All posts by Linley Beckbridge

Doorways Collaborates with Ring to Provide Safety Tools for Survivors

Doorways Collaborates with Ring to Provide Safety Tools for Survivors

Senator Barbara Favola Voices Support for Initiative

Arlington, VA — June 7, 2022 — Today, local nonprofit Doorways, the only domestic and sexual violence shelter and services provider in Arlington and the City of Falls Church, announced an initiative to provide additional safety tools to survivors. Ring, whose mission is to make neighborhoods safer, will be donating up to 1,000 Ring Video Doorbells and Security Cameras to Doorways to be shared with clients, along with a free Ring Protect Plan subscription for the life of each device. In addition to this device donation, Ring will also provide a monetary contribution to help amplify Doorways’ impact for survivors across Arlington and surrounding communities.

Doorways will share devices with survivors on a case-by-case basis and as needed to support peace of mind for survivors. The National Domestic Violence Hotline defines a safety plan as a set of actions that can help lower risk of being hurt by a partner. Tools like Ring devices can help reduce risk during interactions among current or former partners, such as custody exchanges and visitation.

“Thanks to this initiative with Ring, we are able to get additional safety tools into the hands of our clients who would not otherwise be able to access them,” said Doorways President and CEO, Diana Ortiz. “Many of our clients have expressed that they want to utilize tools such as the Ring cameras and doorbells, but they do not have the means to purchase the devices and subscriptions. We are grateful that this donation will enable Doorways to meet our clients’ needs at no cost to them or the organization, so we can continue using our resources to provide shelter, supportive housing, and 24/7 services.” Ortiz went on to say that “corporate collaborations, such as this with Ring, help sustain Doorways’ life-saving programs and have been especially critical during the pandemic.”

Many of our clients have expressed that they want to utilize tools such as the Ring cameras and doorbells, but they do not have the means to purchase the devices and subscriptions. We are grateful that this donation will enable Doorways to meet our clients’ needs.

“Diana and her team work tirelessly to respond to each of their client’s individual and family needs and help them achieve the best outcomes,” said Karla Torres, Head of Community Engagement at Ring. “Doorways takes a community-based approach to supporting survivors, including offering comprehensive services like advocacy, counseling, and housing within and beyond Doorways. We believe in advancing their efforts in Arlington and enhancing their safety planning for clients to build safe and stable futures.”

“I’m proud to support Doorways’ collaboration with Ring that adds to the safety tools available for survivors of domestic violence,” said Virginia State Senator Barbara Favola. “These devices help make it possible for survivors to return to normal routines with a sense of security and confidence. There is nothing more important than giving survivors hope and that’s what this donation is all about.”

The Washington Post: Depp-Heard verdict will have chilling impact on #MeToo, advocates fear

“Many survivors may also fear that coming forward with any claim of abuse — which is already an underreported crime — could result in a defamation suit,” wrote Linley Beckbridge, director of communications and advocacy for Doorways — an Arlington, Va., nonprofit that provides housing and other supportive services for survivors of domestic and sexual violence — in an email to The Post. “Although the support shown to Johnny Depp could signal a positive shift towards believing male survivors of intimate partner violence, the net result will probably be increased silencing and isolation of survivors, especially women.” Continue reading.

Doorways Receives $2.5 Million Bezos Day 1 Families Fund Grant to Help End Homelessness for Families in Arlington

Day 1 Families Fund grants $96.2 million to 32 nonprofits across the country to provide shelter for children and families in need

ARLINGTON, Va. – (November 17, 2021): Doorways, a community-based nonprofit providing shelter and services for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, as well as youth and families experiencing homelessness, today announced that it has been selected to receive a $2.5 million grant from the Bezos Day 1 Families Fund—the largest private grant in Doorways’ history. Launched in 2018 by Amazon founder and executive chair Jeff Bezos, the Day 1 Families Fund issues annual leadership awards to organizations and civic groups doing compassionate, needle-moving work to provide shelter and hunger support to address the immediate needs of young families.

“Thanks to the Day 1 Families Fund, Doorways is ready to launch our next chapter by implementing innovative and cutting-edge practices, from shelter to housing stability. We are especially committed to continuing our efforts to remove barriers that prevent historically marginalized communities of color, immigrants and people with disabilities from accessing services and getting housed quickly,” said Diana Ortiz, President and CEO of Doorways. “By increasing our capacity and adding more doorways into housing and our comprehensive wraparound services, our youngest clients and their parents will overcome the trauma of family homelessness and gender-based violence.”

This one-time grant will allow Doorways to increase its capacity to provide high-quality, low-barrier shelter to families and double the number of families they transition to housing. This grant coincides with Doorways’ current strategic initiative to determine the ideal model for sheltering families with complex needs, including survivors of domestic violence. This grant will help Doorways bring this vision to life. Doorways was selected as a Day 1 Families Fund grant recipient by an independent advisory board comprised of homelessness experts with experience in policy, advocacy, racial equity, child welfare and housing and service delivery, as well as firsthand experience in homelessness.

This year, the Day 1 Families Fund issued a total of $96.2 million in grants to 32 organizations across the country. The 2021 Day 1 Families Fund grant recipients are: ACLAMO; Adopt-A-Family of the Palm Beaches; Alabama Rural Coalition for the Homeless, Inc.; All Chicago Making Homelessness History; AACI (Asian Americans for Community Involvement); Building Changes and Africatown International; Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Santa Rosa; Colorado Coalition for the Homeless; Covenant House Alaska; Destination: Home; Doorways; Family Life Center; Family Service League; Friends of the Family; Homeless Action Network of Detroit; Homeward; LifeMoves; Lubbock Open Door; Mesilla Valley Community of Hope; Mid-Maine Homeless Shelter & Services; Mississippi United to End Homelessness; Newcap, Inc.; Orange County Asian and Pacific Islander Community Alliance (OCAPICA); Portland Homeless Family Solutions; Project Community Connections, Inc.; Rural Alaska Community Action Program (RurAL CAP); Sacramento Steps Forward; SHELTER, Inc.; Texas Homeless Network; The Link; TriCounty Community Action Agency, Inc.; and Union Station Homeless Services.

“In one of my darkest years, Doorways has been the light that kept me going when I felt like I had no more energy to fight for myself and my children,” said a client of Doorways. “Thank you to the donors and to all the staff that have been supporting and taking care of us during this pandemic.” 

The Bezos Day One Fund made a $2 billion commitment to focus on making meaningful and lasting impacts in two areas: funding existing non-profits that help families experiencing homelessness, and creating a network of new, non-profit tier-one preschools in low-income communities. The Day 1 Families Fund issues annual leadership awards to organizations and civic groups doing compassionate, needle-moving work to provide shelter and hunger support to address the immediate needs of young families. Since 2018, the Day 1 Families Fund has issued 130 grants totaling more than $398 million to organizations around the country working to combat homelessness and help families gain housing support and stability. The vision statement comes from the inspiring Mary’s Place in Seattle: no child sleeps outside. For more information, visit www.BezosDayOneFund.org/Day1FamiliesFund.

About Doorways

Doorways creates pathways out of homelessness, domestic violence, and sexual assault, empowering clients to achieve safe and stable lives. Doorways’ trauma-informed approach addresses the cycles of abuse, homelessness, and poverty in a proactive and nimble way, meeting clients where they are and providing tailored support toward long-term stability. Doorways partners with clients to break cycles of abuse, homelessness, and poverty in a proactive and client-centered way, empowering healing journeys that enable long-term stability. To learn more and join Doorways today, visit www.doorwaysva.org

Doorways and Safe Space NOVA Launch New Inclusive Sex Ed Program for Local LGBTQ+ Youth

You + Me = We: Queer Sex Ed

Doorways and Safe Space NOVA are pleased to announce the launch of a new educational program focused on healthy relationships and sexual health for queer youth. The “You + Me = We: Queer Sex Ed” program will use a hybrid virtual and in-person setting over the course of four sessions that will give participants the chance to learn and ask questions about body autonomy, consent, safer sex practices, communication and boundary-setting, and more.

The goal of the program, facilitated by Doorways’ Prevention Specialist Scotney Young and Of Colors Healing, Jerry St. Louis, is to educate and empower LGBTQ+ youth to help them develop the skills needed to practice safe dating, build healthy relationships, and avoid unhealthy relationships and abuse.

“When it comes to sexual and relationship health education, it is not ‘one size fits all,’” said Jordan Costen-Sumpter, founder of Safe Space NOVA. “LGBTQ+ youth deserve sexual health education that is inclusive of their experiences, identities, and relationships while making sure they have accurate information to stay safe and healthy. This program is more than just sex education, we’ll offer tips and tools to help youth feel safer and empowered in love, like, and anything in between.”

Participants will be eligible for prizes including gift cards and more, for every session they attend with the chance to earn up to $20 in gift cards for attending. Free breakfast and snacks will also be provided. Transportation assistance is also available for anyone who needs it.  

The program will begin on September 18 and will run through mid-October. Full schedule is below:

  • September 18 – Orientation and introductions (in-person)
    • 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. 
  • September 25 – Session 1 (virtual)
    • 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. 
  • October 2 – Session 2 (in-person)
    • 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. 
  • October 9 – Session 3 (virtual)
    • 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. 
  • October 16 – Certificate and party (in-person) optional attendance
    • 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. 

For more information or to register for the “You + Me = We: Queer Sex Ed” program, visit safespacenova.org/programs.

About Safe Space NOVA

Safe Space NOVA is dedicated to providing a safe, accepting, and supportive environment to combat social stigmas, bullying, and other challenges faced by LGBTQ+ youth. For more information, visit safespacenova.org.

Doorways Opens Little Library to Empower Survivors and Children to ‘Dream Bigger than They Could’ve Ever Imagined’

Doorways opened its very own little library to ensure families have a variety of books at “home,” even while they are living in a shelter. Research shows many positive impacts of growing up with books at home and being read to as a child, including a million-word boost in vocabulary by kindergarten. Beyond that, books can open entire worlds to their readers.

The library is part of Doorways’ ongoing diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) initiatives. Its curated collection features diverse characters, perspectives, and experiences to empower children to see themselves in stories, as well as those who are different, to help them build confidence, empathy, and understanding. Current titles include The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson, Skin Like Mine by LaTashia M. Perry, and The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo, plus more.

“Our multilingual collection of books was carefully selected to share characters and stories from all over the world. These books are a representation of our community and our deepest desire for all of our clients and neighbors to feel welcome and belonging,” said Doorways’ President and CEO Diana Ortiz. “This little library allows each of us to see ourselves in beautiful stories and inspires us to see the courage and bravery of our own narratives.” 

Doorways celebrated the library’s official opening with a small gathering of supporters, including its founding sponsor Zarina Ram, architect Jim MacGregor, and artist Alina Sagatov. 

“In all of creation we were given this unique gift and power,” said Ram. “The power of language and words give us the ability to inspire, to create, to connect. My wish is that this little library will give women and children who have survived oppression a chance to experience empathy by walking in another’s shoes through the books they read; an escape to a world beyond that which they know, which will inspire them to dream bigger than they could’ve ever imagined; and a platform to create a future that enables them to realize their deepest desires and passions so they, too, can one day say they were able to live their best possible life to the fullest because they were not alone, felt connected, and could put words to what they already know inside – finding courage and empathy to express and manifest that which is within through the words and journey of another.”

Doorways is a community-based nonprofit providing shelter, supportive housing, and services for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, as well as youth and families experiencing homelessness. Learn more and get involved at www.doorwaysva.org/donate.

Doorways Named ‘One of the Best’ Nonprofits by the Catalogue for Philanthropy

Doorways Named ‘One of the Best’ Nonprofits by the Catalogue for Philanthropy

As it Celebrates its 18th Anniversary Working in the Greater Washington Region, the Catalogue for Philanthropy is Proud to Honor Doorways

WASHINGTON, D.C.—June 2, 2021—After an intentional application and selection process, the Catalogue for Philanthropy: Greater Washington has selected Doorways to be part of the Class of 2021-22. Doorways has undergone a rigorous review process conducted by a team of more than 170 local community advocates, and has been found to be a critical local nonprofit. Potential donors can be confident that the nonprofits in the Catalogue are worthy of their support.

Doorways is the only community-based nonprofit serving survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault in Arlington and the City of Falls Church. Doorways serves survivors as well as youth and families facing homelessness across their entire journey, from shelter to independence, with supportive housing and programs like mental health counseling, financial guidance, and employment counseling. Doorways seeks to address the cycles of abuse, homelessness, and poverty in a proactive and nimble way, meeting their clients where they are and offering them support that enables long-term stability.

This year, more than 70 percent of the organizations featured in the Catalogue are women-led, and over 40 percent are BIPOC-led, including Doorways. The Catalogue network now includes more than 400 vetted nonprofits working in the arts, education, environment, and human services sectors throughout the region.

“People want to get involved in their community—they want to make a difference, close to home. Based on our rigorous review process, we believe that Doorways is a critical local nonprofit in our region,” said Matt Gayer, Co-Executive Director of the Catalogue for Philanthropy.

“We are so honored to be named ‘one of the best’ by the Catalogue for Philanthropy, reflecting Doorways’ decades-long track record of success in our community, and the daily commitment of our hardworking staff and volunteers to serve,” said Diana Ortiz, President and CEO of Doorways. “We believe that violence, abuse, or homelessness have no place here, or anywhere. But we also know the difficult truth: as many as 1 in 3 people are abused, and almost one-third of those experiencing homelessness are families and children. We know that our Black neighbors, people of color, immigrants, and the LGBTQIA+ community are disproportionately impacted by these traumatic experiences. We are grateful to the Catalogue for recognizing Doorways’ unique role in serving Arlington and the City of Falls Church as absolutely essential.”

The Catalogue believes in the power of small nonprofits to spark big change. And they believe in Doorways to continue to further that positive change, working each day to lift up, strengthen, and enrich our local community.

The Promise of Healing and a Safe Community for All

While our country has taken a firm step towards healing and accountability on the Derek Chauvin trial this week, we recognize that our work is far from done. Our sense of relief is brief and countered by other tragic occurrences, including the deaths of 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant, 13-year-old Adam Toledo, and 20-year-old Daunte Wright.⠀

Doorways joins many local, regional, and national leaders and organizations in this journey towards hope and meaningful change, witnessing and actively working to dismantle the pervasive systems of oppression that affect the lives of many of our clients, staff, and supporters.⠀

As an anti-violence organization, we recognize that the loss caused by abuse will not be restored, and the pain will not go away easily, but the promise of healing and a safe community for all remains our anchor and motivation today. Our commitment to peace and justice continues as we work towards creating pathways out of homelessness, domestic violence, and sexual assault, leading to safe, stable, and empowered lives.

Open Letter Supporting Trans Women and Girls

Doorways joins GLADD and more than 465 feminist leaders standing in solidarity with transgender women and girls in honor of Women’s History Month and Trans Day Of Visibility. See the open letter now.

“We acknowledge with clarity and strength that transgender women are women and that transgender girls are girls. And we believe that honoring the diversity of women’s experiences is a strength, not a detriment to the feminist cause. All of us deserve the same access, freedoms, and opportunities. We deserve equal access to education, employment, healthcare, housing, recreation, and public accommodations. And we must respect each person’s right to bodily autonomy and self-determination.”