November 20, 2018

The Allstate Foundation Purple Purse Challenge raises $3.5 million to benefit domestic violence survivors

Now in its fifth year, the annual event raises financial support and awareness for nonprofits around the country.

Earlier this year, Allstate Foundation Purple Purse commissioned public art projects across the country to promote awareness of financial abuse, including this mural in Los Angeles, by artist Carolyn Suzuki. The Allstate Foundation Purple Purse Challenge raised $3.5 million for its annual campaign, which just wrapped on Oct. 31.

In the United States, 1 in 4 women will be a victim of domestic violence in their lifetime. Chances are, you know a woman who has been or is currently a victim of this type of abuse. More likely than not, there are financial reasons why she cannot “just leave.”

Allstate Foundation Purple Purse is working to break this cycle of abuse through financial empowerment. Through its Purple Purse Challenge, which took place during National Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October, The Allstate Foundation helped nearly 300 nonprofits raise more than $3.5 million to benefit survivors of domestic violence.

In addition to the funds raised, The Allstate Foundation contributed nearly $800,000 in incentive grants, including $100,000 grand prizes for the nonprofits that raised the most in their division: WINGS Program, Inc., of Rolling Meadows, Illinois; Partners for Women and Justice of Montclair, New Jersey; and FreeFrom of Los Angeles.

For organizations like WINGS, which is the largest domestic violence housing provider in Illinois, the funds raised during the Purple Purse Challenge are vital. The nonprofit runs two safe houses, one in Chicago and one in the suburbs. “The money from the Purple Purse Challenge is critical to support that operation,” said CEO Rebecca Darr. “On any given night, we’re housing close to 300 people. Annually, we provide about 75,000 nights of shelter.”

Research reveals that 99 percent of all domestic violence cases include financial abuse, in which abusers exert their power to limit or prevent access to financial resources, like bank accounts and job opportunities. This type of control isolates victims, trapping them in the abusive relationship. Organizations like this year’s Purple Purse Challenge winners provide life-changing services for survivors and their families, including emergency shelter, child-care, food and transportation.

All of the participating organizations help survivors rebuild financially—for themselves and their children. Partners for Women and Justice provides legal assistance to survivors of domestic violence in New Jersey. The public interest law firm helps victims obtain restraining orders and secure fair orders for child support, which Executive Director Jane Hanson is important for victims to be able to leave safely with their children. “The assistance we provide is very concrete. You can see the results with the court outcomes,” she said. “It’s that component that we believe is one of the first steps to financial empowerment.”

The Los Angeles-based FreeFrom empowers survivors using a different approach. They help women launch and maintain their own small businesses. “What survivors need to get out of crisis and to heal and rebuild is money,” said FreeFrom founder and CEO Sonya Passi. “Not only do survivors need work, but they need enough to live on—minimum wage is not enough for single-mother survivors to live on.” The organization’s Entrepreneurship Program empowers clients with the flexibility to work and be fully present single parents. “It opens up limitless potential for survivors to grow and thrive,” she said.

Since 2005, The Allstate Foundation has invested more than $66 million to help empower more than 1.7 million domestic violence survivors through Purple Purse, one of its signature programs. “We understand how vital funding is to domestic violence nonprofits, so each one can provide the care and services necessary to victims in our communities,” said Vicky Dinges, Allstate’s senior vice president of corporate relations. “While we’re extremely pleased by the amount of critical donations raised during the Allstate Foundation Purple Purse Challenge, we know funding alone is not enough. We need everyone–men and women–to continue to join us in standing up for the victims of domestic violence so we can break the cycle for future generations.”

Here are the top five winners from each division in the 2018 Allstate Foundation Purple Purse Challenge:

Division I

  • First Place: WINGS Program, Inc., Rolling Meadows, Illinois
  • Second Place: YWCA Evanston/North Shore, Evanston, Illinois
  • Third Place: YWCA Greenwich, Greenwich, Connecticut
  • Fourth Place: YWCA of Metropolitan Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
  • Fifth Place: The Center for Women and Families, Louisville, Kentucky

Division II

  • First Place: Partners for Women and Justice, Montclair, New Jersey
  • Second Place: House of Ruth, Inc., Pomona, California
  • Third Place: liveSAFE Resources, Inc., Marietta, Georgia
  • Fourth Place: Between Friends, Chicago, Illinois
  • Fifth Place: Jewish Women International, Washington, D.C.

Division III

  • First Place: FreeFrom, Los Angeles
  • Second Place: Lincoln County Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Cherryville, North Carolina
  • Third Place: Beyond Violence, Inc., Berwick, Pennsylvania
  • Fourth Place: Family Justice Center Foundation, Nampa, Idaho
  • Fifth Place: Dover Center Inc, St. George, Utah

Learn more about The Allstate Foundation Purple Purse® Challenge here.

Find a domestic violence shelter in your area at

If you or someone you know is in a domestic violence situation, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or TTY 1-800-787-3224.

The Renewal Project

The Renewal Project is an effort by Allstate to highlight, support, and celebrate ordinary people creating extraordinary community renewal.