After assisting crime victims for almost two decades, a local non-profit program is in need of help following recent state mandated funding cuts.
On Tuesday, March 17, the Crime Victims Support Services of the North Bronx Inc. officially announced their spring fundraising campaign via Razoo, an online crowdfunding site, which aims to raise $60,000 for program costs.
“The financial viability of our program depends on a mixture of funding from elected officials, grants, donations, and of course, our own fund raising efforts,” Joanne Cicero, CVSS executive director explained.
“Crime doesn’t take a vacation. There’s no time off and crime does not discriminate. Victims are of all ages, from all walks of life, all creeds, all races, every corner of society. We are working very hard so that victims don’t have to struggle alone to overcome the impact of crime,” she added.
On June 20, 1995, Cicero’s 17-year old son, Paul was senselessly murdered by a violent street gang searching for someone else that night. This prompted her to become a veteran advocate for crime victims’ rights for 20 years.
“I knew I was never going to be myself again, but I realized that I could help other people in similar circumstances because I went through it,” Cicero revealed.
Founded in 2005, CVSS provides clients assistance in filing for compensation from the New York State Office of Victims Services which covers funeral expenses, loss of income, medical bills, mental health services and job retainment among others.
The program’s trained advocates provide comprehensive direct services and support to underserved victims of crime and violent crime throughout New York City’s communities.
CVSS provides free services as crisis therapy, counseling, personal advocacy, criminal justice advocacy, court accompaniment, homicide support groups, domestic violence advocacy, lock replacements, as well as information and referrals for clients.
Further, this non-profit guides clients through the criminal justice system and provides them access to assistance from other governmental and private agencies.
Last year, the state revamped the competitive Request for Proposal process by making it online accessible.
Cicero said CVSS was awarded a three year contract effective October 1 and was spared from closure unlike 18 other non-profit state programs.
She explained the program’s funding was cut over the last year by NYS OVS, however the funding they did secure does not cover all of CVSS’ operating costs.
Cicero added 20% would need to be raised in order to cover these particular expenses.
Funds CVSS received last year from the city and state would also aid the program’s cause to a degree.
To contribute your tax-deductible donation, visit www.razoo.com/
If interested in donating and/or fundraising for CVSS, click on the box labeled ‘Fundraise for this Cause’ located on the lower right-hand side of their Razoo page.
“It’s not only a question of finding the funding, but it’s also about raising awareness about victims’ rights and the service we offer to all New Yorkers,” Cicero divulged. “There is so much more work to be done to support innocent victims of crime. We seek to continue this program and the only way to do that is to be able to meet our operating costs.”