In 2011, seeing insufficient awareness of and support for domestic violence in her locality, Ruth Patrick started the nonprofit Women-of-Means Escape Network Silicon Valley (WomenSV). Her organization aims to address the unique needs of middle- and upper-class women in abusive relationships and to spread awareness among law enforcement professionals and social-service organizations. Women of Silicon Valley began under the umbrella of the Los Altos Community Foundation before becoming an independent nonprofit in 2017.
During her first year of business, Patrick sought mentoring from SCORE. She says, “I needed help with the business aspects of running a nonprofit and wanted to learn how to think more like a business in terms of sustainability.” SCORE mentor John Edwards started her in business education and helped her move from idealistic (but vague) ambitions to finely tuned strategic plans.
Edwards also connected Patrick to another SCORE mentor, Jerry Jensen, who helped her develop a business plan, a strategic vision and a budget. “Jerry’s guidance and advice is the reason I was able to achieve 501(c)(3) status for WomenSV. He also encouraged me to think more in terms of numbers [and] measurable outcomes, and this is vital when applying for funding,” Patrick says.
Patrick says of Jensen and Edwards: “They helped me turn [my] dream into a reality that has helped close to 1,000 women and several men deal more safely and effectively with the challenges and risks of being involved with a powerful, affluent abuser. Thank you SCORE.”
Since 2011, WomenSV has served more than 900 clients, and Patrick has earned recognition as an expert in how domestic violence operates in affluent communities. The nonprofit has been invited to train law enforcement officials, district attorneys, lawyers, therapists and court staff. Patrick has been interviewed on CNN and “The Today Show,” and was named a “Woman of Influence” by the San Jose Business Journal in 2017.
Patrick has presented at several conferences, including the Threat Management Conference in Anaheim, Calif., a conference where attendees include FBI and CIA agents, district attorneys, therapists and law enforcement officials.
Last year WomenSV raised $35,000 at their first annual fundraiser. This year they raised $50,000.