Persistence of retired BASF employees results in “Safe Harbor” in Oconee County

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This article is from BASF’s Pulse magazine.

Nine years ago, Seneca, South Carolina, BASF Seneca site employees Martha Frady and Jenna Black – two brave women who broke the cycle of domestic violence in their own lives – committed themselves to raising enough money to build and staff a shelter for abused women and children in the area. Martha and Jenna have since retired from BASF, but they never gave up their dream. The following story updates their journey, and the positive outcome their persistence and determination has generated.

In a few months, a new resource for women in need will open in Oconee County, South Carolina. It is the first shelter in the area for victims of domestic violence.

“I never doubted it would happen,” says Martha Frady, who, along with co-worker Jenna Black launched a campaign to create the shelter in April 2005. With the help of Frank Lamson-Scribner, Special Project Director Refining Salts & Solutions, Precious Metal Services (CCM), who supported Frady and Black with their passion to make a difference in the lives of local women, the pair set a goal of raising $100,000 to create a fund to purchase or build the shelter. Progress was slow but steady.

By 2007, Frady and Black were looking for a partner organization to work with when Darragh Geist, a then-new resident to Oconee County with fundraising and business skills, contacted Black to see whether she could help. Geist researched possible non-profit organization partners and, with the blessing of Frady and Black, opened a dialog with Safe Harbor, a nonprofit organization that provides shelter, counseling and advocacy for victims of domestic violence in neighboring Anderson and Greenville counties. Safe Harbor’s charter also included Oconee, but the group had not yet built a shelter there.

Black, Frady and Geist felt that becoming deeply involved in Safe Harbor might ultimately result in the shelter for Oconee County, so Geist joined Safe Harbor’s board of directors. “For six years, whenever we had annual planning retreats, I kept bringing up the need for a shelter in Oconee County,” Geist says. In 2011, her encouragement paid off. Safe Harbor decided to begin raising money for the local shelter.

March, 2013 saw Safe Harbor announce a capital campaign with a two-year, $1 million goal. “We raised $1.1 million in nine months,” Geist says, enough to buy, fix and staff a shelter for three years.

The organization purchased an existing house that December. When renovations are completed, the structure will accommodate up to 16 women and children, as well as a full-time and part-time staff. The shelter is slated to open this July.

“This is a dream come true, not only for us but also for all abused women and children in Oconee County,” Frady says. “If it weren’t for Darragh’s help, and the support of our colleagues at the Seneca site, Frank Lamson-Scribner and BASF, we would have never reached this point.”

CALL OUTS

“We were victims. We became survivors and we will continue working to make sure this never happens to other women.” – Jenna Black

“Martha and Jenna are amazing. They exemplify the kind of difference every one of us can make. What they have accomplished is really something special.” – Frank Lamson-Scribner