Wilson Foundation strategic focus area #3: Prevention support will work to prevent traumatic events and the effects after experiencing an event, as well as preventing homelessness for families.
Our community has been funding programs for decades, with varying degrees of long-term success. It is a natural reaction to see a problem and to try to fix the immediate issue. But if we are drive change in our community, we need to also look at the underlying causes of the issue. We all know that prevention is important, but we also prioritize the immediate concern. The Foundation is striving to give the community the opportunity to also prioritize the root cause.
Because prevention is hard to measure it often becomes an excuse to not fund it, but if we can avoid the costly need for more intense program support down the road, the investment is worth it. We have too much trauma and too many people impacted by ACEs in our community. Data shows that stressed brains can’t learn, families face housing instability, and long-term health outcomes suffer as a result of ACEs and traumatic experiences. It isn’t enough to have a trauma responsive community. We need to build in a culture of reduced traumatic events and systems that give those who’ve experienced trauma what they need to be stronger and resilient.
Our funding strategy will have a direct correlation between the prevention effort and intended solution: housing stability, trauma prevention, resilience post-ACE. Examples could include:
- Family economic stability—a living wage increases housing stability
- Adult career and/or education training with pathways to better jobs
- Social and behavioral supports for children
- Trauma support for adult caregivers
- Eviction prevention
- Safe neighborhoods and crime prevention
- Domestic violence prevention and recovery
- Barrier reduction to proven prevention efforts like procedural changes, gap funding, etc.
- Using assessments to understand clients needs like assessment tool costs, staff time to implement and analyze, etc.
What we don’t intend to fund with our prevention strategy:
- Early childhood programs that one day may lead to adulthood housing stability
- Funding for basic needs
- Scholarship funding
Through our work together we hope to increase the quality and quantity of data-informed prevention programs so that more youth and families receive high quality preventative programs that are trauma-informed. We hope to increase the knowledge of systems and structures that impede prevention efforts so that barriers are reduced, and to increase the use of quality assessments to so the right services are used for the right people.
We don’t have all the answers for your next steps, but we are here as a resource and will do our best to guide you. Here are some additional resources to help you start:
Local resource guide on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) information
Finger Lakes ACEs Connect: a local site for sharing resources, ideas and needs
The Center for Disease Control information on the ACEs study and prevention