A Pandemic Grant’s Impact

July 29, 2021

An estate bequest from Dorothy M. Brogan established the W.R. and Dorothy Brogan Fund in 2007 “to provide financial assistance to low or middle-income working families in the Rochester Area Community Foundation region who are faced with medical or other types of emergencies or crisis for which other resources are not available.”

As you can imagine, the pandemic created a host of financial issues for many families. The Victim Resource Center of the Finger Lakes (VRC), a nonprofit that addresses domestic, sexual, stalking, and dating violence in addition to child abuse situations, received its usual requests for assistance with food and clothing but saw a sharp increase in requests for assistance with diapers, baby wipes, and school supplies.

More troubling was that calls to the VRC hotline doubled, the safe dwelling space was consistently full, and staff heard reports of more violence than in previous years. Perpetrators also got more sophisticated with stalking and tracking their victims, which required more cell phones to be replaced and new numbers issued.

But VRC staff told us that the annual grant of $17,000 it has received from the Brogan Fund for each of the past four years helped save at least one life. Here is what they shared with us:

“One client, as a result of her victimization, was experiencing severe mental health issues and thoughts of suicide. She was receiving counseling from both the VRC and a mental health provider. It was not enough — and there didn’t seem to be any good solutions. She was the sole caregiver and provider for four young children.

When it hit a crisis point, we were able to identify a 10-day, in-patient day program that would allow her to care for her children at night and on weekends while she was getting the care she desperately needed. We were able to support her by paying for daytime child care with a local licensed provider. She was able to work through the immediate crisis with the day program and continues to receive ongoing mental health care. In this case, we can certainly say that having these funds helped save a life.”

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