Lexington, KY - Darlene Thomas saw the name of her eight year old non-profit as a barrier for those participating in the program. “It had a tendency to focus on the violence and the abuse instead of the strength and the resiliency of our families,” Thomas said of the Bluegrass Domestic Violence Program (BDVP), which changed its name to Greenhouse17 last month.
Thomas said that the name had connotations that gave employers the wrong idea, and that it was often embarrassing for people who participated in the program to include BDVP on a job application.
“They see that you’re a domestic violence victim, they don’t see that you’re starting all over and trying to move from crisis, from what was to what can be,” she said of the organization that uses gardening and farming as a form of therapy for victims of intimate partner abuse. (See a previous article about the organization here)
The use of ‘Greenhouse’ in the newly minted title comes from organization’s focus on the powers of planting, the overall emphasis on growth and a reflection of the atmosphere they’re attempting to create. “The greenhouse is a place where you grow and nurture plants in a protected environment,” Thomas said. “We believe we’re growing and nurturing people in a protected environment.”
The organization serves a 17 county region in Central Kentucky, hence the number in the organization’s name.
Greenhouse17 is currently participating in the GoodGiving Guide (http://www.goodgivingguide.net/human-services/greenhouse17/#top) a fundraiser for non-profit organizations. “It’s just a beautiful way to communicate, to let the community know that we exist and that we are a responsible organization,” Thomas said.
In 2011, BDVP raised $4,674 from the fundraiser launched by the Blue Grass Community Foundation and parent company Smiley Pete Publishing. In 2012, the amount went up to $12,319.14. This year, the first under their new name, the company has raised $1,895 by noon on Nov. 5.
Since its participation in the GoodGiving Guide last year, the company has won two awards for Social Innovation; one from the Kentucky Non-profit Network; and one from the Center of Non-Profit Excellence.
For Thomas, the former name was also a title that was hard for others to grasp. “They called us everything under the sun,” she said. “We wanted something that could be remembered, but not just remembered for it being short and catchy, we want it to be remembered and then thought of as a really innovative program designed to help domestic violence victims and their children.”
Ultimately, Thomas believes that the new name focuses more on the strength in recovery and less on the horrors of abuse. She trusts that the new name will further protect the victims of violence that participate in the program.
“Everything we do is around safety for families,” Thomas said. “And our whole goal is to help families grow and move from crisis to self-sufficiency, in a safe environment or as safely as possible.”
Since starting Friday the GoodGiving Guide has raised more than $245,000 for 108 area non-profits. Ten of those non-profits were awarded $7,500 quick start grants for their performance in the campaign’s opening day. The winners were: Lexington Fairness, Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence, Living Arts & Science Center, Friends of Kentucky Theatre, Richmond Area Arts Council, Shoulder to Shoulder Global, Mission Lexington’s Free Medical and Dental Clinics, Lexington Philharmonic, Hospice of the Bluegrass and Faith Feeds/Glean KY. The $75,000 matching grant was provided by the Blue Grass Community Foundation and the Knight Foundation.
This week three non-profits will receive an extra $1,000 by leading their category of small, medium and large organizations in the most $25 or more gifts by unique donors.