Every Woman's Place director already loves new job

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By Cynthia Price

Kimberly Dimmett came to Muskegon from Galveston, Texas, to continue her life’s work of creating a better world for women who have suffered domestic abuse, but she also happens to like the weather.

Explaining that Galveston is on the Gulf and has a climate similar to New Orleans, she says with a smile, “You know, you can only handle so much hot weather. I?mean, I’ve started on my vitamin D regimen, but I’m originally from Port Washington [near Milwaukee], Wisconsin, so I like the change, and  already know I love what I’m doing.”

After being raised in the “apple pie” harbor town of Port Washington, Dimmett moved to Indiana, to a small town where “women’s destinies were predetermined.”

She chose something different for herself, receiving a bachelor’s degree from the University of Arizona and a Master’s Degree in administration from Northern Arizona University. She worked as a public planner for a while, but as she thought about what might really matter in terms of municipal organization, decided to become a realtor.

It was a result of wanting to do something more to help people that Dimmett started volunteering at the Resource and Crisis Center of Galveston County.

There, she says, working with women who had experienced some degree of domestic violence “just took hold.” After Dimmett had volunteered for a while, they offered her the position of development director, and she eventually became the manager for a capital campaign that yielded $5.6 million.

“When you’re writing grants and requests for an organization, you get a good feel for the programs and how to raise funds,” she said. “I helped them identify a location for a campus for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Galveston is definitely an area that is stricken with poverty and has a great need for social services, so it was very gratifying to get that done,” Dimmett says.

As most people in this area know, Every Woman’s Place (EWP), founded in 1975, offers both residential and crisis intervention programs for women who have been victims of domestic violence. In addition to legal help with such critical tasks as filing Personal Protection Orders, counseling, and a place to stay, EWP helps women to change their lives for the better.

In a statement, Dimmett said, “My goal is to create an environment that not only meets the immediate needs of those in crisis, but to also provide the resources to move forward, heal, and build a thriving life of self-sufficiency that is free from violence.”

The organization is going to begin an update of its strategic plan in January. The process will begin with the four-person staff (Dimmett, Development Director Elisa Hopper, Program Manager Anje Banks, Program Manager and Business Manager Leigh Ann Hawver), and then be reviewed by the board.

“I do believe there are some things we could be doing that we’re not, but they’ve done amazing work over the years. I’d like to see giving these women as many resources as we can, expanding on our connections with Muskegon Community College and work force development agencies,” she says.

She has already seen an outpouring of support from the community – for example, at Thanksgiving the Grand Haven company GHSP donated 26 turkeys – so Dimmett is confident that the funds will be there for whatever vision comes out of the update process.

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