The Initiative is a victim advocacy organization for people with disabilities who have experienced abuse and we specialize in domestic violence and women with disabilities. National Crime Victims Survey (NCVS) reported that the data demonstrate that women with disabilities are 40% to 90% more likely to become victims of crime, specifically abuse than able-bodied individuals in general. Furthermore, domestic violence and disability are two leading causes of homelessness in our community as 70% of the clients are homeless women with children. The Initiative honors all forms of disabilities and all forms of abuse to receive services.
In 2018, The Initiative provided free and confidential advocacy to 378 clients and 401 of their children. Additionally, The Initiative provided free educational presentations to 22 different service providers and groups from the criminal justice system to address systemic and cultural barriers for people with disabilities. This was successfully completed with a small budget and 4 staff members. Through the Direct Service and Outreach programs; The Initiative strives to support and empower survivors as they overcome barriers to safety. The Initiative is the only organization in Colorado, and one of a few in the United States, providing the specialized services that are so critical to abuse survivors with disabilities.
Unfortunately, The Initiative faced a serious challenge this past winter.
The 23-year-old nonprofit had outgrown its 1,200-square-foot -space near downtown Denver. With the old lease about to expire, the nonprofit faced the possibility of making do with an unpredictable month-to-month lease and too little space. Worse yet, the real estate broker in charge of finding a new spot for an organization that serves hundreds of homeless women and children, had vanished.
“I felt incredibly stressed and wasn’t sure if we had to settle for temporary office space or had to stay in our space for another year,” said Ashlee Lewis, the nonprofit’s executive director Lewis said “Then we met Ellory Read from Benchmark Commercial and she was our hero! Ellory was very kind professional, who prioritized us with our time restraints and had the patience of an angel that showed us many, many properties until we found the perfect one for us. The new office space is spacious, modern, and beautiful with all the features that we were seeking, at a great location, with unlimited free parking. Ellory also negotiated a great rate for us for the remainder of this year, which allows us time to work towards collecting more funds to cover our rent for the upcoming year. Ultimately at the end, because of the impeccable service that Ellory provided, this move was not stressful at all. We are so grateful to Ellory for providing such great customer service and ultimately at the end, we have made a friend and a lifelong realtor as we keep growing.”
The Initiative had sought a much larger space and needed a building that came with a kitchen and with unlimited parking.
“Ellory was so patient with our needs,” Lewis said. “She made everything so easy for us.”
Read, , an Associate Broker and a creative thinker with experience assisting nonprofits, also worked out a favorable lease that allowed the nonprofit to move into a 2,800-square-foot space on March 1. The deal came with a reduced rental rate until the end of the year. The savings meant a lot and provided sufficient time for the nonprofit’s team to apply for grants to cover a rent increase set to start Jan. 1 2020.
“It was such a pleasure working with The Initiative to help them find their new beautiful office space,” Read said. “The work they provide for persons with disabilities that are victims of abuse is so important. This non-profit has a big and successful future ahead; finding them a new office space was fun and rewarding!”
For additional information about The Intiative, visit www.theinitiativeco.org.