The public launch of an $8-million fundraising campaign for Gillian's Place has received an immediate boost from the Marotta family.
A $1.5-million gift will establish the Marotta Family Centre for Violence Prevention and Outreach Support, a news release said, adding: "Through renovation and expansion, Gillian’s Place will add five more private bedrooms with ten additional beds, and more areas designed to build on wrap-around support provided through community outreach services.
"This $8 million campaign will fundamentally transform the level of trauma-informed care Gillian’s Place can provide for women, sexual and gender-diverse folks, and their children who have experienced gender-based violence."
With this lead gift and others from individual donors, corporate gifts, and foundation partners, Gillian’s Place has raised over $5 million toward its goal.
The Marotta Family Centre for Violence Prevention and Outreach Support will see a three-storey, nine-thousand-square-foot expansion to the Gillian’s Place St. Catharines facility. In addition, the centre will be home to a new outreach counselling department, designed for women who require support but not safe shelter.
Demand for this type of service has increased by 105 per cent since the pandemic’s start, with survivors requiring more intensive and interconnected levels of support. The centre will also house expanded areas for legal advice and support, transitional housing and support, the domestic violence response initiative, community education, and violence prevention programs. Many of these programs and services either did not exist or have significantly increased since 2008, when Gillian’s Place converted the former Victoria Public School to its current operations.
“We are honoured that our longstanding friends and supporters, Angela Marotta and Melissa Marotta-Paolicelli, and their family entrusted Gillian’s Place with this gift," said Executive Director Nicole Regehr. "This gift comes at a critical time in our organization’s history when calls for safety and support are at an all-time high. In the last three years, we have responded to a 90 per cent increase across all areas of our programming. The new centre will help us to respond to this growing need effectively."