Group to match funds for shelter

Organization asking community to join in efforts

A Columbus-based philanthropic organization is asking local residents to work with them to help some of the community’s most vulnerable this holiday season.

The Haddad Foundation has agreed to match all gifts up to $25,000 in the new “Make Our House a Home” campaign to benefit Turning Point Domestic Violence Services.

“We are really appreciative because it helps people to know their money is going to be doubled when they give,” said Kelly Geckler, a marketing and development specialist for the 41-year-old nonprofit organization.

All tax-deductible donations received by the end of the year through Giving Tuesday donations will be utilized to repair and upgrade the exterior of Turning Point’s 25-bed emergency shelter. That includes intricate brickwork to the 88-year-old, two-story building, Geckler said.

In addition, interior work is necessary to create a more welcoming, collaborative and confidential space for clients and staff to interact, Geckler said.

If the $50,000 goal can be raised by Dec. 31, the renovations will likely begin next year as soon as the weather allows, she said.

Turning Point works to prevent and stop domestic and dating violence. Emergency shelter is provided for adults and their children who are victims of domestic violence or sexual assault. The agency also provides intervention services for victims and assists them with filing protective order petitions and other legal issues. The agency also offers educational programs about domestic violence prevention.

Originating from the private charitable giving of Columbus Container Inc. owner Bob Haddad and his wife, Helen, the Haddad Foundation was founded in Columbus in 2002.

Over the past 14 years, the foundation has annually provided an average of $250,000 to almost 80 organizations, foundation president Bob Haddad Jr. said.

“We believe everyone should be treated with dignity,” Haddad Jr. said. “Unfortunately, some are not in today’s society, so it becomes necessary to step in and help.”

The foundation headed by Haddad Jr. and his three sisters — Tammy Burton, Tracy Haddad and Hayden Bishop — is perhaps best known for its contributions to education and the arts.  For example, the family donated the building at 315 Franklin St. in downtown Columbus to the Columbus Indiana Philharmonic earlier this year.

However, the foundation is also involved in causes that supports families and social justice, Haddad Jr. said.

It was the four siblings who control the foundation that initially approached Turning Point to ask how they might help, Geckler said.

“It’s an honor and a privilege to help them,” Haddad Jr. said. “Turning Point values human dignity, keeping families together and kids’ rights by assisting people who are marginalized.”

Through October, Turning Point had assisted 175 adults and 120 children, which is an overall increase of 22 percent over last year at the same time, Geckler said.

That includes providing 4,772 shelter nights, which is a 15 percent increase from the same time in 2015, she said.

Occurring this year on Nov. 29, Giving Tuesday is held each year just after Thanksgiving and the widely recognized shopping events of Black Friday and Cyber Monday as part of the kick-off to the holiday giving season.

Organizers describe Giving Tuesday, which began in 2012, as a global day of giving that harnesses the collective power of individuals, communities and organizations to encourage philanthropy and to celebrate generosity worldwide.

How you can help

Contributions to Turning Point’s “Make our House a Home” campaign may be made either online or by mail.

  • ONLINE: Go to turningpointdv.org and click on the #GivingTuesday button at the top of the webpage.
  • MAILING ADDRESS: Turning Point, P.O. Box 103, Columbus, IN 47202. Attn: Make our House a Home.

All donations must be received by Dec. 31 and are fully tax deductible as allowed by law.

For more information, visit the Turning Point Domestic Violence Services page on Facebook.

About Turning Point

Originally founded as the Columbus Women’s Center, Columbus-based Turning Point Domestic Violence Services has been assisting victims of domestic violence since 1975.

During its first five years of operations, clients were housed at the local Woodlawn Motel. But after Turning Point was incorporated on Aug. 6, 1980, the emergency shelter was opened in what had been a residence converted into apartments.

The 25-bed secure shelter now serves a seven-county area including Bartholomew, Brown, Decatur, Jackson, Jennings, Johnson, and Shelby counties.

Information: Visit turningpointdv.org

Author photo
Mark Webber is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at mwebber@therepublic.com or 812-379-5636.