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Nonprofit of the Month: The Shade Tree

Southern Nevada’s The Shade Tree offers a 24-hour accessible shelter to domestic violence and human trafficking survivors and their children and offers life-changing services that promote stability, dignity and self-reliance. Here, Gina Marie Strong, director of development for The Shade Tree, discusses how readers can help the nonprofit and its cause during Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

What prompted the start of the nonprofit? At the time, 1989, there was a great need for safe shelter for homeless and abused women and women with children. They sought out refuge in the basement of Saint Luke’s Episcopal Church, a place where they felt safe and received shelter and cots to sleep on. In 1990, diocese members, Junior League of Las Vegas and the City of Las Vegas collaborated to establish a permanent shelter after seeing the number of women and women with children who were seeking out shelter and resources. Born out of that unfortunate great need that continues to grow and evolve was The Shade Tree.

What is the greatest reward in being involved with the nonprofit? The greatest reward of being involved with The Shade Tree is knowing that you are making a positive impact in someone’s life every day. Our clients often come to our organization with none of their belongings and feeling overwhelmed from the trauma they have endured. Some come to us barely escaping death. Knowing that we can make an impact daily in someone’s life by providing them with the safe shelter, healing and resources–that they need to never return to a situation like that again–is what motivates all of us.

What is the biggest challenge the nonprofit faces? Has the pandemic affected the needs of The Shade Tree? Since the COVID-19 pandemic, we have experienced a rise in homelessness and domestic violence cases, while also seeing a decrease in funding. With the economic climate changing, we notice that support from our community has decreased in monetary donations. Fortunately, in-kind donations and the donation of previously loved goods have increased. Like many other nonprofits, we experienced a total loss of in-person fundraising for more than two years and have noticed that grant opportunities have become increasingly more competitive.

What are your goals for the remainder of 2022? Our goals for the remainder of 2022 are expanding and evolving our programs to meet our clients’ needs, acquire safe houses for high lethality victims and continue to secure unrestricted funding at our Once Upon a Gala, through our Giving Tuesday and Holiday Giving campaigns. Every year, it’s also an important goal for us to provide a wonderful holiday season for our clients and their children.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. What can readers do to help? Readers can help by making a monetary donation of any amount, donating goods from our seasonal wish list found on our website, volunteering, following us and engaging with us on social media and sharing our mission with their network. We also have purple candles in beautiful, engraved boxes available on our website for a donation. All funds support The Shade Tree’s clients and programs.

Does The Shade Tree have any events or fundraisers on the horizon? On Nov. 3, we will be holding our first gala in the last two years at Resorts World Las Vegas. Known as Once Upon a Gala, the event is open to the public and tickets are still available via our website.

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