The criteria for selecting projects for Break the Chains and Stop the Pain grants are as follows:
- The purpose of the proposed project shall address violence against women and girls. The project may serve at-risk women and/or girls; it may serve women and/or girls who are survivors of violence; it may educate and empower communities to minister to survivors of violence, or empower communities to engage in anti-violence efforts.
- The proposed project must be related to an American Baptist 501(c)(3) organization (i.e., an ABC church, an ABC region).
- The proposed project must be new. The Break the Chains grants are intended to be “start-up” funds that encourage new ministries that address violence against women and girls.
- The proposed project must have plans for continued funding from other sources.
Virginia Holmstrom, executive director for AB Women’s Ministries, notes that “Break the Chains” has been a clarion call from American Baptist Women’s Ministries since 2007, compelling individuals, women’s groups, congregations, and organizations to help break the chains of sexual exploitation and violence against women and girls. Through awareness-raising and education, advocacy, fundraising, and empowering organizations with grants for new ministries, Break the Chains has touched the lives of women and girls around the world.
In 2008, contributions to Break the Chains provided nearly $140,000 for six grants in the U.S. and in other countries to begin new ministries dedicated to ending sex trafficking. The following year, AB Women’s Ministries similarly gave $170,000 in grants to launch an additional six ministries in the U.S. and in other countries. In 2010, $110,000 was awarded as grants to eight new ministries in the U.S. and other countries.
Holmstrom said that the Break the Chains project was to end in 2010, but the momentum of interest continued. American Baptist Women’s Ministries transitioned the project to a second phase, Break the Chains and Stop the Pain, studying the foundational issues underlying human trafficking, specifically gender-based violence. The subsequent contributions received in 2011 and the first months of 2012 were awarded as grants in 2012 to six new ministries: $5712 to projects in the U.S. and $5712 to projects in other countries.
AB Women’s Ministries will conclude the Break the Chains and Stop the Pain fundraising and Break the Chains grant program this year. Break the Chains contributions received between April 1, 2012 and April 30, 2013 will be awarded as grants this year to American Baptist-related individuals and organizations addressing violence against women and girls. “This truly is a last call for grant applications for Break the Chains funding,” said Holmstrom.
Submission guidelines and grant application forms for this last cycle of Break the Chains and Stop the Pain grants are available from AB Women’s Ministries Break the Chains website at www.abwmbreakthechains.org. The application deadline for the 2013 granting cycle is April 30, 2013. Grants will be awarded in December 2013.
Contributions to Break the Chains and Stop the Pain received after April 30, 2013 will continue to bring healing, wholeness, and hope to women and girls through the Women and Girls Mission Fund, created by American Baptist Women’s Ministries in 2012, to provide life-changing opportunities for women and girls in the United States and around the world. Holmstrom said, “We invite individuals and churches to bring positive change to women and girls worldwide by giving to the Women and Girls Mission Fund, AB Women’s Ministries, P.O. Box 851, Valley Forge, PA 19482-0851.”
American Baptist Churches is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with over 5,200 local congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.