This evening as part of its annual Chords of Hope 2020 fundraiser, The Michael Bolton Charities selected Rita Smith, VP/External Relations for DomesticShelters.org, as the recipient of its annual Lifetime Achievement Award.
In announcing the honor the Grammy-award winning musician Michael Bolton celebrated Smith’s nearly four decades of contributions to the domestic violence field, a period in which awareness of domestic violence and laws and support for victims have evolved with more impact than at any other time in history.
“I was really surprised and so honored to be recognized by The Michael Bolton Charities. It has been such a gift to do the work to end violence against women, and I can't explain the incredible impact of working with so many amazing survivors, advocates and allies on me personally,” said Smith.
Smith has been working for Theresa’s Fund since early 2014 and was instrumental in its development and launch of DomesticShelters.org. She is a nationally recognized expert in domestic violence who has been interviewed by hundreds of newspaper reporters, appeared on many local and national radio and television news shows, including the Washington Post, USA Today, People Magazine, NPR, The Today Show, Good Morning America and Oprah Winfrey Show.
“Michael is a real champion to me, he's been committed to this work for over 20 years through his charity and giving his personal time. Far longer than most men, he has been a dependable and steady ally,” Smith added. “He has taken his own time on many occasions to come to Washington, DC and educate Congress on the importance of the Violence Against Women Act. His ability to get the attention of Members of Congress, and especially Senators, was critical in getting that bill increased funding.”
She began her career in 1981 as a shelter crisis line advocate and ascended to lead the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) from 1992-2014 where she established the original relationship between DomesticShelters.org and NCADV. Rita doubles as a consultant to the non-profit 501(c)3 Theresa’s Fund Inc., which operates DomesticShelters.org, and she is a senior advisor to the National Football League on policy and training issues related to domestic violence and sexual assault.
About The Michael Bolton Charities
Founded in 1993, the mission of The Michael Bolton Charities is dedicated to two critical areas: the assistance of children and women "at risk” and, through education and effective programs, to create social awareness to broaden horizons and expand opportunities for youth across socioeconomic and multicultural lines.
About Theresa’s Fund
Theresa’s Fund is an Arizona-based 501(c)3 non-profit charity started in 1992 by Preston V. McMurry, Jr. At a time when domestic violence wasn’t yet a headline, Theresa’s Fund focused on changing the landscape of domestic violence services in its home state through grantmaking, board development and fundraising for Arizona-based organizations like East Valley Child Crisis Center, Sojourner Center, Florence Crittenden, Emerge, UMOM, and West Valley Child Crisis Center. In 2014, it developed the DomesticShelters.org concept as a way to expand its reach to people across the U.S. and Canada. DomesticShelters.org is the first online and mobile searchable database of programs and shelters in the U.S./Canada, and a leading source of helpful tools and information for people experiencing and working to end domestic violence.