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Women Against Abuse Receives Good Governance Award from the Philadelphia Foundation!

Media Contact

Betsy Anderson, Communications Director
The Philadelphia Foundation

Carol Goertzel, President/CEO, Pathways PA,;
(o) 610-543-5022;
(c) 610-331-3060

Katie Young Wildes, Director of Fund Development and Communications,
Women Against Abuse;
(o) 215-386-1280, ext. 116;
(c) 267-240-4960

PHILADELPHIA, PA (09/23/2013) – Women Against Abuse has been named a recipient of the H. Craig Lewis Good Governance Award by The Philadelphia Foundation.

The award recognizes organizations that exemplify the finest traits in nonprofit leadership, including board governance, fiduciary responsibility and strategic thinking. A $5,000 grant has been presented to Women Against Abuse as part of its recognition.

The awards are named in honor of a past chair of The Philadelphia Foundation’s Board of Managers, who retired from the board in 2005 and who passed away earlier this year. Members of the Lewis family were on hand Sept. 18 to present the awards in a ceremony at The Foundation offices.

It is the second year the awards have been presented. Last year’s recipients were Maternity Care Coalition and William Way LGBT Community Center.

Twenty-four organizations applied for recognition this year. Each completed a lengthy application that sought information on the organization’s board leadership and composition and whether components such as a leadership, succession, or strategic plan were in place.  Submitted along with the application was the nonprofit’s most recent IRS Form 990, which provides detailed information on the organization's mission, programs and finances.

Six finalists selected by foundation staff members were reviewed by the Grantmaking Committee of The Philadelphia Foundation Board of Managers, which includes representatives of the Foundation’s Board as well as representatives of the Southeastern Pennsylvania community.

“We are delighted to honor these worthy nonprofits,” said R. Andrew Swinney, Foundation President. “Both of these organizations exhibited the most comprehensive board development strategies, self-assessments, organizational evaluation and planning.”

“This recognition is very much in keeping with our work of strengthening the nonprofit sector in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties,” Swinney added.  “Other organizations in the region would do well to emulate the governance examples they set.”


Pathways PA

Pathways PA  helps women, teens, children and families achieve economic independence and family well-being. The organization’s vision is that "one day, families we serve will feel safe, lead healthy, self-reliant lives, and become positive contributors to their communities."

It was selected for the Lewis Award for its overall established board processes as well as its role in a process through which Women In Transition (WIT) became a subsidiary organization of Pathways.
The Board of Directors has led Pathways to receive national recognition and awards. The board is comprised of community members who bring necessary skill sets and who then are oriented to the organization, in part through being paired with experienced board members who act as mentors.

Every three years, PathWays updates its Strategic Plan. The process is led by a volunteer Strategic Planning Consultant and the Board, with the resulting plan utilizing input from the President/CEO and the executive team in developing the nonprofit’s strategic goals. The Board regularly assesses its own role and accomplishments in quarterly reviews of the plan’s goals and outcomes. The board also annually completes a self-assessment of its performance that is led by the Board Development Committee.

The Pathways Board drove the decision-making process to bring Women In Transition on as a subsidiary organization. The process began in 2011, when the Board reviewed WIT’s financial documents and other materials before determining that a formal relationship between the two organizations, which both serve women, made sense.

The Pathways Board Chairperson then worked with WIT’s Board President to create a joint Governance Committee, whose members had legal experience and organizational management expertise in bringing two organizations together. The Committee made several key decisions regarding the governance of the subsidiary relationship, including the structure of the combined organization, the responsibilities of the boards for the two organizations, leadership, fiduciary management, oversight and board composition.

The boards for both organizations focused on macro-level issues -- such as the financial impact on both organizations and the risks and benefits for both organizations and their consumers --while the Governance Committee focused on operational details. This helped to keep the process moving forward and ultimately led to a successful partnership.

For more information about Pathways PA, please visit


Women Against Abuse

Women Against Abuse (WAA) provides comprehensive services and advocates for victims of domestic violence in Philadelphia. The organization serves 15,000 individuals each year through emergency and transitional housing, legal services, behavioral healthcare, hotline counseling, community education and advocacy.

It was selected for the Lewis Award for its overall board processes.

The WAA board is highly involved in strategic planning. This includes comprehensive needs assessment, evaluation of available assets and market analysis, planning retreats at which staff and board members identify goals and assess agency core competencies, and drafting of the plan with review by staff and board.

The board annually assesses itself using questionnaires and committee analysis. The WAA board also has a written approved succession plan, which addresses short-term and long-term absences and communication plans.

In addition, the board is engaged in its fiduciary responsibility and reviews quarterly financial statements at each board meeting.
In the past year, WAA has solidified support for its services while unlocking ways to strengthen performance and maximize efficiencies. It improved services through adopting the Sanctuary Model®  to uphold a nurturing and trauma-informed culture across the agency.

To reach more clients with fewer dollars, it implemented the Legal Center’s Fast-Track Attorney Representation Program. To preserve and increase crucial resources for survivors, it expanded and rehabilitated its Sojourner House transitional housing program.

For more information about Women Against Abuse, please visit


About The Philadelphia Foundation

Since 1918, The Philadelphia Foundation has linked those with financial resources to those who serve societal needs. It is the region’s community foundation, serving Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties.

In 2012, through the support of donors who have established component funds, it awarded 1,716 grants and scholarships totaling more than $24.6 million to 1,203 community organizations.

The Foundation’s ongoing financial support to these organizations is based on the conviction that strong nonprofits benefit the entire community. Nonprofits not only provide the structure to address a cause, present a program, build a neighborhood or support a particular community but also ensure the quality delivery of essential services, such as education and health care.

In doing so, nonprofits help the corporate sector attract a qualified workforce by improving the region’s quality of life and lessen the burden on government to provide a wide range of human services.

For more information, visit

Sara’s Story

Sara’s Story

Sara* was a victim of domestic violence who transformed into a strong and capable mother with support from Women Against Abuse.

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“We were just a couple trying to make a relationship work,” reflected Laticia.

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Dana’s Story

Dana’s Story

Former emergency shelter resident Dana*, intelligent and bright-spirited, worked hard for her credentials.

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Mike’s Story

Mike's Story

Mike, a former police detective with the Philadelphia Police Department, has been working as the police liaison for Women Against Abuse, so that he can help survivors in ways he couldn’t as a detective.

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Renee’s Story

Renee’s Story

Renee Norris Jones experienced 7 years of domestic violence at a time when few resources existed to help victims escape abuse.

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Doug Schoenberg’s Story

Doug Schoenberg’s Story

Doug Schoenberg, Co-Founder and CEO of SofterWare, Inc., recently provided a challenge match through the Schoenberg Family Charitable Fund as an incentive to help Women Against Abuse gain new monthly donors.

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William’s Story

William’s Story

William Spratley flicks through the text messages on his phone until he finds the one he’s been looking for. It’s from his 27-year old daughter, Ameya, and it’s the last words he will ever exchange with her.

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Georgina O’Hara’s Story

Georgina O’Hara’s Story

Pro bono representation provided by local law firms makes a meaningful difference for the thousands of clients seeking help at our Legal Center.

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Doreen Davis’ Story

Doreen Davis’ Story

Doreen Davis is a longtime supporter of Women Against Abuse who has used her expertise in traditional labor law to assist WAA for over two decades.

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Catherine’s Story

Catherine’s Story

When I first met my abuser, I was just 14 years old and he was 20. I thought I was in love, so I ignored the disapproval of my mom and sister.

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If you or someone you know needs help, call our toll-free 24-hour Hotline:


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