Christmas came early for four non-profit agencies.
Earlier this month, the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office donated $45,000 in asset forfeiture money to the Women’s Center, One Safe Place, Alliance for Children and the Texas District and County Attorneys Foundation.
The organizations were each mailed a check, along with a letter from Tarrant County District Attorney Joe Shannon, praising them for helping protect the community and making it a better place to live.
“I know I speak for all 325 of our attorneys and support staff when I say thank you and your organization for all that you do…” Shannon wrote in each of the letters.
Shannon said the donations were made possible this year because of two big forfeiture infusions — one from a gambling operation crack-down and the other from a bootleg cigarette bust. He said the state forfeiture statute was amended in recent years to permit donating asset forfeiture funds to certain non-profit organizations which assist victims and prosecution efforts.
“This is the first time such grants have been made in Tarrant County to my knowledge,” Shannon said. “This is the first time we have had the funds to do this. This is not taxpayer money — it is money that has been confiscated from criminals. We took something bad and put it to good use.”
The Women’s Center and One Safe Place each received $5,000. Alliance for Children, which has several locations, received a $10,000 check. The Texas District and County Attorneys Foundation received $25,000.
Shannon said The Women’s Center, One Safe Place and Alliance for Children were selected for the work they do for victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse. The Texas District and County Attorneys Foundation was selected because it trains prosecutors, investigators and law enforcement officers across the state at a low cost.
The agencies were grateful for the unexpected surprise. Here’s what they said about the donation:
Deborah Caddy, Director of The Women’s Center’s Rape Crisis and Victim Services Program: What a wonderful holiday surprise and blessing for The Women’s Center’s Rape Crisis and Victim Services Program to be awarded this donation! This money will directly be used to continue to provide free crisis intervention and counseling services to the many sexual assault and sexual abuse survivors in our community, as well as provide free prevention and risk reduction services to thousands of children throughout Tarrant County. The 30-year partnership that The Women’s Center has shared with the Tarrant County District Attorney’s office has not only helped in the prosecution of perpetrators, but has assisted countless victims as they begin their healing process from these horrendous crimes.
Ken Shetter, Executive Director of Safe City Commission: The team at One Safe Place was pleasantly surprised with the holiday donation from the District Attorney’s Office! From the beginning the DA has been an important partner in One Safe Place and we are honored to be included with other worthy recipients. The donation will be added to our capital project fund where it will be used to develop facilities for victims of domestic violence who need legal assistance. We are very appreciative and look forward to continuing to work hand-in-hand with everyone in the DA’s office to improve the lives of victims of domestic violence.
Julie Evans, Executive Director of Alliance For Children: Alliance For Children is honored to partner with the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office daily to protect children from abuse. We are deeply appreciative of this heightened support of our work through the donation from the asset forfeitures and seizures. Thank you for supporting our agency and assisting Alliance For Children to fulfill its mission.
Rob Kepple, Executive Director of the Texas District and County Attorneys Association: The Texas District and County Attorneys Foundation leadership was thrilled to receive a donation of $25,000 from The Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney’s Office. The funds are dedicated solely to the training of Texas prosecutors and their staff, and are sorely needed to support the basic and advanced trial advocacy courses that benefit not only Tarrant County prosecutors, but prosecutors from around the state. It is this kind of leadership from dedicated prosecutors like Joe Shannon that makes the future of our profession bright.
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