The DTE Foundation announced it will award $1 million in grants to all 45 domestic violence shelters funded by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) to help alleviate the significant financial and operational stress the shelter system has sustained due to COVID-19. These grants – awarded in observance of Domestic Violence Awareness Month – will better position shelters to meet the unique needs of domestic violence survivors during the pandemic, and to continue to provide the sanctuary, resources and support survivors need to find hope, build resiliency and heal.  

This $1 million commitment comes less than a year after the DTE Foundation awarded $400,000 in grants to domestic violence shelters funded by MDHHS. 

“At the DTE Foundation, our aspiration is to be a force for good in communities across Michigan, and achieving that aspiration begins and ends with developing stable households and families,” said Lynette Dowler, president, DTE Foundation. “That’s why we’re taking a stand and expanding our commitment to addressing the basic human needs of domestic violence survivors across Michigan. Through the DTE Foundation’s $1 million commitment – and partnerships with shelters statewide – we’ll continue to create new pathways to safety and independence for survivors, and ultimately a healthier, more vital Michigan.” 

COVID-19’s detrimental impact on Michigan’s survivors and shelter system  

For many domestic violence survivors, the pandemic has worsened dangerous situations statewide. The increased time survivors and perpetrators have spent in their residences during the pandemic has, in general, expanded perpetrators’ access to survivors and reduced survivors’ opportunities to call for help.  

“One in four women and one in seven men will experience abuse by an intimate partner in their lifetimes; that means our very own friends, family members and colleagues are represented in these statistics,” said Dowler. “Their stories often go untold, but today, through our voices and platform, the DTE Foundation once again declares this is simply unacceptable. We’ll continue to use our resources and influence to bring conversations about domestic violence to light, reduce the stigma associated with discussing this epidemic and speak loudly and passionately on behalf of those whose voices are often unheard.” 

Domestic violence shelters in Michigan are struggling to meet surging demand for services and support, and to cover new expenses driven by the pandemic. These unexpected expenses include increased cleaning and sanitization; COVID-19 testing; heavier reliance on hotels and motels due to reduced bed counts required to meet safety guidelines (beds are down about 50% statewide); and cancelled/postponed fundraising, among other factors. The DTE Foundation’s $1 million commitment was approved to help alleviate some of the financial and operating stress the shelter system has sustained since the pandemic began.  

“COVID-19 has forced shelters and service providers to adapt daily to the ever-evolving and unpredictable nature of a global pandemic,” said Debi Cain, executive director, division of victim services, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. “The steadfast support of our partners at the DTE Energy Foundation helps ensure local service agencies continue the important work of advocating for, and providing resources to, domestic violence survivors – and their families – throughout Michigan.” 

How DTE Foundation grants will be allocated to shelters  

Grants of $10,000 or more will be awarded to Michigan’s 45 MDHHS-funded shelters based on bed count. These grants will support critical expenses at each shelter and allow shelters to deliver holistic survivor-centric services and support that develop independence and empowerment. These initiatives include, but are not limited to employment, housing and transportation assistance, and support services that help survivors navigate the complex criminal justice and health care systems – two primary barriers to independence.  

This funding will also help shelters develop and deploy domestic violence awareness and prevention initiatives, engage employees and members of their local communities, and motivate other organizations to support this important cause.   

Dowler encourages the Michigan business community to join the DTE Foundation in the fight against domestic violence.   

“As Michiganders blessed to be in positions to do so, it’s incumbent on us – our state’s business leaders – to continue to elevate conversations about domestic violence, remove the stigma attached to those conversations and drive positive, meaningful change within our organizations and across our communities,” said Dowler. “Whether through awareness and advocacy, employee support initiatives or financial contributions, I ask organizations statewide to stand alongside the DTE Foundation and do what they can to shine a bright light on domestic violence, and in turn create more stable homes, healthier families and a state that will lead our nation forward in this space.”  

More information about domestic violence and a list of resources can be found on the National Domestic Violence Hotline website. 

Domestic violence shelters eligible to receive DTE Foundation grants 

  1. Catherine Cobb Safe House, Adrian
  2. Hope Shores Alliance, Alpena
  3. SafeHouse Center, Ann Arbor
  4. A.F.E. Place, Battle Creek
  5. Bay Area Women’s Center, Bay City
  6. Children and Family Services of Southwestern Michigan/Safe Shelter, Inc., Benton Harbor
  7. Women’s Information Service, Inc., Big Rapids
  8. Cadillac Area O.A.S.I.S, Cadillac
  9. Barbara Kettle Gundlach Shelter, Calumet
  10. HDC/Thumb Area Assault Crisis Center, Caro 
  11. Branch County Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Coldwater 
  12. YWCA of Metropolitan Detroit/Interim House, Detroit 
  13. Alliance Against Violence and Abuse, Escanaba 
  14. YWCA of Greater Flint/SAFE House, Flint 
  15. YWCA of West Central Michigan, Grand Rapids 
  16. River House, Grayling 
  17. Domestic Harmony, Hillsdale 
  18. Resilience, Holland 
  19. LACASA, Howell 
  20. RAVE – Ionia/Montcalm 
  21. Caring House, Inc., Iron Mountain 
  22. DOVE, Ironwood  
  23. AWARE, Jackson 
  24. YWCA of Kalamazoo, Kalamazoo 
  25. Baraga County Shelter Home, L’Anse 
  26. End Violent Encounters (EVE), Lansing 
  27. Lapeer Area Citizens Against Domestic Assault, Lapeer 
  28. Communities Overcoming Violent Encounters, Ludington 
  29. CHOICES of Manistee County, Manistee 
  30. Women’s Center/Harbor House, Marquette 
  31. Shelterhouse/Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, Midland 
  32. Family Counseling and Shelter Services of Monroe County, Monroe 
  33. Turning Point, Mt. Clemens 
  34. RISE, Mt. Pleasant 
  35. Every Woman’s Place, Muskegon 
  36. Women’s Resource Center of Northern Michigan, Petoskey 
  37. First Step, Plymouth 
  38. HAVEN, Pontiac 
  39. Blue Water Safe Horizons, Port Huron 
  40. Underground Railroad, Saginaw 
  41. Anishnaabek Community and Family Services, Sault Ste. Marie 
  42. Diane Peppler Resource Center, Sault Ste. Marie 
  43. SafeCenter, St. Johns 
  44. Domestic and Sexual Abuse Services, Three Rivers 
  45. Women’s Resource Center Grand Traverse Area, Traverse City  

To learn more about localized Michigan services, resources and organizations that support victims of domestic violence, please visit the here.