Social change work is hard and frustrating and wonderful and terrible; it is also, at times, funny, quirky and just plain fascinating. With this blog we hope to capture all that goes into what we do at Capital Good Fund, and we invite you to join the conversation!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014


Today was a good day.  Early this afternoon I hopped on my bike for the 8 mile ride from our office in downtown Providence to the Elizabeth Buffum Chace Center in Warwick.  It was one of those rides where you want to just open your arms and embrace the soft breeze; where you can't help but smile and feel optimistic about the world and good about life.

I was at the Chace Center, an agency that serves women affected by domestic violence and other forms of abuse, to talk about our products and services and ways in which we can collaborate.  In attendance were a group of court advocates and other case managers, all of whom immediately recognized the relevance of our work: so many of the women they serve face severe financial barriers as they overcome their circumstances.  For instance, the legal costs of divorce, custody disputes and eviction--costs that many domestic violence survivors must incur to move on with their lives--can be prohibitive; women are left with the choice to take out predatory debt or forgo the expense.

The caseworkers asked phenomenal questions and, I hope, got good answers from me; but what most inspired me--indeed, what gave me chills--was the feeling that here was a group of people committed to serving vulnerable women and their families, coming together to identify their needs and how to meet them.  There wasn't a question of why women need loans, why we charge interest, or why we don't do grants; the focus was entirely on how this will help the women, what they need to apply.  The participants were eager to start referring their clients, and I was equally eager to serve them.

As I stood up to leave I thanked everyone for the work they do.  They reminded me that the six main domestic violence agencies in Rhode Island serve about 10,000 women per year, and that that is but a fraction of the people in need.  For a state of just over 1 million people, well that is simply astonishing.  We have our work cut out for us, to be sure.  And it will take a lot of presentations to caseworkers, a lot of loan referrals and loan applications, a lot of counseling services, court advocacy, education and legal services, and a lot of funds for all of this, but at the end of the day we have to succeed: for the 10,000 women, for the thousands more in need, and for the soul of a nation stained by so much violence and so much pain.

On the ride back my heart was heavy, yes, but again I felt the cool air on my skin, felt the clear sky clearing my thoughts, and despite all the bad news around us I smiled, pedaled and allowed myself to feel optimistic about the world and good about life.

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