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Organizational Capacity Building Award
Award Recipient: Karen Stahl, volunteer, Domestic Violence Center of Chester County
Nominator: Janet Moore, Board Member, Domestic Violence Center of Chester County
Award Presented By:  Lynn Shiner, Director, Office of Victims' Services
Ms. Karen Stahl initially contacted the Domestic Violence Center of Chester County (DVCCC) in 1997 with an interest in helping crime victims and meeting the agency's needs after assisting a family member who was a victim of domestic violence. In the ensuing 15 years, Ms. Stahl has been active with the DVCCC either through membership on the Board of Directors or the agency's Advisory Board. Ms. Stahl has furthered the mission of the DVCCC through her knowledge and professional experience in the financial services industry. Her skill as a Certified Public Accountant and determination to assist victims of domestic violence and their children has bolstered the organizational capacity of the DVCCC. Her efforts have not only ensured the financial stability of the DVCCC but have also helped domestic violence victims in their journey towards a violence-free life by providing safe housing and childcare.
Ms. Stahl has served in various positions on the DVCCC's board including Board President and Treasurer. Under her leadership, the DVCCC was certified with the Pennsylvania Association of Nonprofit Organizations (PANO) Seal of Excellence for its successful compliance with the Standards for Excellence program. This certification is bestowed only to the most well-managed and responsibly governed nonprofit organizations that have demonstrated compliance with 55 specific Standards for Excellence based on honesty, integrity, fairness, respect, trust, responsibility and accountability.
Ms. Stahl is credited with turning one of the most ambitious visions of the DVCCC into reality. This vision was to provide a haven for women and children on a long term basis. This haven would allow victims to live in peace, regain their independence and feel secure while receiving counseling for themselves and their children.
Ms. Stahl used her financial expertise to tackle this million dollar project. As a member of a local bank and an expert in tax codes and laws, she worked tirelessly to secure funding at the least cost to the DVCCC. While doing so she worked with the financial community to garner support for the project. The vision became the reality of 13 three-bedroom townhomes and an Early Care and Education Center. These townhomes have made a tremendous difference in the lives of women who have come to DVCCC to escape the violence in their lives. Not only has it provided a safe place for victims of domestic violence to live as they journeyed towards self sufficiency; it has also provided safe, quality care for their children while they worked.
In addition to the efforts described above, Ms. Stahl has gone above and beyond her Board of Directors responsibilities, proactively volunteering her time on numerous occasions to assist with community outreach programs and DVCCC fundraisers. Just to emphasize Ms. Stahl's commitment to the organization, it is worthy to note that she has also scrubbed floors at the DVCCC shelter!
On behalf of victims of crime and the victim service's field, we thank you Ms. Stahl for your innovation, collaboration and unfailing commitment to victims of crime.