All posts by Linley Beckbridge

Doorways Honored as Nonprofit of the Year at the 38th Annual Arlington Best Business Awards

Doorways was honored to be named Nonprofit of the Year at the Arlington Chamber of Commerce’s 38th Annual Arlington Best Business Awards. 

Doorways provides Arlington’s comprehensive domestic and sexual violence programs, including shelter, services, and housing. The nonprofit has earned full, dual state accreditation for both its domestic violence programs and its sexual assault programs by meeting 100 percent of the voluntary Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Program Professional Standards. 

“It is an absolute honor and a great achievement for Doorways to receive the prestigious Arlington Nonprofit of the Year Award,” said Kate Bates, Arlington Chamber President and CEO.  “The Chamber is pleased to present this award to them, and our community is fortunate to have such a great organization operating in Arlington.” 

The Best Business Awards recognize the most distinguished and accomplished businesses that have made significant contributions to the Arlington community. Award recipients are nominated by the Chamber membership and are evaluated by a committee of past award winners whose scores determine the winners.  

“We are honored to have earned this recognition of Doorways’ critical role in the Arlington community and our survivor-centered, value-driven approach,” said Michelle Sagatov, Doorways’ Board President. “As Arlington’s only provider of emergency safehousing, community-based services, and supportive housing for survivors and their families, we believe it is our responsibility to provide the best possible response to our neighbors in crisis and those seeking healing.”  

“This award is a testament to the whole Doorways team and their ongoing hard work and dedication,” said Diana Ortiz, LPC, M.Ed., Doorways’ President and CEO. “Although we don’t do this for the recognition, we are always grateful for opportunities to celebrate the efforts of our staff and volunteers who make our mission possible.” 

Michelle Sagatov (left) and Diana Ortiz (right) at the Arlington Chamber of Commerce’s 38th Annual Arlington Best Business Awards.

Doorways and Virginia lawmakers and advocates discuss domestic violence, guns, and lethal legal loopholes

Governor Youngkin Puts Virginia’s Sexual and Domestic Violence Victims in Danger with Latest Budget Proposal and Vetoes of Life-Saving Bills

Youngkin Disregards Pleas from Domestic Violence Victims for Indispensable Services by Slashing Budget for the State’s Victim Service Agencies

Virginia Remains One of a Handful of States in America to Not Have Closed Fatal Loopholes by Vetoing Gun Violence Bills

Arlington, VA, April 11, 2024—Virginia Governor Glenn Younkin put victims of sexual and domestic abuse in grave danger when he drastically cut funding for victim service agencies in his proposed budget amendments and by vetoing HB 46 and SB 47 as well as HB 362 and SB 642, bills that would have closed deadly loopholes in Virginia gun laws. Consequently, Virginia’s victims of domestic violence continue to live in clear and present danger of being shot and/or killed by their abuser due to the Governor’s decisions.

Richmond-based nonprofit criticizes Gov. Youngkin’s vetoes on several gun bills – ABC7

Virginia’s victim service providers were already standing on the edge of a financial cliff before Gov. Youngkin’s budget amendments slashed approximately $7.4 million from agencies that serve victims of sexual assault, domestic violence and child trafficking. These proposed cuts come at a time when victim pleas for services continue to rise at an alarming rate. In just the last year alone, the number of domestic violence victims seeking shelter—and, accordingly, protection from their abusers—increased 173 percent, and at a time when these shelters were unavailable to provide  space as they were already at or above capacity. Furthermore, the number of calls to the Statewide Family Violence and Sexual Assault Hotline increased by 31 percent.

“Governor Youngkin’s decision to veto these bills and cut millions of dollars from agencies providing vital services to crime victims jeopardizes the safety of women and families and leaves sexual and domestic violence advocates without the resources to do their jobs,” said Jonathan Yglesias, policy director for the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance. “In the last 5 years alone, these agencies have endured a whopping 47.5 percent decrease in federal funds, and without a significant influx of state dollars, there will be catastrophic and generational impacts on victims throughout Virginia.”

Youngkin Fails to Safeguard Virginia Domestic Violence Victims by Vetoing Bills That Would Have Closed Dangerous Loopholes in State Gun Laws

Domestic violence homicide makes up 32 percent of all homicides in Virginia. Of these, 65.5
percent are committed with a firearm. While Virginia law has some protections in place for
domestic violence victims, fatal loopholes in the law exist that put survivors at serious risk.
The four bills the Governor vetoed in March would have closed those lethal loopholes and given law enforcement, courts and communities the tools needed to prevent domestic violence homicides in the state. Instead, Governor Youngkin chose with his vetoes to allow those convicted of domestic violence or subject to a protective order easy access to firearms.

“Fully one-third of Virginians are, at some point, endangered by the people with whom they share their lives. I am deeply disappointed that when given the opportunity to better protect innocent lives, uphold our laws against domestic abusers and lift up families, this administration has instead turned its back on women and families,” said Senator Barbara Favola, 40th Senate district. “There are 4.5 million women in this country who have been threatened with a firearm by an intimate partner. This must change. We must disarm abusers, whether married or not. The Governor’s veto of these bills protects abusers and undermines public safety,” said Delegate Adele McClure, 2nd House district.

Arlington lawmakers decry vetoes of bills to further limit access to guns by domestic abusers – ARLnow

“When I told my abusive husband that I was leaving, he decided to shoot and kill me. A gun was central to his plan, and without it, he would not have had the means to carry it out,” said Lisette Johnson, survivor of domestic violence gun violence. “When controlling and abusive individuals have access to guns, the only wild cards are when it will happen and who will be present.”

Virginia Among Dwindling Number of States That Have Yet to Safeguard Victims by Closing Deadly Loopholes

HB 46 and SB 47, which the governor vetoed on March 8, would have closed a fatal loophole that allowed those convicted of assaulting a family our household member or those issued a final protective order—people who are not allowed to own a firearm—to hand their firearms over to a member of their household. These bills would have prohibited this transfer. Only one-third of U.S. states, including Virginia, have yet to close this loophole. As a result of Gov. Youngkin’s veto, Virginia remains a member of this notorious group.

HB 362 and SB 642 would have closed a loophole in current statute that allows those who commit domestic violence against a dating or intimate partner—aka the boyfriend loophole—to continue to possess their firearms. Currently, an individual convicted of assault and battery against a family or household member is prohibited from possession of firearms. However, no such protection exists for survivors of domestic or intimate partner violence who are not married and not cohabitating with their intimate partner. Federal law and nearly half of the states in the U.S. have eliminated the boyfriend loophole, and with his veto on March 25, Governor Youngkin declined to join the growing number of states that put victims’ lives and safety ahead of other political priorities.

Legal loophole that allows individuals banned from possessing guns to transfer the guns within their home or to third parties – NBC4

“During my years as a prosecutor, I fought day-in and day-out to protect victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. I walked alongside them and bore witness to tragedy after tragedy,” said Senator Russet Perry of Virginia’s 31st Senate District. “I also shared in their righteous anger when gaps in Virginia’s laws left them vulnerable to abuse. In Richmond, we have the power to fill those gaps, protect victims and save lives. That’s what SB 642 would have done: closed the boyfriend loophole and saved lives. The Governor’s veto does nothing to preserve public safety, but it will cost lives that could have been saved had he instead signed these bills into law.”

“Our focus was clear – we wanted to protect survivors of domestic violence from gun violence and save lives. I am deeply disappointed that Governor Youngkin decided to veto these basic accountability measures,” said Delegate Elizabeth Bennett-Parker, 5th House District.

“We are seeing an increase in the number of the survivors that have been threatened and coerced by their abusers because they have easy access to guns,” said Diana Ortiz, president and CEO of Doorways, Arlington’s sexual and domestic violence agency. “In Arlington, we work closely with our partners in public safety, law enforcement and the courts to disarm abusers before their violence becomes lethal. But we need to continue strengthening Virginia’s protections for survivors and give communities the tools they need to prevent senseless homicides.”

Watch Recording

ABOUT VIRGINIA SEXUAL AND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ACTION ALLIANCE: The Action Alliance is Virginia’s leading voice on sexual and domestic violence. As a network of survivors, sexual and domestic violence agencies, and allies, we work to strengthen Virginia’s response to and prevention of sexual and domestic violence. We believe ALL people have the right to a life free of sexual and domestic violence. We strive to promote healthy relationships, create thriving communities, and build a more equitable world by centering racial justice, reproductive justice, and economic justice. For more information, visit www.vsdvaa.org.

ABOUT DOORWAYS: Since 1978, Doorways has provided Arlington’s only emergency shelter for survivors of intimate partner violence. Today, Doorways’ dual state-accredited response to domestic and sexual violence includes community-based, shelter, and housing programs, as well as youth-driven prevention programing which empowers young people to stop abuse before it starts. For more information, visit www.doorwaysva.org.

You deserve safety and support. Whether someone has hurt you in the past or is hurting you now, we’re here to listen, and connect you to resources closest to you.

Statewide Hotline | Call: 800.838.8238 | Text: 804.793.9999 | Chat: www.vadata.org/chat

Doorways’ 24-Hour Hotline | Call: 703-237-0881

Free. Confidential. 24 hours a day. 7 days a week. 365 days a year.

Doorways’ Community Services Center Ribbon-Cutting and Open House

It was a bright, sunny morning as we welcomed more than 60 guests into our new Community Services Center (CSC) on Friday, April 5th. Many Doorways staff were onsite to provide guided tours of the trauma-informed space and share about their work and backgrounds.

Michelle Sagatov, President of Doorways’ Board of Directors, welcomed everyone into the new Center and thanked our community for always being so supportive of our work and mission. As she introduced Diana Ortiz, President and CEO of Doorways since 2021, Michelle shared that Diana had first been with Doorways from 2009 to 2018, and that although she left to pursue other ventures for time, “once you have Doorways in your heart, it’s there forever.”

Diana Ortiz thanked everyone, and especially Amazon, Washington Workplace, and the Garrett Group for their support in making the Center a beautiful and functional reality. The space has been intentionally designed with features that help protect the safety and confidentiality of both clients and staff. Diana also reiterated that the need for Doorways has continued to grow over the past 5 years, and that is a leading reason for creating this new Center.

Kate Bates, President and CEO of the Arlington Chamber of Commerce, also spoke, saying that nonprofits like Doorways are a valuable part of the Arlington community, helping to make Arlington a great place to live, work, and play.

Diana welcomed Michelle, along with Melissa Kenney (Doorways Chief Operations Officer) and Virginia Dominguez (Revive Counseling Manager), to officially cut the purple ribbon and mark the opening of our new Center.

Special thanks also to volunteers from Elevation Church who helped greet and guide our guests. We appreciate you!

Event Photos

Doorways opens new headquarters amid surging domestic violence rates in Arlington

Written by Daniel Egitto for ARLnow.com, April 9, 2024

An Arlington service provider for survivors of abuse celebrated the opening of a new, expanded headquarters last week.

Doorways hosted a ribbon cutting at the Community Services Center at 671 N. Glebe Road, a space designed around the needs of people who have experienced domestic and sexual violence. The spacious, brightly lit office in a Ballston high rise is meant to create a more comfortable environment for people seeking Doorways services, as well as the nonprofit’s employees.

“We are trying to make this as cozy and as trauma-informed as possible,” Counseling Program Manager Virginia Dominguez told ARLnow on a tour of the space.

New sound machines in the center’s counseling rooms protect clients’ privacy, while the larger office allows more staff members to work in person. The upgrade was possible thanks to a grant from Amazon, Doorways CEO Diana Ortiz said.

“This is a space that has a trauma-informed environment that will feel safe, that is promoting healing, that is promoting the dignity of our clients,” she said. “It’s a space that fosters safety, a space that inspires respect for the humanity of everyone.”

The headquarters is the latest piece of Doorways’ plans to address surging numbers of people seeking emergency shelter in Arlington.

In 2018, according to Doorways’ latest annual report, the nonprofit’s “safehousing” programs offered shelter to 58 survivors. Last year, that number had swelled to 135 people — more than half of whom were children.

Continue reading on ARLnow.com.

Doorways On Track to Break Records Again

Safehouse operated at 211% capacity first quarter 2023

Marla Carter Honored for Transformative Leadership at Doorways

CBIZ Announces Honorees for Fourth Annual Women Transforming Business Awards

Powered by CBIZ Women’s Advantage, the Awards honor visionary leaders throughout the nation.

CBIZ, Inc. (NYSE: CBZ), a leading national provider of financial, insurance, and advisory services, has announced the honorees of its fourth annual Women Transforming Business Awards powered by CBIZ Women’s Advantage. Honorees for these awards are being announced today in celebration of International Women’s Day.

The awards celebrate leaders nationwide acknowledging their significant contributions in five key categories: financial strength, innovation, culture, community impact, and the newest addition, emerging leader.

“The Women Transforming Business Awards recognize current and future leaders in multiple industries who are making a difference and impact in their organizations and communities,” said Jerry Grisko, President and CEO of CBIZ. “Each honoree shows the spirit of innovation, resilience and compassion, inspiring others to strive for excellence and drive positive and transformational change.”

Doorways is proud to share that the agency’s Chief Human Resources Officer, Marla Carter, SHRM-SCP, has been selected as an honoree in the Culture category. As a key member of Doorways’ leadership team, Carter directs the organization’s comprehensive human resources strategy. With more than 15 years of experience in the field, she is passionate about supporting people’s personal growth and development, and cultivating a culture of belonging, diversity, equity, and inclusion. 

“By recognizing the invaluable contributions of these leaders, we can celebrate their achievements and pave the way for future generations. Congratulations to this impressive group of honorees,” said Lori Novickis, National Leader of CBIZ Women’s Advantage.

Carter and her fellow honorees will be celebrated at a free virtual awards event on Tuesday, May 7, 2024, at 1 p.m. ET. For more information and to register for the event, visit the Women Transforming Business Awards page.

About Doorways

Since 1978, Doorways has provided Arlington’s only emergency shelter for survivors of intimate partner violence. Today, Doorways’ dual state-accredited response to domestic and sexual violence includes community-based, shelter, and housing programs, as well as youth-driven prevention programing which empowers young people to stop abuse before it starts. For more information, visit https://www.doorwaysva.org

About Marla Carter

Before joining Doorways, Marla Carter spent more than 13 years overseeing many aspects of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’(NFWF) Human Resources Department. At NFWF, Carter held many HR positions, including Manager and Senior HR Manager. In her last position, she served as the organization’s first Director of Diversity and Inclusion. She has also worked with small businesses as an HR consultant. Additionally, Carter is the founding president of The Compass Rose Foundation, a program dedicated to the mentorship of under-represented youth. Carter earned her bachelor’s degree in business management from Hampton University and is a Senior Certified Professional with the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM-SCP). 

About CBIZ, Inc.

CBIZ is a leading provider of financial, insurance, and advisory services to businesses throughout the United States. Financial services include accounting, tax, government health care consulting, transaction advisory, risk advisory, and valuation services. Insurance services include employee benefits consulting, retirement plan consulting, property and casualty insurance, payroll, and human capital consulting. With more than 120 offices in 32 states, CBIZ is one of the largest accounting and insurance brokerage providers in the U.S. For more information, visit https://www.cbiz.com.

Doorways to Launch “SafeStart” Initiative with $1.5M Federal Community Development Grant

New initiative will increase shelter and housing for survivors of abuse in Arlington

8 March 2024 – Arlington, VA – Doorways is set to receive $1.5 million in federal funding for SafeStart, a new initiative to increase the nonprofit’s shelter and housing for survivors and their families. SafeStart is one of only 15 projects sponsored by U.S. Congressman Don Beyer this fiscal year. 

Congressman Beyer secured funding for Doorways’ SafeStart through the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, which supports community development activities to build stronger and more resilient communities. “The $1,500,000 in federal funding I secured for Doorways will support the purchase of emergency housing units for low-income individuals and families experiencing sudden homelessness due to domestic or sexual violence,” said Congressman Beyer. “Amidst the lingering impacts of COVID and rising rent costs, our community has seen an increase in survivors and families fleeing imminent danger in their homes, straining Doorways’ ability to provide crucial services to them.” 

As Arlington’s only provider of safehousing for individuals and families who are homeless due to fleeing domestic and sexual violence, Doorways has been on the frontlines responding to the growing need. The CDBG funding creates the opportunity for Doorways to expand its capacity to serve more survivors. 

“In the last five years, the number of survivors and their children sheltered by Doorways has more than doubled,” said Doorways’ President and CEO Diana Ortiz, LPC, M.Ed. “Meanwhile, sources of funding including the federal Victims of Crime Act, or VOCA, have decreased significantly. We are grateful to Congressman Beyer for prioritizing survivors and helping Doorways secure the additional units we need to continue fulfilling our promise of safehousing for all.” 

“The number of survivors and their children sheltered by Doorways has more than doubled.”

Doorways’ SafeStart project and the repurposing of its Family Home shelter, a project slated for this summer and fall, are part of the agency’s broader strategy to expand and strengthen its safehousing infrastructure to meet the Arlington community’s growing needs. 

“This funding will provide Doorways with much needed assistance to continue protecting victims and survivors, including through supporting them as they work towards achieving the goal of stable, safe, and long-term housing,” said Congressman Beyer. “I am thankful to the leaders at Doorways for their support identifying and developing this project request and their steadfast commitment to helping survivors of violence heal and thrive.” 

Funds awarded to Doorways through CDBG must be matched one-to-one by the Arlington community. To learn more about Doorways and how to support survivors, visit www.doorwaysva.org  

About Doorways

Since 1978, Doorways has provided Arlington’s only emergency shelter for survivors of intimate partner violence. Today, Doorways’ dual state-accredited response to domestic and sexual violence includes community-based, shelter, and housing programs, as well as youth-driven prevention programing which empowers young people to stop abuse before it starts.  

Q&A: Why are more survivors seeking shelter at Doorways?

Q: I was just looking at Doorways’ recent press release and I was surprised by how many more survivors Doorways sheltered last year compared to previous years. I was wondering if you could provide any more context on these numbers. The press release notes that the community’s needs are increasing. In what ways are they increasing? What seems to be the cause of this trend in more survivors seeking shelter at Doorways?

A: Domestic violence has increased in both frequency and severity. As the only provider of emergency shelter for survivors in imminent danger – called safehousing – Doorways has been at the front lines responding to the growing need for safehousing (please see chart). We are responding to survivors’ needs by reinventing ourselves. With our community’s support, we are increasing, improving, and transforming the way we serve survivors, including expanding our safehousing capacity.

Doorways’ safehousing provides emergency shelter and services to survivors and their children who are in imminent danger or imminent risk, which means there is a threat and likelihood that serious harm or death could occur within a short time due to intimate partner violence. In 2022, according to the Danger Assessment, 80% of adults who came into Doorways’ safehousing program were at a high level of lethality risk.

We believe these to be among the top contributing factors:

  • Crisis: We know that intimate partner violence increases in times of crisis, from worldwide crises like climate change, to individual crises like job loss and eviction. The COVID-19 pandemic led to intensified domestic violence across the globe, including here in Arlington. Survivors were isolated at home with those who harmed them, unable to access supports like friends, family members, and healthcare. The stressors of the pandemic, including economic impacts, also escalated abuse. Once quarantines were lifted and survivors were able to seek services, the increase in need for Doorways’ safehousing grew rapidly.
  • Increased Cost of Living: Domestic violence is a leading cause of homelessness, especially among women and children. As Arlington becomes increasingly unaffordable, more people are on the brink of crisis – which contributes to stress factors that escalate abusive behaviors – and when crisis occurs, they need somewhere safe to go. Survivors’ number one need is housing, and for families, childcare is also a necessity. Both housing and childcare are extremely expensive in Arlington, and survivors with children need both.
  • Increased Awareness: Through outreach and collaboration with our Project PEACE and community partners, Doorways promotes our hotline to make our services as accessible as possible to survivors in crisis. The more people know that help is available, the more likely survivors are to reach out and be connected to Doorways’ programs.

Doorways’ safehousing is accessible via our 24/7 hotline, 703-237-0881, which is also the only hotline in Arlington. Doorways’ 24-Hour Domestic and Sexual Violence Hotline provides information, support, safety planning, and referrals to safehousing and services such as hospital accompaniments for forensic exams, Doorways’ Revive mental health counseling, and community-based advocacy. We encourage anyone who is experiencing intimate partner violence, or knows someone who is experiencing abuse, to call Doorways’ hotline for information and support. You are not alone.

Doorways’ 2023 Annual Report Highlights Comprehensive Response to Increasing Need for Shelter and Services

Doorways is a community-based nonprofit providing trauma-informed services including safe shelter, housing, and life-changing support to individuals and families experiencing the traumas of domestic violence, sexual assault, and homelessness. As Arlington’s only fully and dually state-accredited agency serving survivors of domestic and sexual violence, Doorways offers a wide range of crisis response services and comprehensive shelter and housing programs designed to meet survivors’ needs.

“Fulfilling this promise has never been more pressing,” writes Diana Ortiz, M.Ed., LPC, Doorways’ President and CEO, in the organization’s 2023 report. “Only five years ago, Doorways’ Safehouse sheltered 58 survivors. Last year alone, that number was 135 survivors—more than double the total in 2018. And more than half of those 135 survivors were children.”

“Our community’s needs are increasing and changing rapidly,” Ortiz continues. “Survivors told us what they need. Doorways listened. We are responding by reinventing ourselves. With your support, we are increasing, improving, and transforming the way we serve survivors.

Q&A: Why are more survivors seeking shelter at Doorways?

In addition to providing emergency shelter, called safehousing, to a record-high number of survivors, Doorways’ 2023 response to domestic and sexual violence included:

  • 1,411 hotline calls, through which Doorways provided safety planning, crisis support, information, and referral services;
  • 29 hospital accompaniments for survivors undergoing sexual assault and domestic violence forensic exams;
  • Court advocacy for 360 adults and children navigating legal pathways to safety;
  • Community-based mobile advocacy for 50 adults, including safety planning and case management;
  • Mental health counseling for 236 adults, youth, and children impacted by domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking; and
  • Supportive housing for 129 adults and children.

Read Doorways’ 2023 annual report to learn more. Click the white arrow > below to flip pages.