Just imagine that you are traumatized after freeing yourself from an abusive partner and you're not sure how you're going to support your children or where you are going to live. All you know is that you don't want to go back. Without proper support though, you might believe you have no choice...
Unfortunately, 8900+ people per year across Massachusetts face this reality.
Walnut Woods- Make a Miracle: A two year nature-based educational intensive and transitional home for mothers who are dedicated to transforming, healing, and regenerating their lives after the impact of domestic abuse.
Currently a non-profit 501(c)3 under Angels for Angels and working towards an independent 501(c)3 status.
Please take a moment to watch the 5 minute video below, telling our story. Together we can ensure that a comprehensive and regenerative program is created to assist mothers and their children in transforming their experience.
In Western Massachusetts, like many rural communities, families in crisis are faced with the crushing reality that adequate affordable housing is scarce. Long term emotional, mental, sexual, physical and financial abuse often impacts one's self esteem, has limited their circle of support and causes depression. Even worse, a stable life may remain out of reach unless someone gives them the opportunity to heal and change their story.
In order to redefine her life, a vulnerable mother first of all needs access to a safe secure home for herself and her children. In addition, she is far more likely to heal and make lasting changes when she can learn to embrace her self-worth, discover her capabilities, and recognize her intrinsic value.
The WALNUT WOODS vision is to offer education programming, tools and support necessary for a mother and her children to regenerate their lives while also providing a safe, transitional home in a nature-based environment. Each family has their own private unit while sharing community spaces.
Our first goal is to purchase and transform a sprawling New England farm into a communal home and healing environment The Walnut Woods Project will serve as a unique model for future development of more affordable, transitional homes and educational programs for rural families in across the country.
In addition to rent, state-funded vouchers, grants, and private contributions, we intend to utilize farmland to grow herbs and cut flowers to sell within our greater community to assist Walnut Woods in delivering a sustainable and regenerative mission.
We support the transition of women we partner with in integrating back into the greater community after their two-year transition program is complete.
We need to raise $175,000 to launch this dynamic program.
I'm Julie Bishop, the Founder and Executive Director of Walnut Woods. As an international best selling author of the book - Thrive Anyway and Integrative Master Coach, I've partnered with women to rebuild their lives for the past 7 years. My 26 plus year career in housing and development began as vice-president of a Baltimore design firm, designing senior living facilities for individuals with severe impairments. I presently work for a local non-profit as an administrative team member providing homes and programming for vulnerable populations. My life took a temporary dive in 2011 when I myself faced homelessness as a result of domestic abuse.
Facing homelessness, suffering from post traumatic stress syndrome and struggling to find affordable rentals was one of the scariest experiences of my life. It was one of my darkest hours and vowed to help others going through this journey. I’ve stood in "their shoes", literally.
My experience is not untypical. Domestic Abuse does not discriminate. With almost three decades of private and non-profit management, I have joined the mission to see that all families in crisis in Berkshire County and our tri-state area have an affordable roof over their heads so that they can sustain not only their basic needs, but experience a healthy life.
No parent and their children should have to consider camping or living in a car for a permanent living solution, it is a not sustainable option in the Northeast.
There are too many good, hardworking, intelligent women and their children in Southern Berkshire County who are at a vulnerable dip in their lives facing homelessness after having the courage to leave an abusive relationshop.
Let’s change this!
Over the past 7 years, I rebuilt my life with the help of others who believed in and supported me. In keep true to my word even as I was struggling, opening my home and investing in six other women and their children, one family at a time. Each were fleeing domestic abuse or other difficult life circumstances - searching for safety, friendship and security. This experience inspired Walnut Woods - a collaboration with other area organizations to enhance the mission to provide services and homes to these women.
PLEASE join us in making an INVESTMENT to do the same for area mothers and their children. Starting with five families with hopes to expand to twenty families to provide transitional and permanent homes to serve over 600 individuals over the next 10 years.
Our community is stronger and more vibrant when everyone’s needs are met, because each of these women who were helped are just like me and you.
The women I have personally given a safe place to heal are now thriving back in our community, making a difference- as a nurse, school teacher, interior designer, brand marketing specialist, homemaker, non-profit administrator.
Walnut Woods recognizes that our Berkshire community has the unique ability to work together to create and change social conditions. Basic needs of shelter, food, and clothing is the imperative first step. Together, we can promote a safe and healthy community.
DID YOU KNOW?
• In a one day count in January 2018 there were 2899 people in Western Massachusetts who were literally homeless.
•Statewide, there are over 8,900 CALLS PER YEAR on the domestic violence hotline asking for shelter. 85% who request shelter were denied due to lack of available housing options.
• As of 10/10/18 , 60 PEOPLE IN OUR COMMUNITY ARE ON A WAIT LISTS for temporary housing, 31 of them are women and of those women, 10 of those are facing homelessness because of domestic violence, abuse, or tragic circumstances.
• One of the top reasons women stay in domestic violent relationships is financially based fear.
• Domestic violence does not discriminate and it affects everyone, no matter the race, gender identity, or socioeconomic status. It’s impact ripples into our community.
• The closest "safe shelter" displaces south county children and their mother's from their circles of support and schools.
• There are ZERO safe beds and only 10 transitional beds in Southern Berkshire County.
• There are fewer than 26 shelters specializing in domestic abuse with just over 400 beds in the entire state of Massachusetts to accommodate the 8,900 calls for shelter. The need is tremendous!
• Our state is giving vouchers to city hotels to manage the need. Together we can change this reality.
• The current housing provided to the southern berkshires has very limited to no vacancy because the need is great. Construct Inc. (10 beds) and The Elizabeth Freeman Center (10 beds)
The demand is high. It is imperative that domestic violence victims have access to support within our community without having to flee the county or state to find shelter and support.
These courageous women and their children need our support at the most vulnerable moment in their lives.
There is something that can CHANGE THEIR FATES, and we are asking for you to please INVEST in our community and these families. Together we can place a roof over their heads. Not just any roof either, but a true home.
WHAT DOES YOUR INVESTMENT DO?
Help us to secure the purchase of a safe, secluded farm in South County so by December 25, 2018, Walnut Woods can create a transitional home for 5 mother’s and their children (and their pets too) for up to two years.
$25 could provide transportation to work and school for 1 week
$50 could provide a day of childcare
$100 could provide 1 week of groceries
$250 could provide 1 week of childcare
$800 could provide 1 month's rent ( based on fixed state rate for low income families)
$1000 could provide 1 year of transportation to work
$2500 could provide 1 month of childcare, rent, groceries, transportation, personal care supplies and incidentals for 1 family
$5000 could provide 1 month of childcare, rent, groceries, transportation, personal care supplies and incidentals for 2 families
$12,500 could provide all 5 families with all of the above for 1 month.
OUR CROWDFUNDING GOALS:
ESSENTIAL FUNDING GOAL $175,000 to secure real property & begin support and educational services to five families.
Many of the following items could also be sponsored by corporations, local businesses, and in-kind donations. Feel free to contact us to discuss further.
1. Down payment on a large farmhouse with large septic capacity, land tract and barns for use in the programming.
2. Lift deck & minor repairs to ensure code requirements 7,300
3. Lawyer Fees 6,000
4. Full Cost to Deliver Home, Goods, Services, Supports, Insurance, etc. without Product Sales 48,124
5. Bedroom furnishings and linens for 5 suites 15,250
Assorted furniture for community classroom/rec room, living room, dining room, and eat-in kitchen 18,000
6. Two desk/chairs, 7 computers - 1 for each family and 2 for staff, and additional office supplies 2,000
7. A computer server, two laser printers, Internet, copier 2,000
8. Several file cabinets and shelving units 1,250
9. House phone (cellular) 900
10. Security system with cameras, night vision and monitor 1,190
11. Install hard wired fire & CO2 alarms & extinguishers 2,750
12. 3 Sets of stacking washers & dryers, vents & plumbing 5,760
13. Fencing, update barns for animals for therapeutic program 4,000
7 %Fiscal Fee
PHENOMENAL GOAL of $895,000
this investment will:
• Accomplish all the above +
• Move the mother’s and children in on or before Christmas 2018
• Secure a vehicle(s) to transport to jobs, programming, school
• Update all the communal living spaces, suites, and bathrooms
• Expand the Suites to include loft spaces
• Complete the workshop space where the programming can take place
• Cover the costs of the project programming for one year
• Make improvements to the property.
• Begin planning gardens and vocational training
Specific breakdown available upon request.
MIRACLE GOAL of 2 million
this investment will:
• Create an endowment that would SUSTAIN the original project INDEFINITELY - yearly helping 65 individuals through the dip in their lives and building a stronger future for our community.
• Create a strategic master plan and zoning for the property to include more permanent and sustainable affordable housing while meeting the state’s requirement in each township.
•Master plan for land use and business planning for potential income streams that will help project remain sustainable.
Invest together to make our community healthier and stronger.
We know how quickly these campaigns can grow if supported and if shared with the masses. Yes, we need your help to contribute what you are able, and to help it go viral so Walnut Woods can reach this goal.
Use these hashtags when sharing on social media
HOW YOU CAN HELP TODAY
1. Donate what you can, no amount is too small.
2. Share on all social media with hashtags #WalnutWoods #MakeAMiracle
3. Email this GoFundMe link and these steps to all contacts you know
4. Leverage any avenue you have to make t.his go viral (or send leads/tips/questions to [email redacted])
5. Ask your employer to do a donor match.
6. If you have goods or services you can provide, we will accept in-kind donations that are approved. Contact info is at the end.
WHERE IS YOUR MONEY GOING?
Our guarantee is that 100% of the funds raised here will go toward making our mission possible. We are currently racing against time to secure this property before it is snatched up by a developer.
It could immediately house these five mother’s and their children by the December 25th of 2018. What a g ift - a true Miracle!!
Your investment will get this project up and running and provide so many other families the hope and a chance at a new and healthier life for years to come.
***Any investments received above our 1 million goal will go directly into an interest bearing account and be used to further the mission at Walnut Woods***
This project means the world to these families who currently are waiting for a home where they can feel safe and supported. Given all that is happening in the world that we don’t have control over, Walnut Woods is something that will make a lasting difference. I am grateful for the experience and opportunity that is at hand. Thank you for investing in your community and in us.
Your donations are now tax deductible as we are operating under the fiscal sponsor Angels For Angels 501(c)3.
If you would like to invest by check, please make it out to
and send to either:
Walnut Woods Foundation
PO Box 386
Great Barrington, MA 01230
(and we will forward it)
or directly to:
Angels for Angels
12704 8th Ave SW
Seattle, WA 98146
For a detailed Case for Support please message us here or [email redacted]
Blessings to Those Who Have Walked This Path: Janel, Melissa, Meagan, Julie, Natalia, Anastasia, Anaelisa, Jackie, Hilary, Nancy, Mikka, Paula, Dianna, and so many others whose names will remain in my heart forever.
Filming & Support: Colin J. Stevenson
Photos & film editing: Julie Bishop
Logo Design: Natalia Bystrianyk
Photos: Pexel photographers: Josh Willink, Matheus Bertelli, Singkham,
DonationsSee top donations
- Thomas Berry
- Julie Bishop
- Amy Shetler
- Diana Richter
- Gillian Panchy
Fundraising team: Walnut Woods Project Team (2)
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