DelcoReviewSummer2017 - 32

A Consummate Professional
Submitted by Rita Buckley Connolly
Former Executive Director of the Domestic Abuse Project (DAP)
DAP was founded in 1976 as part of
an effort to provide safety, advocacy
and supportive services to victims of
domestic abuse not otherwise available within Delaware County. Today,
DAP remains the sole Delaware
County provider of services exclusively to victims of domestic violence
in all 49 municipalities.
Empowering victims of abuse and
domestic violence prevention are core
to DAP's mission and accomplishments. Annually thousands of victims of abuse and their children
are supported through the 24/7 hotline, emergency safe shelter,
counseling and legal advocacy.
In addition to direct services to victims of domestic violence
and their children, DAP maintains Nana's Attic Thrift Store.
Opened in February of 2002 as a source of earned income for the
Agency, the thrift store is also a resource for residents of the safe
house and their children.
DAP continues to rely on community support to meet the
needs of victims of abuse. Get involved!
Please enjoy the read below as Rita Buckley Connolly,
former Executive Director of the Domestic Abuse Project,
presents the award, in her name, to one who has served the
Domestic Abuse Project and supported its mission.
Good Evening Everyone.
Tonight's awardee is well known to all of us. She served on
DAP's Board of Directors with distinction from 2009 to 2016
including as President of the Executive Committee and the Board
of Directors from 2012 to 2016.
A consummate professional - blessed with countless skills
and abilities - I would like to focus tonight on three areas of contributions she made to the Agency: governance, fund development, and programs and services.
First, let's talk about governance.
Today's best practice standards in human services management focus aggressively upon the governance capacity of the
organization. In the old days, pure volunteerism was coveted,
boundaries were loose and dedication and hard work were prized
over specific skills and competencies. Under our awardee's leadership, huge strides were made in the governance capacity of
the Agency. The annual Board of Directors Retreat was begun
and became the core vehicle for major goals and objectives and
strategic planning initiatives, as well as the occasion for critically
important Board education and training. These annual gatherings

32 | Summer 2017

produced enhanced ties between and among Board members
and senior management, as well as tangible achievements such
as the first Board Assessment Survey, creation of the new Board
Governance Committee and the completion of the Agency's first
Succession Plan. New, talented Board Members were recruited to
service during her tenure: Honorable Stephanie Klein, Kathleen
Gavel, Tamela Luce, Lyn B. Schoenfeld and Chief Tom Murray
among them. And, the Honorable Jack D. Lippart commenced
his second "tour of duty" on the Board.
Her accomplishments in governance were so impressive that
she was the only Board President - among the 62 domestic
violence agencies in the Commonwealth - to be honored by Peg
Dierkers, former Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Coalition against Domestic Violence. She was recognized for her leadership ability by PCADV at the Agency's annual Board meeting
in 2014.
Let's turn to fund development.
Our awardee was directly responsible for significant new
private funding for DAP during her tenure including the Patricia
Chandler Trust, The Dietrich Botstiber Foundation and The Eleanor Roth Charitable Trust. DAP was among the only domestic
violence agencies in the Commonwealth to receive prestigious
general operating funds from The Philadelphia Foundation following a rigorous on-site evaluations and review. (This award
was only made to human service agencies recognized as models
- as leaders - within their field.) During her tenure as President,
the Lily Foundation awarded the largest single gift to the Agency
in its history and in the 20+ year history of giving by the Foundation. Last, but not least, DAP's annual United Way funding allocation increased during her tenure from $8,500 to $66,138. All
of these fund development achievements were directly due to the
hands-on, direct involvement, personal reputation, and considerable advocacy of our awardee.
And, last, let's take a brief look back in time at DAP's program and service capacity.
Under our awardee's years of leadership, DAP truly evolved
into one of the finest domestic violence agencies in the Commonwealth. Not my characterization, but the characterization of credible review and funding entities. While the Agency has offered
one of the most sophisticated ranges of programs and services
throughout its history, several new initiatives began:
* The Lethality Assessment Project was launched, collaboratively binding Counseling and Delaware County law
enforcement to collaboratively identify and assist the most
serious domestic violence cases.
* DAP commenced its "mobile legal clinics" in a partnership
with the District Attorney's Office and Women Organized
against Abuse, bringing needed legal services and outreach
to impoverished, isolated communities in our County.


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