Partners for Peace FY 2023 Annual Report

FY 2023 Annual Report

October 1, 2022 – September 30, 2023

Director’s Note

2023 was such an amazing year for Partners for Peace. We celebrated 50 years of working for peace and safety in our homes and communities, 10 years as a merged organization, and the highest number of people served, ever.

We are humbled by the community’s recognition of these big milestones and the acknowledgement of the 50 years of social change advocacy we have engaged in. It’s been this collaborative change work that has created greater protections for survivors, safe housing opportunities for all family members, and a network of compassionate advocates who are ready to answer the call anytime, day or night.

I’m excited about the work we have in front of us. The work will be challenging and will result in positive change for our communities. We hope that others in our region will consider joining us as we spend the next 50 years working to end domestic violence.

– Amanda Cost, Executive Director

Our Mission

Our mission is to engage individuals and the community to end domestic violence in Penobscot and Piscataquis Counties in Maine. We provide support, advocacy and safety planning to anyone affected by domestic abuse.

We foster safe and healthy relationships through prevention, education and training. Together with our community, we recognize the nature of abuse, respond to it, and change the conditions which lead to it.

Our Vision

We believe that every person deserves to live in peace and equality, and that just and respectful relationships can change the world.

Trailblazers of Change

Celebrating 50 Years of Domestic Violence Advocacy in Penobscot and Piscataquis Counties.

On October 6, 2023, Partners for Peace invited our community to join us at the Cross Insurance Center for a delightful evening celebrating 50 years of domestic violence advocacy. This celebration was momentous for our state.

Partners for Peace was the first domestic violence program in Maine and the third in the country.

We welcomed nearly 200 guests to hear stories, learn about our Pet Friendly Shelter, and highlight many of our accomplishments as a movement over the past five decades. It was a joyous occasion with staff, board members, volunteers, survivors, community partners, founders, donors, elected officials, and more.

We will forever remember this evening filled with laughter, tears, and reflection. We thank everyone who attended, sent their congratulations, or celebrated our work in other ways. We are looking forward to the next 50 years!

Collectively Creating a Vibrant Future

Together, with survivors and our community, we have brightened our future with a beautiful, vibrant collective mural, started at our 50th Anniversary Celebration in October. It has been collaboratively colored by event attendees, survivors, students, staff and board members over the past six months.

This artwork commemorates our 50 years of advocacy, and will be displayed with pride at our Domestic Violence Resource Centers located in Bangor and Dover-Foxcroft to serve as a reminder that there is hope for progress and peace in our future.

Collective Story Project

Our Collective Story Project, a significant endeavor marking our 50th year, is a collection of 50 ‘stories.’ These narratives honor the countless individuals affected by domestic violence and abuse in Penobscot and Piscataquis counties.

In FY 23, we worked diligently to collect stories from our archives and support survivors in crafting and presenting their own stories. Some stories are told through written pieces, others through art, including collages, paintings, T-shirts, videos, and sculptures. Some stories represent individuals, and other pieces represent larger groups of people affected by domestic violence.

Some of the stories detail violence and abuse. Others tell stories of triumph and resilience, such as the following excerpt:

“I never said much to my friends, siblings, or family, but I did write a letter every time I was scared. I have a lot of letters for all those years. I had to write to get it out of my head. I thought no one would believe me about what happened and what was said to me by the person who I married. The last beating was the worst. I’m done with the fight. For now, I’m fighting for me, myself, and I.”

Storytelling can be empowering and healing for survivors of domestic violence, and we were honored that many came forward to speak their truths.

We were thrilled to share some of these stories at our 50th Anniversary Celebration in October 2023. The complete collection will be made available online in October 2024.

Our Response to the Growing Need

Last year, we helped more survivors (nearly 2,000) than ever in our recorded history.

Helpline and Advocacy Services:

  • We supported and safety planned with 1,942 survivors, including 1,182 new clients.
  • We answered 5,587 phone calls for help.
  • Advocates engaged survivors in 2,704 digital contacts and 4,822 face-to-face contacts.

Legal & Justice Services:

  • 113 survivors were supported in the criminal justice system.
  • 615 survivors were supported with court advocacy for civil matters.
  • 129 survivors had help with protection orders.
  • 241 survivors of stalking and 43 survivors of sex trafficking were served.

Residential & Housing Services:

  • 123 survivors called our Residential Program “home.”
  • Residential staff met with survivors for 2,689 hours.
  • 55 individuals received sheltering services for 3,153 total “bed nights.”
  • 38 individuals were participants in our Transitional Housing Program.

Support Groups:

  • 63 adults participated in 919 hours of support groups.

Children’s Advocacy Services:

  • We worked directly with 83 children and indirectly with 1,682 children whose survivor-parent received support.
  • 280 survivor-parents received support with Child Protective Services.


Throughout Penobscot and Piscatiquis Counties, we served:

  • 1,235 adult women, 102 adult men, and 18 trans and non-binary folx,
  • 61 members of the LGBTQIA+ community,
  • 117 individuals over the age of 60,
  • 297 people with known disabilities,
  • 79 people who disclosed chronic health conditions,
  • 174 people who disclosed chronic mental health and substance use disorders,
  • 310 people who were unhoused,
  • 632 people who lived in a rural community; and
  • 15 people who are immigrants or refugees.

Protecting the Next Generation

Dana* and their two children found support while at court attempting to file a Protection from Abuse Order.

Our Outreach Advocate was already at the courthouse, prepared to help anyone in need. When Dana’s abuser showed up, the Advocate quickly alerted courthouse staff. Given the immediate concern, she connected Dana with a free attorney. With the attorney’s help appealing to the judge, the Protection from Abuse Order was granted.

Weeks later, the family reported that they finally felt safe. Dana’s daughter has shared with us that she now wants to help survivors of domestic violence when she grows up.

*name changed for safety

Our 43 Trained Volunteers Provided:

non-direct service hours
direct client service hours
total volunteer hours

Volunteers are essential to our work supporting survivors of domestic violence.

Last year, our dedicated volunteers answered helpline calls, facilitated support groups, served on committees, cooked meals for shelter guests, provided organizational oversight, and more.

Community Engagement

The goal of our experienced educators is to equip people of all ages in our community with the necessary tools to respond to and prevent domestic violence.

youth reached through 62 school-based presentations
adults participated in 28 community training sessions and presentations
awareness activities and events were held throughout Penobscot and Piscatiquis counties

FY 2023 Income

  • Total income: $2,485,470
  • Direct Public Support – Government: 80%
  • Direct Public Support – Contracts: 3%
  • Direct Public Support – Individuals and Businesses: 9%
  • Direct Public Support – Restricted: 2%
  • Indirect Public Support – Investment Income: 5%
  • Miscellaneous: 1%

Our Partners & Supporters

In FY 23, we received crucial financial support from the Office on Violence Against Women, the Department of Health & Human Services, MaineHousing, the Mary Kay Foundation, Maine Association of Realtors, and the Heart of Maine United Way.

Numerous individuals and families donated, including the Francis T. and Louise T. Nichols Foundation, the Ray Family Charitable Trust, and the Barbara Cassidy Foundation.

Our business partners ramped up their support in honor of our 50th anniversary, including Maine Savings, Penquis, Bangor Savings Bank, Bangor Daily News, Hollywood Casino, WABI, Quirk, Bar Harbor Bank & Trust, St. Joseph Hospital, Bangor Wholesale Laminates, CUSO, Advertising Specialists, Heart of Maine United Way, Changing Seasons FCU, Lynch Logistics, Maine Highlands FCU, Katahdin Trust, Birchbrook, Harvard Pilgrim, and Frank’s Bake Shop.

We could not do our work without our invested community partners who are a part of our coordinated community response to domestic violence: Penobscot Nation Advocacy Center, Rape Response Services, Penquis, Pine Tree Legal Assistance, St. Joseph’s Hospital, CourageLives, local law enforcement, the District Attorney’s Office, the University of Maine Title IX Office, and many more.

“When I contacted Partners for Peace, it was clear this was a resource I could always turn to. For the first time in a long time, I felt cared about.”

∼ A Survivor

Pets Welcomed

In FY 23, one of our top priorities was to increase the accessibility of our services and build more equity within our core programming. One way that we set out to do this was to break down barriers for survivors of domestic violence who are fleeing with their pets.

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 71% of women in domestic violence shelters report that their abusers threatened, injured, or killed a pet. Nearly half of domestic violence survivors choose to stay with an abusive partner rather than separate from their pet.

We knew it was time to make our domestic violence shelter Pet-Friendly so survivors never have to make this difficult decision.

In 2023, we secured funding and support from Greater Good Charities, Rescue Rebuild, RedRover and the Bangor Humane Society to make it all possible. Rescue Rebuild coordinated a fantastic group of volunteers from all over the country who traveled to Bangor to renovate our shelter. They transformed the indoor and outdoor spaces to be safe and welcoming for pet guests.

Our shelter became Pet-Friendly in January 2024, making it the third fully pet-friendly domestic violence shelter in Maine. Since then, our shelter has welcomed several pet guests with their survivor parents. Survivors have been relieved to know their pets can stay with them, and they can be safe and heal alongside their pet family members.

Hope for a Safe Future

One survivor of domestic violence found support and safety by calling our 24-hour Helpline.

Alex* and her two small children fled her abusive boyfriend in the middle of the night. Feeling alone and faced with daunting choices and risks, she turned to Partners for Peace.

Within hours of calling the helpline and speaking with a trained advocate, Alex and her children were soon headed to our shelter. While there, we provided Alex and her children with basic needs, case management and housing navigation. She also received assistance with filing a Protection from Abuse Order and Child Protective Liaison services.

Most importantly, we provided these survivors with a safe space and hope for a safe future.

*name changed for safety

“I’m proud to be on the Partners for Peace Board because of my shared hope that together, as individuals and communities, we can end abuse and violence and live in peace.”

∼ Peggy Day, Board Member and Volunteer

Partners for Peace FY 2023 Governing Board

  • Denise Scuderi, Chair
  • Maria Cameron, Chair
  • James Gehrke, Treasurer
  • Peggy Day, Development Committee Chair
  • Courtney Evans, Governance Committee Chair
  • Jesse Higgins, Board Member
  • Nicole Lawrence, Secretary
  • Joseph Locke, Board Member
  • Vanessa Madore, Board Member

Looking Forward

We will explore how our residential and advocacy services can increase support for children who have been impacted by domestic abuse. We will pursue additional funding opportunities, population-specific programming, and new partnerships to enhance our work with children.

The feedback from a recent study, which provided valuable recommendations on improving accessibility for our print and web-based materials, will be integrated into our operations.

We will develop a 3-year strategic framework including a new values statement and revised mission and vision statement. We will also determine how we will address the intersections between domestic violence and substance use disorders, mental health, homelessness, and the housing crisis.

Your Gifts Make This Work Possible

As we look toward the year ahead, we can’t help but think about the 2,000 neighbors who will undoubtedly need our help. We are incredibly grateful to our caring community members who are able to donate.

We ask on behalf of survivors of domestic violence that you make a gift today that will invest in their futures. Recurring donations are especially helpful as we build out our annual budget. Become a Perennial Partner and make your gift automatically recur at an amount and frequency you are comfortable with. We thank you in advance for your generosity!

Thank You!

We have made a lot of progress in the last 50 years, and there is still a lot of work ahead of us.

2023 was a year to recognize, celebrate, and honor all that Partners for Peace has done to bring the experiences of survivors to the forefront and engage our community in conversations that will hopefully one day lead to ending domestic violence in Penobscot and Piscataquis counties.