Our Values & History

Our Values

  • Integrity
  • Helping Others/Society with Quality Services
  • Financial Responsibility & Sound Economic Practices
  • Supportive Work Environment & Loyalty
  • Inclusiveness/Diversity/Respect
  • Accountability

Read our statements below to learn about critical issues affecting the families we serve.
Our History

Safe Alliance is a nonprofit agency with more than 100 years of service to individuals and families in Cabarrus, Mecklenburg, Union, and South Iredell counties.



The history of Safe Alliance began on March 21, 1909, when a group of Charlotte business and religious leaders formed Associated Charities. Funds for Associated Charities came from 100 community leaders who pledged $25 a year to support its operation. The agency worked to help "the floating needy resident."

Associated Charities took formal structure and developed a board composed of Charlotte's business pioneers including J.B. Ivey, R.M. Pound, J.M. Harry, and Thomas Glasgow.

Throughout the '20s, the services expanded to include women and children who had been "deserted" as well as victims of tuberculosis. The organization also formed the Christmas Bureau program during these years.

The Great Depression marked the creation of the first government agencies to handle relief and the emergence of a concept called "the Community Chest." In 1932, Associated Charities changed its name to Family Service Association and established a statement of purpose: "To perform charity within the City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County; to do family casework; to cooperate and assist families; to aid minors, aged and all other individuals; and in general to do any and all things such as family service associations, as organized in the U.S. now do."

The agency moved its offices to 121 E. 3rd. St., its location for the next 30 years. The most significant event of the '40s was the merger of Family Service Association with the Children's Service Bureau to become Family and Children's Service. The Bureau, founded by the Junior League, provided adoptive foster care services.

This decade of the '50s saw continued growth for Family and Children's Service with the support of the United Fund. The agency's annual budget climbed toward $100,000 and adoption became a major focus with 50-75 children placed with adoptive parents each year.

The use of federal funds to address poverty issues began in the '60s under the auspices of the Charlotte Area Fund. The agency developed a three-year demonstration project, "Project Outreach" where professionally-trained staff members were housed within neighborhoods. The agency participated in the Model Cities project and service to unmarried mothers through Teen Age Parents Services (TAPS). In 1972, this program was transferred to the Mecklenburg County Department of Social Services. Later that decade, business leaders developed a consumer credit counseling program to assist individuals experiencing budgeting and debt repayment difficulties. In 1969, Consumer Credit Counseling Service merged with Family and Children's Services, becoming the first such merger nationally and the first credit counseling program to be funded by United Way.

The decade began with the launching of a Family Life Enrichment program to serve as the educational arm of the agency. An initial project for this division was the development of family crisis intervention training for officers of the Charlotte Police Department and Mecklenburg County Police Department. Family life enrichment counselors offered a variety of workshops to families and children. Another special project was to teach funeral home directors skills on grief and loss.

On Jan. 1, 1973, the agency began an affiliate relationship with Family Counseling Service of Gaston County, N.C. In July 1979, Family Counseling Service of Gaston County became an independent operation.

In 1975, the agency placed a family counselor in this nonprofit clinic designed to serve low-income families in a target population area. Having demonstrated the validity of this approach, the agency ended the project in 1977 with the Neighborhood Medical Clinic, which assumed responsibility for this service.

In August 1977, the agency opened its first satellite office in Union County and services over the years included consumer credit counseling, employee assistance, family counseling, rape crisis, and child abuse prevention services to the residents of Union County at the downtown Monroe, N.C., location.

The agency also launched a pilot project to serve victims of violent crime, which is now called the agency's Victim Assistance Court Program.

A local Big Brothers/Big Sisters program began in 1972. In 1978, Big Brothers/Big Sisters became a program of the agency. The success of this program resulted in Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Greater Charlotte becoming an independent agency in 2001.

As the '70s ended, the agency responded to the community's desire to provide services to victims of family violence. In cooperation with The Salvation Army, the agency established a temporary emergency shelter and counseling service for female domestic violence survivors and their children. The agency assumed full responsibility for The Shelter for Battered Women and their children in 1979.

In 1982, Rape Crisis, an all-volunteer 24-hour service, merged with Victim Assistance to provide comprehensive sexual assault services including professional counseling and hospital support. The Family Therapy Training Institute trained community professionals in structural family therapy, thus improving the quality of treatment available for families.

1983: The agency's name changed to United Family Services (UFS) to give a better description of the variety of services offered.

1984: A pilot project for Custody and Visitation Dispute Mediation Program was implemented in conjunction with Mecklenburg County District Court system to help divorced and separated parents develop parenting plans. In 1991, the General Assembly of the State of North Carolina approved legislation establishing the mediation of custody and visitation disputes as a program to be implemented statewide. In 1992, United Family Services transferred its program to the auspices of the 26th Judicial District (Mecklenburg County District Court).

1985: United Family Services launched the Court Advocate Program with volunteers who accompany clients to criminal court.

1986: the Victim Assistance Misdemeanor Unit was established through a federal Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) grant. Legislation was passed allowing pro se restraining orders, and Victim Assistance domestic violence services were expanded to include civil as well as criminal court advocacy.

With the formation of Against Domestic Assaults by Men (ADAM), United Family Services provided a treatment program for men who abused their intimate partners. Mecklenburg County later took over this program.

In 1986, the formation of a specialized Misdemeanor Unit of Victim Assistance, with primary focus on victims of domestic violence, enabled victims to receive support with the legal system.

The implementation of a full-service employee assistance program in 1991 expanded services to local businesses and organizations. This grew out of the agency's experience in providing such services for more than 10 years through national contracts with Family Service America, now called the Alliance for Families & Children.

The merger of Rape Crisis/Child Abuse Prevention with Union County services in 1986 expanded the range of services available to Union County citizens.

In February 1992, United Family Services established services in Cabarrus County, N.C., in response to community request. The office was originally supported through a grant by the Cannon Foundation, United Way and agency funds.

Project Outreach was formed through a collaboration of the agency with the Regional HIV/AIDS Consortium to provide in-home counseling services to those living with AIDS and to their caregivers (Project Outreach). Services continued until 2003 when Mecklenburg AIDS Project assumed these services.

1994: Big Brothers/Big Sisters collaborated with Hospice of Charlotte, Inc., to provide adult volunteers as mentors for children in families with a terminally ill parent from complications related to AIDS.

Family Counseling and Charlotte-area churches collaborated to offer The Hope Brigade, a program for children, teenagers, and parents affected by HIV/AIDS.

1995: A Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) grant funded the implementation of services for family and friends of homicide victims in the Victim Assistance division.

Heart To Heart, a teenage theatre group co-sponsored by The Shelter for Battered Women and The Children's Theater, was created to educate teens about the realities of dating violence through improvisational drama.

Healthy Transitions for Families was designed to help families, especially those with children, through transition such as separation and divorce. This continued as the Partners in Parenting (PIP) program.

The Shelter for Battered Women collaborated with the Housing Authority to provide on-site counseling services and assistance to women in domestic violence/abusive situations.

The Shelter for Battered Women collaborated with the Mecklenburg County Bar Association to offer Project 100, a program where lawyers volunteered to assist domestic violence victims in court.

Consumer Credit Counseling expanded to include housing services. The success of this effort resulted in a contract with the City of Charlotte to expand services.

The first United Family Services board fundraising campaign was held in November-December. Holiday direct mail campaigns were conducted for Big Brothers/Big Sisters and The Shelter for Battered Women.

In July, the Program for Incarcerated Women began as a collaboration of the Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Department and United Family Services. Funded by a grant from the Governor's Crime Commission, the Sheriff's Department contracted with UFS to provide a full-time domestic violence staff person. Services included educational sessions for inmates, providing domestic violence counseling, and providing training for department staff.

A focus on community initiatives in 1998 launched the Building Youth in Southside Communities project, the centerpiece of which was Families and Schools Together (FAST). Initial funding for the Southside Homes project was provided by the Foundation For The Carolinas. Other new efforts included placing a family counselor at the Johnston YMCA and the Ada Jenkins Center in Davidson, N.C., as well as both a family counselor and Big Brothers Big Sisters counselor at the Bethlehem Center. The remaining Community Education staff moved to the Great Aunt Stella Center.

The Men For Change fundraising and education campaign was the first ever of its kind in Charlotte, raising more than $60,000 for The Shelter for Battered Women. This all-male volunteer effort continues to be focused on raising funds and educating men about their roles in ending domestic violence.

In April 1999, Child Abuse Prevention Services was established in the Union County office to increase community awareness of child abuse and neglect and develop prevention programs.

The Cabarrus County office staffed a part-time consumer credit counselor and a Spanish-speaking family counselor at the Logan Center, with funding from United Way and the Cabarrus County Foundation.

The agency celebrated 90 years of service with a reception at the new Mint Museum of Craft & Design in Uptown Charlotte.

Through the partnership with United Way of Central Carolinas and United Way of South Iredell, United Family Services opened a Consumer Credit Counseling & Housing Services office in Mooresville/South Iredell.

The Heart To Heart teen theatre expanded its reach into the community with the addition of a second troupe.

The Shelter for Battered Women celebrated its 20th anniversary.

In April, Union County partnered with other community agencies to form the Union County Sexual Assault Response Team (SART), a multi-disciplinary team providing coordinated, timely, compassionate therapeutic services to ensure a transition from victim to survivor for individuals whose lives are impacted by sexual assault.

United Family Services began offering domestic violence advocacy services during evenings at the Magistrate's Office.

In November, an office was opened in Huntersville, N.C., featuring consumer credit counseling, employee assistance, and family counseling.

In December, the administrative offices, Consumer Credit Counseling, Employee Assistance and Family Counseling programs moved from the United Way Building to 200 N. Sharon Amity Rd. in Charlotte.

After more than two decades of serving area youth with United Family Services, Big Brothers/Big Sisters became an independent agency at the end of 2000.

In 2001, the Family Counseling and Community Education programs merged to form the Counseling & Education Program.

Community Building & Neighborhood Development became its own program.

United Family Services held the first Art With Heart cocktail art auction fundraiser for the Shelter for Battered Women.

The Women's Trauma Recovery Program began with funding from ABC and Sisters of Mercy. This program provided substance abuse assessments and specialized individual and group counseling to address the dual issues of domestic violence and substance abuse. In addition, trainings were available to a multitude of community service providers.

United Family Services joined eight other human services agencies and community leaders in celebrating the success of a capital campaign to fund The Carol Grotnes Belk Children & Family Services. The campaign, led by Hugh McColl and Ed Crutchfield, raised more than $9 million to finance construction of the facilities. Groundbreaking at the site at Fifth & Davidson, in Charlotte, occurred on Jan. 7.

United Family Services partnered with Carolinas Medical to offer the Domestic Violence Healthcare Project in October. The project provided on-site domestic violence services at Carolinas Medical, including safety assessment, safety planning, photo injury documentation, information, and referral to domestic violence services. In addition, the project educated and trained hospital professionals to screen for domestic violence.

United Family Services assumed responsibility for rape crisis services in Cabarrus County.

In March, the Charlotte office moved to the new Children & Family Services UFS at 601 E. 5th St., Suite 400, housing Administration, Counseling & Education, Consumer Credit & Housing, and Victim Assistance Felony Unit.

The Domestic Violence Service area was formed to centralize all domestic violence services. These services include The Shelter for Battered Women, Victim Assistance Domestic Violence, the Domestic Violence Healthcare Project, and the Program for Incarcerated Women.

United Family Services transitioned its South Tryon Community Building & Neighborhood Development Project to the residents of Brookhill Village and Southside Homes.

Counseling and Education started providing anger management groups for adults. These groups provided participants with skills and knowledge in the prevention, containment, and resolution of anger.

The Tree House Child Advocacy Center was launched in Union County, providing a neutral, child-friendly location for multi-disciplinary team reviews, forensic and/or medical interviews, advocacy, and support for victims and non-offending family members, crisis intervention, and counseling, multi-disciplinary team case reviews, prevention education, and community awareness.

The United Family Services Domestic Violence Latina Program was initiated, with bilingual staff providing services at all sites as well as outreach in the Latinx community.

In January, DVHP merged with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Forensic Medicine Program in a collaborative partnership program between the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, the Mecklenburg County Court System, Carolinas Healthcare System, Presbyterian Healthcare, Queens University of Charlotte, and Central Piedmont Community College.

The Clinical Supervision Center was created to provide the supervision requirements to enable master-level social workers and counselors to earn their LCSW and LPC licenses.

In July, United Family Services began providing nonresidential domestic violence services in the Huntersville office, including safety assessment, safety planning, counseling, support groups, information/referral, and photo injury documentation.

In August, UFS entered a collaborative contractual agreement with Mecklenburg County Social Services and South Tryon Community Development Corporation to provide a range of parent education services to parents of children who have lost or are in jeopardy of losing their parental rights due to child abuse or neglect. Services were provided in the South Tryon Community.

The Cabarrus County office continued providing mental health and credit counseling/housing services. They also collaborated with North East Medical Center to provide acute rape crisis services for child sexual assault cases.

In February, United Family Services completed a shelter feasibility study in partnership with Mecklenburg County. The study found that 120+ shelter beds were needed in Mecklenburg County. United Family Services initiated planning to add additional shelter beds.

In May, the Union County office moved to a larger location to accommodate their growing needs.

In December, the North Region was split into two separate regions due to the growing demand for services, the Mooresville-Lake Norman Region office and the Cabarrus County Region office. This restructuring allowed each office to better respond to the unique needs of each community. The growth in the Cabarrus County office also prompted the expansion to accommodate the need for additional counseling offices. The renovation added 1,000 square feet, providing three additional offices, a larger play therapy room, a larger reception area, and First Impressions office space. The renovations were completed in May 2008.

In May, the UFS Board of Directors approved a capital campaign to build a larger domestic violence facility for women and children with Crandall Bowles and Jennifer Roberts agreeing to co-chair the campaign. The agency hired Capstone Advancement Partners as the campaign consultant and committees for fundraising, education, and building were formed.

In June, United Family Services opened a mortgage default call center in the Charlotte office staffed with eight counselors. This HUD-funded initiative was aimed at reaching out to the thousands of homeowners in the four-county region (Mecklenburg, Union, Iredell, and Cabarrus) who were losing their homes every year without ever having spoken to anyone about possible alternatives to foreclosure.

The Mooresville-Lake Norman Office outgrew its office and moved to new offices in Cornelius. The new space offered additional counseling offices, a larger reception area, and improved accessibility to clients traveling from Southern Iredell County. This move was completed in June.

Also in 2008, United Family Services also developed the Legal Representation Project to assist victims of domestic violence with civil court proceedings (domestic violence protective orders, divorce, separation, child custody, and child support). The program began with a part-time attorney funded by the Governor's Crime Commission whose primary responsibility was to recruit and train local attorneys to assist victims in court.

2009 was a year of change at United Family Services, as the organization celebrated its 100th Anniversary of providing services in our community. Strategic planning culminated in a new mission statement:
"Providing Hope and Solutions for People in Crisis"

and an internal restructuring of programs to enhance mission achievement. The domestic violence, homicide, and rape crisis services were combined into a cohesive Victim Services Program that provided crisis intervention, legal representation, and short-term residential services to people who had experienced sexual assault, intimate partner battering, child maltreatment, or loss of a loved one to homicide. Counseling for sexual assault victims was combined with all other forms of counseling into Clinical Services, providing consistent services across all sites. Economic Independence continued to offer budget counseling, debt repayment plans, reverse mortgage counseling, mortgage foreclosure counseling, and bankruptcy counseling.

United Family Services' commitment to the Children and Family Services Center collaboration was strengthened when six agencies in the building formed a managed service organization called Shared Services. This expanded the collaboration of shared space and technology to include the back office functions of human resources and finance.

The Legal Representation Project expanded to include a full-time attorney and part-time paralegal through a grant provided by the Women's Impact Fund. Local attorneys from multiple firms provided pro bono legal representation for clients. In addition, the attorneys supervised students from the Charlotte School of Law, increasing UFS' capacity to serve additional clients while training the next generation of attorneys in our community.

UFS received a two-year grant totaling $65,078 from Kate B. Reynolds for the community-based counseling program at the Ada Jenkins Center. The grant allowed UFS to serve 200 children and adults who would otherwise be unable to access or afford counseling services.  Services were available in both English and Spanish.

The Capital Campaign Steering Committee was formed and began meeting in January. In February, the "silent" phase of the campaign kicked off with staff and board making the initial campaign gifts and pledges totaling more than $265,000. The Building Committee engaged John R. McAdams to begin preliminary site testing in the spring. A land appraisal was completed and UFS entered into a Purchase and Sale Agreement with the Charlotte Rescue Mission to purchase the West Boulevard property. UFS worked with Carolina PR to create collateral campaign materials including a compelling video featuring domestic violence survivors. Jenkins Peer was selected to provide architectural services and RT Dooley/Balfour Beatty committed to provide construction services at cost yielding an estimated savings of $200,000. UFS held two community meetings in the West Boulevard Corridor and received a welcoming response from the neighborhood. Zoning determination was received from the city shortly thereafter. The campaign was announced to the public on Nov. 7 at the UFS 100 year anniversary gala. Later in November, UFS held its first cultivation event for the campaign. At the end of the year, several major gifts were received from the City Housing Trust Fund, Wachovia-Wells Fargo, the Levine Foundation, and Bank of America.

In early 2010, the first draft of the new shelter schematic renderings was completed. These were revised several times and reached the final version by summer. Meanwhile, UFS continued holding cultivation events in homes as well as two larger events that were sponsored by Wachovia-Wells Fargo. By mid-year, UFS received a large gift from the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency, and the campaign surpassed the $5 million mark. The land was purchased in July, and an official groundbreaking was held in conjunction with the Charlotte Rescue Mission in October to celebrate the initiation of site work. In November, UFS held its first legal cultivation event for women attorneys and created the Barrister's Society, a giving circle uniquely designed for attorneys donating to the campaign.

In July, Mark Pierman stepped down as president/CEO of the agency after 10 years of Service. Mark was instrumental in the growth of UFS during the first decade of the 21st century and played a key role in the Shared Services model the agency adopted in 2009 and the launching of the capital campaign for the new shelter. Jean Davis, a member of the Board and on the Executive Committee, resigned her board position to serve as interim president/CEO while a search for the new CEO was conducted. The search was completed in late 2010.

Phil Kline joined the agency Jan. 3, 2011, as president/CEO. The capital campaign continued throughout 2011, and vertical construction began at the end of the year. In spring 2011, the agency implemented an intensive strategic planning process. This work reaffirmed some assumptions and helped crystalize the necessary next steps to build an even stronger organization. United Family Services' depth of experience and professional, evidenced-based treatment and counseling programs for trauma and victim services were determined to become the organization's key focus areas. United Family Services also analyzed its economic independence services and decided that, while these were important, they may be housed more efficiently and effectively elsewhere. United Family Services approached Community Link to consider operating these services, and the transfer was initiated.

United Family Services determined that moving forward the focus would be on providing a continuum of critical crisis services to those victimized by domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse, or homicide in Cabarrus, Mecklenburg, South Iredell, and Union counties.  It was decided that the agency would continue to offer 24-hour crisis lines, shelter, a children's advocacy center, safety planning services, hospital accompaniment, case management, systems advocacy, support groups, court advocacy/accompaniment, and legal representation. In addition, United Family Services would continue expanding trauma-informed counseling for those struggling with emotional crisis and deliver these services to individuals, couples, and families. The agency also continued to provide educational and prevention programs as well as institutional advocacy efforts.

In 2012, United Family Services continued implementing the strategic plan, and Economic Independence Services was transferred to Community Link in February. The Partners in Parenting Program was transferred to the Children's Home Society in March.

The capital campaign to build the new domestic violence shelter continued, and more than $8.5 million was raised toward the $10.6 million campaign goal. Vertical construction was initiated at the end of December 2011.

On Nov. 27, 2012, United Family Services announced its new brand: Safe Alliance, Where Hope & Healing Begin.

The new Clyde and Ethel Dickson Domestic Violence Shelter opened in January 2013. Safe Alliance continued growing its trauma-based services and also developed a targeted marketing plan to strengthen its Employee Assistance Program and clinical services. The Board of Directors decided to initiate a new giving society to recognize major donors, and the Lotus Society was introduced in August. Safe Alliance also had its first annual luncheon in October with keynote speakers Ron and Jan Kimble.

Two of the agency signature events, Art With Heart and Men for Change, celebrated significant milestones, with both reaching
$1 million raised for Safe Alliance in 2014. The counseling team participated in a number of learning collaboratives, strengthening their skills to offer innovative, evidence-based solutions to adults and children seeking therapeutic services. The rape crisis team changed its name to the Sexual Trauma Resource Center to better describe the myriad of comprehensive crisis and longer-term trauma counseling and advocacy services for adult and child survivors of sexual assault. The domestic violence shelter continued a second year of strong operations in its new facility, and the shelter was paid off in November. At the end of the year, Phil Kline retired from his position as president/CEO of Safe Alliance, and the Board of Directors appointed Karen Parker as the new president effective Jan. 1, 2015.


In 2015, the Safe Alliance Board of Directors and Senior Leadership made a strategic decision to focus on sexual assault and domestic violence services in Mecklenburg County and Lake Norman. Safe Alliance transferred the Tree House Children's Advocacy Center and Sexual Trauma Resource Center in Union County to our sister organization, Turning Point. We transferred our Sexual Trauma Resource Center in Cabarrus County to another sister organization, Esther House. Companies who contracted with us for the Employee Assistance Program were given the opportunity to make a seamless transition to another provider. Safe Alliance identified a comprehensive list of appropriate general counseling options for our departing clients. Major components of the transition were completed by summer 2015.

This decision represented the crystallization of Safe Alliance's mission to provide hope and healing to people in crisis and the evolution of our strategy and direction. We chose to focus on Mecklenburg County and Lake Norman in order to ensure that we are delivering the highest quality services thus yielding the greatest impact for our clients and the community, while maintaining our financial stability for years to come. 

2016 was an exciting year for Safe Alliance, one that saw many positive financial outcomes as a result of the changes made in the previous year. We created a capital expenditure report for our Domestic Violence Shelter that will ensure stronger financial planning, and we revised our budget process to provide a clearer and more manageable budget plan. These accomplishments will contribute to a more reliable, stable financial structure for our organization.

We also saw many accomplishments within our programs and services. In summer 2016, we implemented the co-location of staff from Mecklenburg County Community Support Services, strengthening our relationship with an already significant partner agency. This allowed us to maintain and increase clinical services for our shelter clients, as well as provide real-time, client-centered services within our new Community Living Team. We received a transitional housing grant that will allow us to provide transitional services for 20 families through a partnership with Community Link. We were able to expand the Lethality Assessment Program to six municipalities in Mecklenburg County. Our Victim Assistance Court Program office implemented a new screening process, new ways of serving male clients, and began offering appointment options. In our Sexual Trauma Resource Center, we developed a Prison Rape Elimination Act agreement with the Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Department. In addition, we moved our Lake Norman office to provide a stronger community presence. During 2016, we also launched a new website, created a Spanish Speaker's Bureau, and increased our social media activity including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

We began making plans for our future, and taking a more visible stance on more community and national issues. In March, we completed the planning process of a new, three-year strategic plan that will take us through fiscal year 2020. The strategic plan priorities are as follows: solidify and invest in existing programs and geographic focus; implement a sustainable financial model with a balanced budget; stabilize and invest in our staff; and position Safe Alliance to be a national leader in client-focused, trauma-informed programming. In addition, we created our first Strategic Plan and Advocacy Guide to highlight these goaI. Internally, we created a task force on dismantling racism to identify areas we could help address this issue in our community. We also expanded our position as a thought leader in the community, creating position statements on sexual violence/rape culture, dismantling racism, and support of LGBTQIA+ survivors.

In 2017, Safe Alliance continued work on our three-year strategic plan, building upon the initiatives launched in 2016. Advancing our commitment to social justice, we crafted a new mission and vision statement that intentionally addressed the intersections between gender-based violence, generational poverty, and institutional racism. We also served as lead agency in a Unite Charlotte-funded initiative to train all board members and staff at the Children and Family Services Center in Race Matter's for Juvenile Justice's Dismantling Racism. Finally, we trained both staff and community partners on the provision of culturally competent services to the Latinx and Asian Pacific Islander communities.

In addition, we advanced several key strategic initiatives. The Victim Assistance Court Program office prepared to launch the electronic filing of civil Domestic Violence Protection Orders (DVPOs) and in-office video hearings with judges. To that end, they introduced aggressive outreach and coordination efforts with the Domestic Violence Clerk of Court's office, leading to an 80% increase in the number of victims served. We also initiated planning with CMPD and the 26th Judicial District to create a Family Justice Center and offer multi-disciplinary strangulation prevention training. The Sexual Trauma Resource Center led an effort to create a Sexual Assault Response Team (SART), promising to create a multi-disciplinary, community-wide support system for sexual assault survivors.

The Advancement Team celebrated many successes in 2017, including the 20th Anniversary of the Men For Change event. The A-Team exceeded fundraising goals for three key events, expanded the agency's social media presence to two new platforms, and created new text and mobile donation options for donors. As a result, online giving increased 300%. We also expanded our volunteer program, developing new partnership with corporate and school groups, and growing the number of volunteers trained by 43%.

In 2017, we worked diligently to strengthen our internal capacity as well. We shifted the shelter's facility maintenance to a property management company, improving near-term facility maintenance and ensuring long-term facility management. We piloted a mentorship program to mentor high-potential employees. Finally, we again closed the year on strong financial footing.

Safe Alliance secured over $1 million in new funding from the Governor's Crime Commission and The Duke Endowment and increased staff from 75 to 90+. The agency also continued strengthening our partnership with Bank of America and was awarded a $250,000 grant from Bank of America and Albemarle to support our economic mobility work. We also restructured our advancement department and implemented a new development plan resulting in enhanced community engagement and investment in the organization. As a result of this resource development, Safe Alliance served 7,000 people and reached an additional 6,000 through education, prevention, and institutional advocacy in FY18 and was able to implement and expand the initiatives highlighted below.

In 2018, Safe Alliance launched the Greater Charlotte Hope Line, our new domestic violence, sexual assault, and child welfare hotline in collaboration with the Mecklenburg County Department of Social Services. This hotline provides a single source for crisis intervention services as well as support and prevention programming. Safe Alliance also took a major leadership role in Family Justice Center efforts by providing staffing with support from the Jamie Kimble Foundation for Courage and chairing the community Steering Committee. Safe Alliance partnered with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, Novant, and Atrium, to implement a county-wide training/protocol development on strangulation in domestic violence. In addition, Safe Alliance expanded rapid rehousing and mobile advocacy services for domestic violence victims through partnerships with Mecklenburg County Community Support Services, Community Link, and The Salvation Army. 

Safe Alliance continued solidifying voluntary, client-centered services and trained staff in the CARE model and motivational interviewing. We initiated respite childcare services and a Resident Council at the shelter in order to engage more people with lived experience in our decision making. We engaged Positive One to provide mentoring to children and youth at our shelter. Our Victim Assistance Court Program moved to a more client-friendly location, and we expanded our Legal Representation project by training 33% more pro bono attorneys (total of nearly 90). Our Sexual Trauma Resource Center saw a significant increase in requests for assistance (many inspired by the #MeToo movement). Through training and protocol development, Safe Alliance strengthened our response to underserved survivors including male victims, the LGBTQIA+ community, and the Latin American community, trafficking survivors and those with mental illness.  

Safe Alliance also strengthened racial equity efforts completing two-day training for more than 80 staff and board members and forming an Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Committee to ensure we apply a racial equity lens to our daily work. We also bolstered efforts to support undocumented survivors including media statements, public appearances, and specialized training for staff. Men For Change was transformed from an annual event to a year-round campaign for men working to end violence against women.

Our work this year resulted in important steps to achieve our vision of communities where people are empowered to build and sustain healthy and respectful relationships and in which we, together, actively work against the systems and beliefs that sustain poverty, racism, and gender-based violence.


Safe Alliance's accomplishments in 2019 include the following:

Launched eFiling, which allows victims to apply for protective orders electronically from our trauma-informed location.

Continued our transitional housing and supportive services and created new partnerships with Habitat for Humanity and the Steve Smith Family Foundation with the goal of educating and helping shelter residents achieve home ownership.

Made great strides in our work toward developing community collaboration and protocols through the Mecklenburg County Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) and hired a SART Coordinator.
Provided leadership team training on Leading for Diversity and implemented a Leaders of Color Coaching Program.

Sponsored two very important community racial equity trainings: the Race Matters for Juvenile Justice Biannual Conference and the Mecklenburg Executive Collaborative Diversity Training.

Led community efforts to create the Phase 1 Family Justice Center (FJC), identifying funding and space and beginning to create MOU's, usage agreements, and operating procedures.

Continued efforts to create the permanent FJC, including extensive research and development of a draft business plan, initiating the VOICES survivor group, and leading statewide advocacy efforts to ensure state and federal funds continue to be directed to new and developing FJCs.

Sent our first cohort of children to Camp HOPE and facilitated children's support services at our Victim Assistance Court Program.

Increased sexual assault hotline response by 72% compared to the previous fiscal year.

Through the implementation of the Greater Charlotte Hope Line and continued community outreach, the Lake Norman office increased counseling services by 16% and advocacy by 23%.

Created DV in the Workplace Toolkit and promoted it on our website and through individual trainings.


During the COVID-19 pandemic, Safe Alliance pivoted operations successfully opening a second residential (hotel) facility; shifting selected positions to remote/virtual services; partnering with Mecklenburg County and the City of Charlotte on hotels and the Safe Week program; building and implementing a phased reopening plan for all programs; expanding family law support;  and maintaining strong media presence/communications throughout the pandemic.

Safe Alliance continued moving forward with Family Justice Center (FJC) efforts creating the FJC Foundation and electing the first board of directors; initiating a property search; meeting with potential major gift corporate and foundation funders to prepare for future campaign asks; and completing branding efforts with high focus on survivor feedback, landing on the name The Umbrella Center.

Safe Alliance also continued leading efforts to launch the Survivor Resource Center, which opened February 2021 by creating policies and procedures; initiating a racial equity framework; and securing $1 million grant from the Governor's Crime Commission for the center.

​​​​​In 2020, Safe Alliance expanded racial equity efforts becoming an official RMJJ Community Partner; beginning efforts to implement process change; and creating People of Color Processing and White Affinity groups.

During 2020 Safe Alliance also supported United Way by providing case management to Lake Arbor clients who were facing eviction; implemented successful events including Art with Heart, Men for Change and Young Professionals Network, Walk a Mile in Her Shoes®, and the annual breakfast/Hope Is Calling campaign; and partnered with Mecklenburg County on the Meck Better Together campaign, seeing a 200% increase in caregiver support calls.


Safe Alliance's accomplishments in 2021 included the opening of the Survivor Resource Center; adding a chat feature to the Greater Charlotte Hope Line;  continuing critical emergency residential  shelter and hotel operations; resuming support groups (offering the options of in person or virtual groups); offering tele-therapy as a permanent service for survivors; and resuming court accompaniment and outreach (representing clients both in person and virtually).

Safe Alliance continued its partnership to create The Umbrella Center raising $13M in capital campaign commitments; securing 501 (c)3 status for the Foundation; hosting sessions with over 30 nonprofits to plan their involvement; and participating in the UNC-CH state research project Assessment of Cross Sectoral Approaches for Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence.

This year also included continued expansion of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion initiatives including representation on the Race Matters for Juvenile Justice Board and sponsorship of their biannual conference; initiation of three agency-wide practice change initiatives; two staff trainings on leadership pathways for staff of color; participation of over 30 new staff in racial equity training; and a staff retreat on micro-aggressions and inclusion.

Safe Alliance also implemented successful community events including Men for Change, Walk a Mile, and Breakfast of Hope; created a virtual sexual assault training series that included representation from all key disciplines within the community; and collaborated with Mecklenburg County and homeless service providers on the "2025 Plan" for long-term safe sheltering.


Safe Alliance services increased across the organization - housing 849 victims of domestic violence within our shelter; serving over 1,777 people at high risk of interpersonal violence at the Survivor Resource Center; increasing legal representation by 47% and court accompaniments and outreach by 140%; and increasing sexual assault advocacy support 47% compared to data from the beginning of the pandemic.

Services also expanded to meet client needs including extending the Greater Charlotte Hope Line chat feature hours to 9am-9pm; offering evening hours at the Survivor Resource Center; creating a new trauma therapy group for sexual assault survivors and resuming in person hospital accompaniment for survivors seeking sexual assault kits within local hospital systems (this service had been suspended due to hospital protocols). 

Safe Alliance continued to co-lead capital campaign efforts for The Umbrella Center resulting in $26MM committed toward our $35MM goal and identified property for renovation and Mecklenburg County entered a contract to purchase. Safe Alliance also co-hosted the 4th Annual NC Family Justice Center and Collaborative Communities Conference in Greensboro which had 375 attendees from 27 NC counties and 8 states.  Seven Safe Alliance staff presented including a keynote presentation on Mecklenburg County's path to a family justice center.

In 2022 Safe Alliance completed its inaugural year as an RMJJ Practice Change Partner and continued successful EDI efforts including EDI Team, People of Color Processing Group, White Affinity Group, RMJJ Racial Equity training & Cultural Humility training.

There was also a strong focus on new and continued partnerships with community organizations to strengthen services onsite at the shelter including Mecklenburg County Community Support Services, Mecklenburg County Homeless Services, Atrium Health, Housing Collaborative and Arts+. 

Safe Alliance continued implementing successful events and campaigns in 2022 Men for Change, Breakfast of Hope, Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Giving Tuesday, End of Calendar Year, and the return of an in-person and rebranded Walk A Mile event.

In an emergency please dial 911

Call the Greater Charlotte Hope Line 24/7 for info on parenting, domestic violence and sexual assault 980.771.4673.

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