Skip to main content


News & Events

NYSCADV's Inaugural Economic Empowerment Summit

Advocates from New York and beyond joined NYSCADV for our inaugural Economic Empowerment Summit in Albany, NY, on June 11, 2024.

Advocates from New York and beyond joined NYSCADV for our inaugural Economic Empowerment Summit in Albany, NY, on June 11, 2024. Attendees included domestic violence advocates, rape crisis advocates, crime victim advocates, and allied organizations. The Allstate Foundation proudly sponsored the Summit.

NYSCADV’s Economic Justice Project Manager, Esmeralda Peña, opened the day with a warm welcome to the sold-out crowd. This was followed by Executive Director Connie Neal, who shared a heartfelt commitment to the intersections of economic empowerment and domestic violence. She emphasized the coalition’s dedication to empowering survivors with financial freedom and providing primary prevention educators with tools to integrate economic empowerment into healthy relationship programming.

The first plenary featured Kim Pentico, Economic Justice Senior Director at the National Network to End Domestic Violence. She discussed the complex relationship between safety and finances, historical connections to generational poverty, and access. Kim highlighted the Allstate Foundation's ongoing support to “fill the gaps” and reduce barriers to DV programs. This includes maintaining and updating the Moving Ahead Curriculum, a financial literacy curriculum available to all domestic violence programs nationwide, and the Independence Project, which offers micro-loans to help survivors build their credit scores.

Next was a panel discussion titled "A Dialogue on Economic Justice: Empowering Communities, Building Resilience, and Unlocking Opportunities." The panel featured Sarah E. Hayes, LMSW, Sr. Director of Economic Empowerment Programs at Sanctuary for Families; Dolores Kordon, Executive Director of Brighter Tomorrows; and Namrata Sharma, Economic Empowerment Program Manager at Sakhi for South Asian Women. Moderated by NYSCADV’s Abigail Murat, Sr. Training & Capacity Building Coordinator, the panelists shared their experiences leading economic empowerment work within their organizations and communities. They emphasized trauma-informed, survivor-led, and culturally responsive approaches to defining financial independence and goals.

Some highlights included Sarah Hayes's discussion of Sanctuary for Families' paid internship program, which is open to any survivor referred across New York State, and its growing program alum network. Dolores Korden spoke about Brighter Tomorrows' community-building efforts and culturally specific economic empowerment program. Namrata Sharma shared how Sakhi creatively used existing resources to start their economic empowerment work.


The afternoon featured two workshops. In the first, Sarah E. Hayes delved deeper into best practices for economic empowerment work and the importance of coalition efforts to support survivors. She also discussed the Survivor Internship Program and multi-track career paths for a survivor-led journey to financial independence.

The second workshop, co-presented by Kim Pentico and Esmeralda Peña, explored the Allstate Moving Ahead Curriculum in greater detail. Participants discussed best practices and strategies for using the curriculum to impact the community positively.

Kris Billhardt, M.ED., ED.S., concluded the day with a presentation on the Housing First model. This approach prioritizes securing safe and permanent housing for individuals experiencing homelessness and includes various strategies to help survivors gain and maintain safe, affordable, long-term housing. Kris also discussed how to adapt the model within organizations and local communities. A fall webinar series is planned for Kris to share more insights with primary purpose domestic violence programs in New York State.


We sincerely thank all our presenters and attendees for making this day a success. Special thanks to the Allstate Foundation, whose support made this event possible, and to the National Network to End Domestic Violence’s Economic Justice project for their continued support.

Click here to learn more about NYSCADV’s economic empowerment work and access publicly available resources. Primary purpose domestic violence advocates in New York can also access exclusive resources on this topic via their coalition manager login.