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Posted: May 26, 2022

Two years ago this month, the NoVo Foundation stunned the nonprofit world by announcing at the height of the pandemic that it was halting funding for critical programs focused on women and girls. For those of us working to prevent gender violence, the announcement hit especially hard. NoVo, a fund run by Jennifer and Peter Buffett, accounted for 96 percent of all funding for such work in the United States.

Today, many antiviolence organizations are still navigating the impact of NoVo’s exit — underscoring the overall dearth of philanthropic investment in curbing gender violence, and in women and girls more broadly.

Kaethe Morris Hoffer, executive director of the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation, told us that “the impact on our programmatic capacity has been real. We’ve only been able to avoid layoffs by the skin of our teeth and currently have to leave open a number of positions that we value but simply don’t have the resources to support.”

At our organization, Sanctuary for Families in New York City, NoVo was by far the largest foundation supporter for more than a decade, enabling us to launch and ultimately expand our Anti-Trafficking Initiative, which provides legal, case-management, counseling, and other services to 400 trafficking survivors annually.

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