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"Articulates the ‘why’ so we can do better next time"

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Founded in 1978 as Women’s Crisis Services, the organization was renamed in 2007 as SAFE in Hunterdon to provide resources to survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault in Hunterdon County, N.J. SAFE in Hunterdon works in collaboration with community partners and providers to deliver trauma-informed services that meet the diverse needs of survivors and to help them rebuild their lives and restore safety after experiencing or witnessing interpersonal violence. By offering hope, help and healing, SAFE in Hunterdon provides a 24-hour hotline, emergency shelter, domestic violence and sexual assault response teams, legal advocacy, counseling, community outreach, and education. The goal is to build a Central New Jersey community with strength and knowledge that supports all individuals in their journey to maintain physical and emotional safety.

Lauren Bivona was named Executive Director in April 2023, as the organization was going through a tumultuous time. “Right before COVID the agency had ceased operations because of a variety of issues related to finances,” she recalls. “At the time of our relaunch there continued to be some struggles; old issues carried over and we had new grants with new reporting requirements. We had used YPTC’s services years ago and decided to bring them back in.”

Bivona remembers how YPTC Associate Ray Tigol brought “a literal ray of sunshine onto where we were and where we needed to be.” Bivona freely admits that her background is in programs and services and even though she had run a small business the reporting aspects of nonprofits was an entirely new world.

“Ray came along and because he knew that I was brand-new he explained everything quite well,” she quips. “Ray not only does the controller services for us but he also articulates the ‘why’ so we can do better next time. He’s always available for status meetings with me, the staff and the board, telling us where we’re going in real time.”

She points to the fact that when she took the wheel, Safe in Hunterdon was a year behind in their reporting but is now completely caught up.

“We think of Ray as a team member and invite him to holiday parties. It’s not just the work that he does for us as our controller, it’s also how he helps other people on our staff grow. It’s above and beyond what you normally think a controller should be,” she adds.

“We’re extremely satisfied with YPTC’s services. As a nonprofit that just wants to do great things for our clients, having YPTC on the financial end is really helping us to fulfill our mission, and that’s phenomenal!”

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