MONTCLAIR, NJ – Start Out Fresh Intervention Advocates (S.O.F.I.A.), a Montclair-based organization designed to support victims of domestic violence, has partnered with the Allstate Foundation to raise money for programs. 

The Allstate Foundation has launched a national campaign to help raise awareness and money to support local organizations such as S.O.F.I.A. The campaign, entitled The Purple Purse Challenge, is designed to also provide financial training for victims of domestic abuse. The challenge continues through Oct. 3.

Prior to Tuesday’s council meeting, S.O.F.I.A. president and Founder Cynthia Walker and Livingston and Roseland Allstate Agency Owner, Neil Grecco gathered with Mayor Robert Jackson, Councilor Baskerville, and several S.O.F.I.A. representatives to inform the community of this partnership.

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Grecco said, "It's my belief that the work of the volunteers with the Purple Purse Campaign is work that must be done. I have seen a lot of passion in their faces and that motivates me to want to work with them to leverage the Allstate Foundation in their charitable donation."

In an effort to combat domestic violence on a national scale and raise funds through its Purple Purse Campaign, The Allstate Foundation will be donating $500,000 to bring public awareness and fundraising for charities benefiting domestic violence survivors. The charity that raises the most throughout the Challenge will get a $100,000 donation. Second place gets $75,000, third gets $50,000, fourth gets $25,000 and fifth through 10th each get $10,000.

The more donations S.O.F.I.A. collects, the more incentive funding the organization can compete to win from The Allstate Foundation.  

On Sept. 6, S.O.F.I.A hosted its fourth annual Walk Against Domestic Violence in Montclair with more than 200 participants.

Walker said, “S.O.F.I.A. is here to help our community. There are many stages of domestic violence and we do everything that we can to assist those affected. We must focus on our youth as well to educate them on recognizing the warning signs of an abusive person and not get involved before they become intimate. That’s when they begin to discount the abuse and believe that the relationship is normal. We offer Safe Teen Dating workshops throughout the community.”

If interested in donating to the cause, visit http://www.crowdrise. com/purplepurse-startoutfresh and click 'Fundraise for This Campaign.' 

S.O.F.I.A. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides advocacy, supportive services and referrals for temporary housing to "at risk" women and children of domestic violence. 

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