library in October. From left, Jeannine Lauber Oren, Tiffany Engelhardt, Christine Buckley, Riley Kennedy, Mary Lou Smith, Rebekah Lowell, Janet Desmarais, and Patrisha McLean. (Courtesy of Richard Marchessault)

Finding Our Voices has been awarded $10,000 from the Sam L. Cohen Foundation. The grant will bring safety and freedom to Maine women and children trapped in domestic abuse, through the Finding Our Voices Get Out Stay Out fund. The fund pays for short-term motel stays, apartment rent, car repairs and gas cards, computer repair, legal consultations, and storage unit and U-Haul fees. 

“This generous grant from such a prestigious organization as the Sam L. Cohen Foundation is a wonderful validation of our grassroots, survivor-powered efforts,” said Patrisha McLean, founder and president of the two-year-old Maine-based nonprofit Finding Our Voices. McLean added the donation is especially welcome because, “Domestic abuse has been getting steadily worse since the onset of COVID, and the holidays only sharpen the violence and control of abusive family members.”

In the 18 months since the Get Out Stay Out fund was seeded by the Sunshine Lady Foundation, Finding Our Voices has empowered more than 85 Maine families to escape perpetual fear and misery in what should be the safe, happy place of home. Referrals to the fund come from partners including district attorney offices, police departments, homeless shelters, domestic abuse agencies, Maine Community Action, Opportunity Alliance, and Goodwill Northern New England. 

The Finding Our Voices trademark is groundbreaking domestic abuse-awareness posters and bookmarks featuring the photo portraits of 44 Maine survivors aged 18 to 81, including  students, an incarcerated woman, and Gov. Janet T. Mills. The posters have papered downtown business windows in 85-plus Maine towns, with smaller versions in restaurant bathrooms, women’s changing rooms (including every Goodwill store in three states), synagogues, employee break rooms, and schools.

For more information visit FindingOurVoices.net or contact McLean directly at hello@findingourvoices.net.