The Philanthropy Collaborative

TPC's Field Seminar Series: Ft. Lauderdale

Leading Policy. Leading Change. Rebuilding Lives
Examining the Impact of Programs Aiding Survivors of Human Trafficking
Tuesday, October 7, 2014

On October 7th, TPC held a Field Seminar Series (FSS) event in Fort Lauderdale with The Wasie Foundation and Broward College. The second of TPC's new seminars, it focused on both highlighting the value of nonprofits helping to serve the survivors of human trafficking, as well as policy opportunities and challenges facing nonprofits generally. The event drew more than 80 invited attendees, including one Member of Congress and representatives from four Congressional offices. Panelists included several national-level experts flown to Florida specifically for this event, as well a government official, expert clinician, local nonprofit experts, and two survivors.

Panelists look on as Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) opens the first session.

Congressman Ted Deutch (D-FL)
The day began with opening remarks from Representative Ted Deutch (D-FL). The Congressman told the audience that roughly $9 billion travels though the trafficking industry each year. He noted this issue generally receives broad, bipartisan support in Washington, pointing to legislation the President signed in early October to combat this underground industry, and voiced his support for additional measures to bolster local law enforcement agencies. Rep. Deutch concluded by telling the audience he "supports tax provisions that encourage giving to the important nonprofits" working to support survivors of human trafficking.

"Human trafficking is an issue that has generated broad bipartisan support in Washington. I support tax provisions that encourage giving to our important nonprofits working to help survivors across our state and country." - Rep. Ted Deutch

The first panel, moderated by Greg Haile, Broward College's Vice President for Public Policy, provided context for the discussion at the state and national levels. Chris Miller, Deputy Programs Director with Free the Slaves who joined us from Washington, DC, spoke about the challenges nonprofits face when attempting to uncover the economic value of assisting human trafficking survivors. He noted that nonprofit organizations must develop metrics to showcase the quality work they do (one of TPC's primary objectives). His fellow panelists echoed this sentiment, including Dr. Kimberly McGrath, who detailed how her organization, Citrus Helping Adolescents Negatively Impacted by Commercial Exploitation (CHANCE), worked with experts at the University of South Florida to develop impact data on CHANCE's success. Following these remarks, Kimberly Grabert, Florida's Statewide Human Trafficking Prevention Director, spoke about the collaborative support she's witnessed between private funding, especially from the faith-based community, and services provided by the state. Finally, Katariina Rosenblatt, a survivor, author, and founder of the nonprofit There Is HOPE For Me, told her story and explained some of her recent work on quantifying the impact of reintegrating human trafficking survivors.

Kimberly Grabert discusses public-private partnerships with the audience, adding that the community needs to have an important discussion about "what constitutes progress" when aiding victims of human trafficking.

Gineen Bresso, General Counsel at The Wasie Foundation, addresses the audience.
TPC's Michael McHugh moderated the second session, highlighting several policy issues impacting nonprofits doing work in this area. Panelists discussed ways to better support the sector in these efforts. "Amy," a survivor herself, travelled from Tampa to discuss some of her own volunteer work vacating crimes committed by trafficked individuals at the direction of their trafficker. Jim Gress, the CEO of Covenant House, spoke to some of the challenges local nonprofits face in supplying and expanding their services. Sabrina Wong, Communications Director at Coalition to Abolish Slavery & Trafficking (CAST) in Los Angeles, talked through some of CAST's policy initiatives both in California and at the federal level. Following her remarks, The Wasie Foundation's own Gineen Bresso described the threats facing the philanthropic sector at the federal level, and urged attendees to make their voices heard in Washington.

"Bring your voice to Washington. Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) sits on the Senate Finance Committee that controls many issues facing the nonprofit sector. I encourage you to reach out to his staff to communicate your value." - Gineen Bresso, The Wasie Foundation

Feedback from both the panelists and attendees was very positive. When asked to rate the seminar on a variety of metrics, attendees responded positively across the board. Of note, it was the panelists, and particularly the focus on policy, that drew the most praise. "Diversity and expertise of the speakers was a highlight," wrote one attendee. Another added that they received, "excellent info on tax implications for nonprofits from The Wasie Foundation." Furthermore, 100% of respondents gave a four or five when asked about the panelists' responsiveness to questions, with multiple attendees noting that the question and answer sessions were particularly useful.

Attendees enjoyed a networking lunch between panels, allowing them to connect with other stakeholders and creating the opportunity for additional partnerships beyond the event.

Attendees show author and survivor Katariina Rosenblatt's new book, Stolen, which debuted at the event. From Left to Right: TPC's Michael McHugh; Broward College Vice President Greg Haile; Survivor, Author, and There Is HOPE for Me Founder Katariina Rosenblatt; and Congressman Ted Deutch (D-FL).
In summary, TPC is thrilled with the event's content, turnout, and reception, and is very grateful for the chance to collaborate with Broward College, as well as The Wasie Foundation's support of TPC's Field Seminar Series. We continue to find that nonprofits are interested in hearing about policy challenges and opportunities, and about the value they can contribute by communicating their economic impact to policymakers.