Futures Without Violence
Futures Without Violence (formerly Family Violence Prevention Fund) is a US-based 501(c)(3) non-profit organisation focused on ending domestic and sexual violence. Futures Without Violence is involved in community-based programs, developing educational material, and public policy work.
About Futures Without Violence
For more than 30 years, Futures Without Violence (previously known as Family Violence Prevention Fund) has been developing programs, policies, and campaigns that empower individuals and organizations working to end violence against women and children around the world. Providing leadership from offices in San Francisco, Washington D.C. and Boston, the national nonprofit organization strives to reach new audiences and transform social norms by training professionals such as doctors, nurses, judges, and athletic coaches on improving responses to violence and abuse. Futures Without Violence also works with advocates, policy makers, and others to build sustainable community leadership and educate people about the importance of respect and healthy relationships.
Esta Soler, President and Founder
Esta Soler's work to prevent violence against women has been featured on MAKERS, an interactive video and documentary project launched by AOL and PBS to showcase stories from trailblazing women. Recently, Soler delivered a TEDTalk charting 30 years of tactics and technologies—from the Polaroid camera to social media—that have shaped the movement to end domestic violence.
Soler’s awards include a Kellogg Foundation National Leadership Fellowship, a Koret Israel Prize, and a University of California Public Health Heroes Award. She is also the recipient of the Leadership Award from the Coro Center for Civic Leadership and the Mathew O. Tobriner Public Service Award from the Employment Law Center in San Francisco for pioneering work on behalf of women and children. Soler holds an honorary doctorate from Simmons College in Boston.
Background/ Early Life:
Esta Soler was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut in 1947. Her passion for the advocacy against domestic violence, or rather any violence, was sparked by a speech from Martin Luther King when he visited her hometown of Bridgeport, Connecticut. Soler graduated from Simmons College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1968, then went on to obtain her master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Connecticut. She began working as a social worker in San Francisco, California in 1971 where she assisted women who were in a drug treatment program. As she helped the women in this program, she learned many of the women were battered and that their traumatic experiences were a leading factor for their drug abuse. While working with the women in the treatment program, Soler also learned that police officers did not take domestic violence reports seriously, and many times turned their backs and let the abusers walk away with no punishment. Once Soler was made aware of the many issues regarding domestic violence cases and how police departments did not enforce any laws pertaining to domestic violence, Soler was determined to make a difference. In 1980, Esta Soler received a federal grant and founded the Family Violence Project. The grant money provided more funding and resources for education and training programs in response to domestic violence calls for police departments to undergo. This police response reform had great success and had a domino effect for police departments across the country.
Soon after the grant for the Family Violence Project and the nationwide police response reform concerning domestic violence cases, Soler partnered up with various organizations to form the Violence Against Women Act. The bill was drafted to provide more funding and services for domestic violence shelters across the country, to change the way police departments and court systems handled domestic violence cases, to provide more training and intervention programs concerning domestic violence, and helped support public education campaigns nationwide. The Violence Against Women Act was passed on September 13, 1994. Domestic violence has decreased 80% since 1980 as a result. The Family Violence Project was later renamed as Futures Without Violence (FWV) in 2011 and is still a leading non-profit organization today. Esta Soler still serves as the founder and President of the non-profit and has helped the organization become recognized across the US and worldwide. FWV is known for its anti-violence education programs, domestic violence advocacy campaigns, and intervention and prevention of domestic violence. Soler is constantly working to continue to spread the success of her organization, and is currently fighting to pass the International Violence Against Women Act. Soler wants not only the US to have access to the education and prevention of domestic violence, but wants the message to be spread worldwide.
Public Service Campaigns:
Soler helped launch the “That’s Not Cool” public service campaign in 2005. The campaign serves to prevent dating violence amongst teens and teaches young-adult couples how to properly handle their anger, disagreements, etc. Soler also was involved with the “Coaching Boys into Men” and “Founding Fathers” campaigns. These campaigns are more geared towards young men and provide educational programs about domestic violence, and how violence is always wrong and never the answer. The campaign serves to provide helpful tips for young men to deal with anger in healthy ways and instill the message that anger and violence do not mean power in a relationship.
Involvement in Other Organizations/Companies:
Esta Soler has built quite the reputation for her advocacy for domestic violence and her non-profit organization Futures Without Violence. Her impressive background has given her many opportunities to help other organizations and provide her services to help even more individuals. Soler is a trustee for the Blue Shield of California Foundation, which strives to better the lives of underprivileged Californians by making healthcare more assessable and ending domestic violence. She serves on the board of The Center for Family Policy and Practice, which provides more opportunities for low-income parents to help better the future for themselves and their families. Soler has been a consultant and/or advisor for various organizations including the Center for Disease Control & Prevention, the Aspen Institute, Soros Justice Fellowship Program, and many more. Soler was a member of the Violence Against Women National Advisory Council when it was co-chaired by Health & Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala and Attorney General Janet Reno.
Esta Soler has achieved so much and really paved the way for domestic violence advocates across the world. Since the start of her career Soler has now received numerous awards honoring her dedication and hard work. She received the Kellogg Foundation National Leadership Fellowship in 1998, the Koret Israel Prize in 1995, the University of California Public Health Heroes Award in 1998, and was honored by the Center for the Advancement of Women for advancing the power of women worldwide in 2004.
Shaping Public Policy
Futures Without Violence was a driving force behind passage of the Violence Against Women Act of 1994—the nation’s first comprehensive federal response to the violence that plagues families and communities. Congress reauthorized and expanded the law in 2000, 2005, and 2013. The organization is now working with advocates, policymakers, and more to spearhead efforts to pass the International Violence Against Women Act to prevent gender-based violence on a global scale. .
Coaching Boys into Men
In 2001, Futures Without Violence and the Advertising Council launched a public education campaign called Coaching Boys into Men. This media campaign encourages men to talk to the boys in their life about the importance of respect and nonviolence. The Coaching Boys into Men media campaign includes television, radio, and print public service announcements in multiple languages.
In 2004, Coaching Boys into Men expanded from a media campaign into a sports-based program for athletic coaches to lead with their young male athletes. The Coaching Boys into Men Coaches Leadership Program includes tools and resources to guide coaches in talking to their athletes about respect, non-violence, and relationships. The CBIM Coaches Kit includes the CBIM Playbook, CBIM Card Series and additional support materials for coaches to lead weekly activities with their athletes throughout the sports season.
Coaching Boys into Men also includes work outside of the United States. In 2007, Futures Without Violence and UNICEF partnered to develop and distribute an International Coaches Manual that includes quotes and endorsement from stars such as David Beckham, Emmanuel Adebayor, and Thierry Henry. The International Coaches Manual is available in English, Spanish, French and Portuguese. In 2009, Futures Without Violence began an initiative with the Nike Foundation to develop a cricket-based Coaching Boys into Men program in India.
Start Strong: Building Healthy Teen Relationships
Start Strong: Building Healthy Teen Relationships is the largest initiative ever funded to target 11- to- 14-year-olds and rally entire communities to promote healthy relationships as the way to prevent teen dating violence and abuse. A national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) in collaboration with Futures Without Violence, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Blue Shield of California Foundation are investing $18 million in 11 Start Strong communities across the country to identify and evaluate best practices in prevention to stop dating violence and abuse before it starts.
The RESPECT! Campaign is a social action campaign designed to promote respect in relationships and increase awareness about the positive role everyone can play to help end and prevent relationship violence and abuse. The RESPECT! Campaign is a multi-year initiative supported by Macy’s, the national founding partner and exclusive retailer of the official RESPECT! bracelet.
That's Not Cool
In 2009, Futures Without Violence and The Advertising Council launched That’s Not Cool, a national public service advertising campaign that uses digital examples of controlling behavior online and by cell phone to encourage teens to draw their own line about what is, or is not, okay in a relationship. This multimedia campaign, created pro bono by R/GA, includes an interactive website, mobile component, television, radio, print, outdoor, posters, and Web ads. The PSAs direct audiences to visit www.ThatsNotCool.com, where teens can find tools to “draw their own digital line” and a forum to discuss this form of abuse and seek help.
Futures Without Violence provides health care providers with the resources necessary to identify and respond to domestic violence. The organization hosts the biennial National Health Conference on Domestic Violence, convening the nation’s leading medical, public health, and domestic violence experts from across the U.S. to advance the health care system’s response to domestic violence. The organization is the nation’s clearinghouse for information on the health care response to domestic violence and provides technical assistance and materials to thousands of people each year through the National Heatlh Resource Center on Domestic Violence. The Center is one of five specialized domestic violence resource centers in the country funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Futures Without Violence’s National Judicial Institute gives judges guidelines, education and materials to ensure that their courtrooms provide real help to victims of family violence.
Early Childhood Trauma
The Futures Without Violence Children’s Initiative works with domestic violence and batterer intervention programs, child welfare agencies, and community organizers to build collaborations and partnerships that promote safe and healthy families. As the national technical assistance provider of Attorney General Eric Holder's Defending Childhood Initiative to prevent and reverse the impact of early exposure to violence on children, the organization leads the prevention, intervention, treatment, and community organizing strategies used by every Defending Childhood site across the nation.
Domestic and Sexual Violence Prevention in the Workplace
Futures Without Violence's Workplace Project is a collaboration with employers and unions, and offers an online resource kit which includes items like sample workplace domestic violence policies, education and training materials, case studies, and resources.