Tuesday, January 27, 2015

What Happens When Marketing Executives Spend Their Spare Time Combatting Abuse?

Theresa's Fund and its offspring, domesticshelters.org, are what happens when marketing executives decide to spend their spare time combatting abuse.

Google domesticshelters.org and you will find it has not only a website, but a Twitter account, a Facebook account, a Pinterest account, and an Instagram account.  Peruse the website, and you will find that they also have a You Tube account.  The domesticshelters.org, the Facebook page, and the Twitter are all updated regularly with thoughtful articles about abuse.  The website also includes a data base of domestic violence shelters and related services around the country and information domestic violence victims need to know to keep themselves safe.

This media outreach to survivors, advocates, and the community at large, is the brain child of two content marketing executives -- Preston V. McMurry Jr. and his son, Chris McMurry.

According to the website of the Content Marketing Institute. (http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/what-is-content-marketing/), "Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action."

This appears to be exactly what domesticshelters.org is doing, except that the services the website offers are mostly free of charge.

Domesticshelters.org is the creation of Chris McMurry who was inspired to fight abuse and family violence by his father, Preston (Pres) V. McMurry Jr..  Pres founded Theresa's Fund to support organizations combatting family violence and named it after his late wife, Donna, who was born Theresa in a mountain top village in Italy.  Theresa was raped, burned with red hot pokers, and beaten so badly that both her hips and eardrums broke -- all by age 4.  She was so badly abused that she was removed from her parents care and adopted out to an American family.  She remembered none of the abuse but suffered psychological consequences anyway.  A loving and devoted wife and devoted stepmother to Pres' children from a previous marriage, she still struggled with touch and with the ability to trust enough to remain married.  She and Pres attended weekly therapy for ten years, but ten years of therapy did not make a dent in Donna’s ability to receive intimacy.  So Pres took her to Italy on the advice of their therapist with the hope of finding out more about the childhood that her mind had repressed so completely.  During an otherwise enchanting trip to Italy, they saw the remains of the home where Donna was born and abused, met the neighbor who sometimes sheltered her, and became reacquainted with the older half sister who still loved her, and others who knew her and what happened to her.  Unfortunately, facing the past was so challenging that her emotional trauma caused her to leave Pres.  He was so heart broken over losing his lovely wife that suicide seemed like a reasonable answer to his pain.  Fortunately he followed an epiphany instead and founded Theresa's Fund to provide funding for organizations combatting family violence.   Pres named his foundation after Donna, who was given the name Theresa by her Italian birth parents.

To learn more about the story of Pres and Donna Theresa and how she inspired him to found Theresa's Fund, read the following three blogs that tell their story:

In the last 23 years Theresa's Fund has raised and donated more than $49,000,000.00 to support shelters and advocacy non-profits combatting abuse in Arizona.  Pres McMurry has also donated his marketing and fund raising know how to organizations outside of Arizona.

The McMurrys developed their marketing and advertising skills from their business careers.  Preston Jr. founded McMurry Inc. and Chris served as President and Chief Executive Officer of the company for many years.  McMurry Inc. was recently bought by a Wall Street investment firm, leaving Pres and Chris with much more free time on their hands.  Chris chose to occupy his time by walking in his father's footsteps and creating domesticshelters.org -- the website and data base of domestic violence shelters and advocates across the United States.

On the home page of domesticshelters.org you will find a tab across the top of the page labeled "Find domestic violence help, shelter near you".  If you type in your address or zip code to that space, a list of domestic violence services near you will appear.

Above this you will find a tab labeled "RESOURCES".  It includes the growing list of articles all sorted by topic, and as well as new, first-of-its-kind Statistics area that offers Domestic Violence help statistics by state and by topic.
Below that are two tabs with activated links.  One labeled "Be Safe" takes you to a set of instructions on how to keep your web browsing private in case you are still living with an abusive person who doesn't want to let go of controlling you.

To the right is a tab labeled "Be Smart" with lots of articles on different aspects of the abuse issue.  These include links to an article about an organization that helps women experiencing domestic violence while living overseas, an article on safety for undocumented immigrants who are victims of abuse, an article for male victims of domestic violence and the unique stigmas they face, and an article on how men can help stop rape.

At the bottom right of the page is “Domestic Violence FAQ” which includes articles on the most important basic information for domestic violence survivors: How to get a Personal Protection Order, A Deadly Cycle, and Abusive Red Flags Everyone Should Know.

At the bottom right you can find links to domesticshelters.org social media including Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Pinterest, and Instagram.

Bottom left includes links for contacting domesticshelters.org as well as ways to advertise your organization and services on the site.  Any organization can be listed for free.  Domesticshelters.org charges organizations nominal fees of $10 and $20 a month for more detailed listings of their services.  As any non-profit employee knows, only so much can be done by volunteers.  However, while Pres and Chris donate their services mostly for free, there are other bills the organization has to pay.  Web hosting services are not free, and non-profits have to pay rent and utility bills just like the rest of us.  

None-the-less, Theresa’s Fund and domesticshelters.org provide valuable services for victims, family members, other supporters and advocates as well as the community and the country.  They plan to expand their listings to overseas resources in the coming year.

© 2015 Virginia Pickles Jones
Contact Virginia at compassion500@gmail.com.

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