On behalf of the Association of VAWA Administrators (AVA) Board we would like to thank all those who dedicate their time, expertise and experience in administering the Violence Against Women Act formula awards. As administrators, we understand the day-to-day complexities and challenges in administering VAWA funds, in addition to the other funds that many of us simultaneously administer. As we highlight the work AVA and its Board accomplished this year, we would also like to take a moment to recognize how far the organization has come. AVA’s membership has grown to 77% membership of the states and territories. Let us know what we can do for you.!
AVA is celebrating its 10th Anniversary! Established in 2007 as an initiative of several STOP Administrators who recognized that the most valuable tool for responding to administrators’ needs was to solicit input directly from administrators from all states and territories. STOP Administrators recognized that to effectively administer VAWA funds it would be useful to have a unified voice that could communicate directly with the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) and other national organizations on behalf of administrators and share this information in a peer setting. As a result, AVA was formed and has worked diligently to assist administrators in the day-to-day complexities of administering VAWA funds.
Formed as a peer-to peer resource, AVA has embraced that mission and over the past 10 years has worked to assist VAWA Administrators through technical assistance, providing a unified voice at the national level and with the OVW. We can report that AVA membership is at its highest, with 42 states and territories listed as members.
The Executive Director’s Report provides detail of the work completed by the Board and the organization during this past fiscal year, however, I want to take a moment to highlight some of this work.
- During the 2016 AVA Annual Meeting Administrators discussed the challenges with the Implementation Planning and a desire to extend the plans beyond the 3 years. AVA shared this information to OVW during our regular meetings. As a result, OVW took that recommendation and the plans are now 4 year plans.
- The AVA Board continues to work towards long term strategic planning and increasing AVA’s presence nationally to effect positive changes with VAWA and its administration. AVA continues to participate in national dialogues with OVW, NCHA, NAVAA and many national Technical Assistance Providers to raise awareness of the challenges and real implications on the administration of funds.
- AVA held two peer-to-peer meetings over the past year, of which both highly attended. These meetings have provided administrators an opportunity to meet with peers and discuss best practices, challenges, share tools, tips, and techniques to make the work we all do as administrators a little easier.
It has been a busy year for AVA, as we hit the milestone of our 10th Anniversary, it was bittersweet to announce the retirement of our long time Executive Director, Dorene Whitworth. Ms. Whitworth has been AVA’s fearless leader since the start of the organization, helping shape AVA into a peer-to-peer resource for VAWA Administrators, representing a centralized voice for AVA, its board, and members, in the continued advancement of effectiveness of VAWA administration. Although she will be deeply missed, we can only feel happy for her after many years of service to VAWA. Her accomplishments will always be there to remind us of how important her contributions have been.
With change, brings new leadership as we welcome our new Executive Director, Barry Bryant. Mr. Bryant, whose name might be very familiar to many, brings over 20 years of experience in working with communities to improve the way they respond to violence against woman, criminal justice, and juvenile justice related problems. He was one of the founding members of AVA and administered VAWA funds with the North Carolina Governor’s Crime Commission from the inception of the Violence Against Women Act in 1994. He retired from state government and has spent the past several years with HopeLine, Inc. as their Executive Director. His experience, credentials, and understandings of the Violence Against Women Act and the complexities for administering these invaluable funds are a great match for what VAWA Administrators need to meet the challenges which await us in the future.
As we move forward through the next year, AVA will continue to build upon our long-term goals of increased national presence during those vital conversations that impact VAWA and its administration, in addition to our efforts in mutually supporting our peers with our peer-to-peer meetings. We look forward to hearing from STOP Administrators about your needs and how we can continue to assist in those efforts.
To a safe, happy and fruitful year.