Adult survivors of child abuse focus of new endowment fund

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Hillary Gavan/Beloit Daily News (From left): Linnae Byrns, Stateline Community Foundation Executive Director Tara Tinder and Katherine Swain gather for a photo. Swain, with help from the SCF and her friend Byrns, started the Katherine Ann Swain Endowment for Adult Survivors of Abuse and Neglect.

BELOIT - "These people are worth looking for and worth waiting for."

That's what Katherine Swain, 64, said about adult survivors of child abuse and neglect. It's part of the reason she saved for a decade to create a unique endowment with help from the Stateline Community Foundation. The Katherine Ann Swain Endowment for Adult Survivors of Abuse and Neglect was launched this fall after growing in an acorn fund for more than a decade.

Swain, a retired Parkview educator and current School District of Beloit substitute teacher, launched the new endowment to offer survivors unique ways to be uplifted and aided in their healing.

"The goal for this endowment is to help adult survivors move from survivor status to overcomers. This will be accomplished by providing grant support to rectify the wrong and repair some of the damage done by abuse or neglect," Swain said. "Somebody will say 'I believe you, it shouldn't have happened to you and it's not too late to fix it.'" Swain as well as Stateline Community Foundation (SCF) Executive Director Tara Tinder are spreading the word about the new endowment and many other endowments at the foundation which help community non-profit agencies, fund scholarships or, like Swain's grant, target specific and unique needs.

Those who want to contribute to or apply to receive help from the new endowment can go to https://statelinecf.org or call the foundation at 608-362-4228.

Swain has always been passionate about child abuse victims and said there are few supports for adults who may still be suffering effects of the abuse.

No matter how many years one accrues, the hurting heart of a child can remained buried deep within. Although lots of resources are in place for children, adults can suffer alone. They may be in need of therapy or medical procedures stemming from trauma while at the same time not being able to find others who will believe their stories.

"You are not believed, especially when you are functioning," Swain said.

Swain knows that healing can come in all shapes and sizes and made her unique endowment reflect that. Adult survivors benefiting from her endowment may receive a grant for a medical treatment, plastic surgery or dental repair which is needed after physical abuse. It could also help pay for therapy or counseling stemming from that abuse. Abuse victims may also obtain a grant for a special trip, music or athletic lessons or anything which would restore their spirits.

Swain said she realizes survivors come from all walks of life and achievement levels. She stresses there are no gender, age or financial restrictions for those applying for the grant.

To help find people who may be in need of the grant, Tinder helped facilitate finding the perfect recipient.

"When we knew this was going to be available, I called different non-profits that service adults. HealthNet had a client who fit the desire of the donor," Tinder said.

"Thanks to the $350 grant from the Stateline Community Foundation, HealthNet was able to meet the medical-social needs of one particular patient, who has struggled with past abuse. We are currently working with her on trauma associated with abusive relationships, while meeting her basic medical needs. This funding has helped us provide extra attention to her case through our case management staff and translators, while meeting her costs associated with counseling and her diabetic care," said HealthNet CEO Ian Hedges.

Swain is eager to help and knows a lot about healing. By the time she graduated from Custer High School in Milwaukee in 1972, she was the second born of eight children born to her mother, father and a step-father. By this time also, she had nine different addresses, four of them being foster homes.

As a child, she took solace in her quiet moments in the classroom where she learned education was the key to success. She later became a teacher herself while forming a happy life with her husband of 47 years in Beloit. Although her life has been a success, she wanted to help abuse victims and was moved by the generosity and support of her friend Linnae Byrns.

Byrns became a major contributor helping to get the fund to endowment status. Byrns said she likes giving donations to help those locally in Rock County and was happy to help a good friend build her gift.

Tinder said to start an endowment requires $20,000.

Tinder said Stateline Community Foundation features more than 139 endowments, of which 37 percent are scholarships.The remainder cover a breath of projects such as arts, health and human services, economic development and funds targeted for specific non-profit agencies.

"There isn't a category that isn't covered," Tinder said.

TInder said endowments are wonderful ways to give back to the community, with gifts that remain in perpetuity. She said Beloit is rich with these many gifts.

"It's amazing in a community our size that we have over $12 million held in endowments and are responsible for having given out $15 million. People continue to give, people like Katherine, who are wanting to make an impact."

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