April/May/June 2016 Freeman Flash

Hi, everyone!  With so much going on at EFC, we’re a bit behind in sending out the Flash, so there’s lots of news to catch up on:

  • Responses to Orlando, the light sentencing of convicted rapist Brock Turner, and the Supreme Court’s recent immigration ruling
  • Berkshire Leadership Program Class of 2016’s capstone project for EFC
  • A list of the support groups currently running at EFC – come check one out!
  • Welcoming Jesi, our new South County counselor/advocate
  • Heartwarming cookie news from the Hinsdale Girl Scout Troop
  • and more.

Click on the image below to read all about it.

Freeman Flash, June 2016 - page 1


February/March 2016 Freeman Flash

Happy spring!  We’re welcoming the new season with our latest newsletter.  Click on the image below for exciting updates on:

  • A proposed state bill (“Act Relative to Child-Centered Family Law”) that poses an immediate threat to families affected by domestic violence, and what you can do to help stop it
  • Joining us for our Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month events
  • A pajama party fundraiser for EFC on April 2nd
  • Welcoming our latest class of volunteers
  • Money School is booming – sign up for our next series
  • EFC is hiring a Finance Specialist
  • and more.

Freeman Flash, February-March 2016 (page 1)

Money School Returns

Workshops to be offered in Pittsfield and Great Barrington

PITTSFIELD, Massachusetts: Elizabeth Freeman Center’s financial independence series for people impacted by domestic or sexual violence will offer its second year of classes starting mid-March.

“Money School” is a five week series for survivors that covers topics like rebuilding credit, accessing benefits, building supports, getting by now, and action planning.  It was created through a partnership between Elizabeth Freeman Center and the American Institute for Economic Research.

A $125 stipend will be offered, as well as free dinner, childcare, one-on-one financial coaches from local banks, networking with other resource providers in the community, and ongoing supports.

Many times survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault are left struggling financially.

“Money School is not your typical financial education program,” said Becca Bradburd, Director of Operations at Elizabeth Freeman Center.  “It recognizes that for most people, especially those who are living through or recovering from trauma, it can seem impossible to get ahead.  In Money School, we provide economic advocacy, social capital, financial know-how, and ongoing support to get people where they want to be financially – whether that’s being able to go to school or have an emergency fund or rebuild credit or something else entirely.”

The first series of five workshops will run on Tuesday evenings, March 15th-April 12th, in Pittsfield.  The second and third series will be held in Great Barrington and again in Pittsfield starting in late April.  All workshops are 5:00-8:00pm, with food, childcare, and a stipend provided.

To register for any of the series, contact Donna at Elizabeth Freeman Center, 413.499.2425 x613 or

Money School is made possible by strong community support, including grants from Guardian Life Insurance Company, TD Charitable Foundation, Berkshire Bank Foundation, and MountainOne, with additional in-kind support from the bankers at Greylock Federal Credit Union, TD Bank, Berkshire Bank, NBT Bank, and Lee Bank.


EFC-Logo-2015-RGBElizabeth Freeman Center is the domestic and sexual violence response center for Berkshire County.  Each year, it provides leadership and services to over 3,000 survivors in Berkshire County and offers violence prevention education to almost 1,000 youth in area schools.

aierlogo_PMS3015_Acronym_Name_stackedThe American Institute for Economic Research provides independent research and critical analysis of economic and financial issues. AIER researchers provide ordinary people with expert advice and insight they can use to improve their lives and communities. For more information, visit


January 2016 Freeman Flash

Happy new year!  Kick your year off right by catching up on all the latest from Elizabeth Freeman Center.  Click on the image below for news on:

  • Our new volunteer training starts January 19th.  Join us!
  • Money School is back – sign up for our winter Pittsfield series
  • How we are marking Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
  • The joy our Holiday Project donors bring to families
  • Welcoming new staff
  • And more

Freeman Flash, page 1

Berkshire Eagle letter to the editor, Dec. 21: Domestic violence a community problem

Letter: Domestic violence a community problem

To the editor:

The week before last, Halena Irene Gill was murdered and police have arrested her husband. We at Elizabeth Freeman Center are greatly saddened by Ms. Gill’s tragic death and our deepest sympathies go out to her family and friends.

Though we do not yet know all of the circumstances of her death, Ms. Gill would be the 17th victim of murder by a spouse or partner in Massachusetts this year. This figure is shocking. It also cannot be understood outside the context of domestic violence. Domestic violence is devastating and it happens a lot, often behind closed doors with no clear clue for outsiders. We know this and sadly, we have known this for a long time.

For well over 20 years, studies have shown that one in three American women and one in ten American men are beaten, stalked or raped. We know that domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to girls and women between the ages of 15 and 44. We know that abuse can happen to anyone — of any income level, race, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, or ability — and is deserved by no one. We know that it happens here in Berkshire County: our rate of restraining orders is 28 percent higher than the state average, and in the past 10 years, one-third of the approximately 18 murders in the county are domestic violence homicides. Perhaps most significantly, we know that violence is preventable.

For all that we as a society know, domestic violence is still shrouded in silence. Victims are still blamed for “tolerating” the violence. Society spends few resources on services to help violence survivors get safe and build a new life. Society spends even fewer resources on violence prevention programming, particularly for our youth who can be taught to talk or walk instead of hit. Violence prevention education is our greatest hope for breaking the patterns of violence.

Nothing can excuse cruelty and violence. In the names and memories of Halena, Rebecca, Julie, Michelle and all those who have been murdered or beaten up or beaten down or raped or terrorized by their partners, spouses, dates or family members, we will charge forward. The tragedy and loss caused by domestic violence must be acknowledged and prioritized. It can be stopped. This is a community problem and we as a community must respond.

Elizabeth Freeman Center provides 24-hour services to survivors of domestic, dating and sexual violence. If you sense something is wrong with someone you know, reach out to them in private. If you hear fighting or angry shouting next door, call the police — it is better to err on the side of safety. If you are worried for yourself or someone you know, if you are being bullied, beaten, or belittled by someone, call us. You can reach us any time, any day, toll free, at 866-401-2425. Our services are free and confidential. We don’t believe in telling survivors what to do, what to want, or how to proceed. We believe in offering concrete support, information, and help whenever and as often as needed. You are not alone.

Janis Broderick and Jane Lawless, Pittsfield

Janis Broderick is executive director and Jane Lawless is president, Board of Directors, Elizabeth Freeman Center.