Safe Passage to launch public phase of capital campaign

  • Safe Passage’s new building at 76 Carlon Drive. gazette staff/Bera Dunau

  • Left to Right: Safe Passage Director of Development Sarah Smith, Safe Passage Executive Director Marianne Winters, Safe Passage Board of Directors President Natasha Yakovlev and Capital Campaign Committee Chair Kathy Elkins are seen at a Wednesday press conference. Bera Dunau—Bera Dunau

Staff Writer
Published: 5/10/2019 11:30:57 PM
Modified: 5/10/2019 11:30:45 PM

NORTHAMPTON — Safe Passage, the longstanding domestic violence prevention nonprofit, will launch a public phase of its capital campaign on Tuesday.

The private phase of the campaign has already raised more than $760,000 in pledges and gifts toward a $1 million goal by Sept. 30. The campaign is seeking to finance Safe Passage’s new building at 76 Carlon Drive, which the organization moved into last July 1.

“We put so much thought into the design of the space,” Sarah Smith, director of development at Safe Passage, said at a press conference announcing the campaign last Wednesday. “It really is ideal.”

Safe Passage Executive Director Marianne Winters noted that the building has allowed Safe Passage to increase its staffing and programming. Prior to the relocation, the nonprofit operated from three different offices on Center Street.

“We were at the point in our old offices where we were unable to hire additional counseling staff,” Smith said. “Additional program staff of any kind.”

Safe Passage now has two staff specifically for LGBTQ and gender non-conforming/nonbinary survivors, which builds on previous services the nonprofit provided for these communities. The location also has more accessible parking than in its downtown offices.

“The parking (before) was so stressful for many of our clients,” said Smith.

The building also provides survivors with a private, secure waiting area.

Natasha Yakovlev, president of the board of directors of Safe Passage, said that while the organization could still function without a capital campaign, it would just squeak by.

“It doesn’t do our survivors justice,” she said.

Kathy Elkins, the chair of the capital campaign committee, said that the response in the private phase has been “incredible.” And she said that showing people the building has helped with it.

“It makes it a very easy ask,” she said.

The public phase will be kicked at an open house event from 5 to 7 p.m. at the new building.

Bera Dunau can be reached at


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