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Live Mutual: Breaking the cycle of domestic violence

Kelly Kowalski, Cliff Noreen, and Bronwyn Shinnick

Posted on February 05, 2021

Karen Setzko is a communications consultant for MassMutual.
Live Mutual: Breaking the cycle of domestic violence

Raleigh Lang, a principal of Twin Financial, was initially drawn to the nonprofit Rose Brooks Center through lunch with a client. After joining the organization, she discovered she shared the executive director’s vision to “break the cycle of domestic violence” so that individuals and families can live free of abuse.

Rose Brooks Center’s mission is to change lives and help not only women, but men and families as well. The center offers a full continuum of services that impact the lives of approximately 14,000 individuals annually. In addition to helping with basic needs, affordable housing, and food, programs provide wrap-around supportive services critical for the independence of those at high risk for housing instability and poverty. The center also educates community partners such as the police department, civic officials, area hospitals, and other social service organizations about domestic violence and how to best support those affected by it.

Making a difference

As board president and member of the executive and finance committees, Lang has been instrumental through her leadership and support of the center’s fundraising efforts and initiatives that make a difference. Recently, she dealt with the onset of COVID-19 by working out a strategy for new operations, policies, and procedures while striving to maintain services during the crisis.

With 15 years of service behind her, Lang is recognized for her commitment and readiness to lend a hand, whether in a time of immediate urgency (such as the COVID-19 pandemic) or ongoing activities like fundraisers and introducing new people to the center. Her interactions are sincere, dynamic, trustworthy, and insightful. She stands out for her commitment that comes from caring about her community and dedication to the Center’s mission.

Her work also earned her a MassMutual Foundation Community Service Award in 2020 and a $10,000 grant for Rose Brooks Center.

Grant to fund two key initiatives

With the emergence of COVID-19, the center quickly incurred unbudgeted expenses in operations and client assistance.

“The $10,000 grant,” Lang said, “will go toward funding operations, staffing, remote access, and keeping victims of domestic violence safely and confidentially housed during both ongoing crises and especially during these unpredictable times.”

More specifically, the grant will fund two key initiatives: education and diversity.

“I’m especially proud of our Project SAFE initiative, which provides trainers who create public school curricula to help children affected by domestic violence work through and change their behavior,” she said.

Lang’s other passion is increasing awareness about diversity.

“We are not a very diverse board, but we serve a diverse population, so we need to educate ourselves and other community members and be open to looking at our community differently. We’ve made progress here and I’m honored to be a part of diversity awareness,” she said.

Coming full circle

One of her most memorable experiences is participating in the “Walk in her Shoes” fundraising event. This interactive educational initiative helps people in the community learn what it’s like to experience domestic violence and “walk through” the different opportunities and barriers a person may encounter. This event was her initial introduction to the center, and through her participation she feels she has come “full circle.”

The MassMutual Foundation will award 32 CSA grants this year: two $25,000 Platinum Awards, 15 $10,000 Gold Awards, and 15 $5,000 Silver Awards. A total of $275,000 will be paid directly to eligible nonprofits in the name of the winning financial professionals.

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The information provided is not written or intended as specific tax or legal advice. MassMutual, its employees and representatives are not authorized to give tax or legal advice. You are encouraged to seek advice from your own tax or legal counsel. Opinions expressed by those interviewed are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of MassMutual.