The following is an interview with Cordelia Heaney (C), Executive Director of Compass Center for Women and Families, conducted by Julia Da Silva (J), Programs and Scholarships Associate.
J: Tell me a little about the Compass Center.
C: Compass Center for Women and Families helps all people navigate their journey to self-sufficiency, safety, and health. We empower individuals and promote equal access to opportunity regardless of gender or economic status. Our services include career and financial education, domestic violence crisis and prevention programs, assistance with legal resources, and youth health programs. Compass Center serves over 6,000 people in our community each year and works with over 200 volunteers.
J: What’s something most people don’t know or are surprised to discover about the Compass Center?
C: People are often surprised to learn that our career and financial counseling services are FREE, open to anyone in the Triangle, and that you don’t have to be a survivor of domestic violence to use them. Also, clients are not limited to a set number of sessions, and we can work with clients over years and support them long-term on their career and financial journeys.
J: What’s something exciting you’re working on or that’s coming up for the Compass Center?
C: We have several new projects launching in early 2019! Starting in January we will be offering housing assistance for up to 120 days and mental health services for survivors of domestic violence and their children. We are also growing our financial counseling capacity, and will now be able to offer sessions in Spanish.
J: The Compass Center has had an Agency Fund at the Foundation since 1997, opened by the Women’s Center before they merged with Family Violence Prevention Center to form the Compass Center. What was the thought process or intention behind its creation?
C: The Agency Fund serves to support the long-term sustainability of Compass Center, so that in both good financial times and bad we know that there is support for the vital services we offer in our community.
J: What do you feel are the benefits to having an Agency Fund at the Foundation?
C: Having an Agency Fund with the Foundation helps us be a part of the community of non-profit supporters in the Triangle. Not only does the fund itself help continue Compass Center’s work, but we know that this investment is helping to sustain Triangle Community Foundation’s work to support the non-profit sector overall. It is especially exciting to have an Agency Fund with Triangle Community Foundation now as they work to support non-profits tackling women’s issues with their “What Matters: Women” project, which so closely aligns with Compass Center’s own gender-equity work.
J: How have you been able to use the funding over the years?
C: The domestic violence, self-sufficiency and youth health education work we do requires administrative support to fully support these services, and general operating or administrative funds are often under- or unfunded by grants. Having the support from our Agency Fund helps us make up the difference, and makes room for us to use other fundraising dollars for special projects.
J: What’s something the Foundation could do to better support our Agency fundholders?
C: We are always looking for help with connecting to more community members who want to help support us, and letting them know that one way they can do so is to give to our Agency Fund with Triangle Community Foundation!