Anonymous Donor Gives $25,000 as a Match Challenge to Women's Restorative Justice Program

Jul 16, 2019


Christmas came early for the Women’s Restorative Justice Program (WRJP) or “Shirley’s Place” of The Salvation Army of Winnebago County. An anonymous donation of $25,000 was given to the program that provides transitional housing for recently incarcerated and addicted women and their children. For up to two years, a qualifying resident can live at “Shirley’s Place” while re-establishing her life in Winnebago county. Each resident receives case management, rehabilitation support, and financial and budgeting guidance, while either seeking education or employment. Education includes both GED and college credit or degree. WRJP supports the women in their quest to gain custody of their children and to rebuild family relationships through mentoring and family activities while living at Shirley’s Place.

The only program of its kind in Winnebago County, the success of the Women’s Restorative Justice Program is the women served through the program. Over the past few years, the outcomes included:

            • 80% residents obtained/retained employment

            • 71% residents maintained sobriety

            • 92% residents fulfilled legal obligations & did not return to jail on new charges

            • 100% of residents did not return to jail within 6 months of program graduation

The Women’s Restorative Justice Program has experienced significant financial challenges in the past year in that it lost over $100,000 in program funding from various funders. This Match Challenge is to help recoup and double the donations up to $50,000 by the end of the fiscal year on September 30th.

Major Mark Martsolf, The Salvation Army Winnebago County Coordinator, believes the challenge can be met thanks to the generosity of the donor who provided the gift and the community who will support the Match Challenge. Martsolf states, “We are elated to have received such a generous gift of $25,000 and to share the challenge with the community. We are ever grateful to the people of Winnebago County who care for women who are trying to rebuild relationships within themselves and with their children. Everyone deserves a second chance.”

Financial donations can be made online or by mailing a check to: PO Box 4159, Rockford, IL 61110. Cash donations can be dropped off at The Salvation Army Winnebago County Office, 520 Hollister Ave., Rockford, IL 61108.


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