We are pleased to announce that the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan has selected LACASA Center as the recipient of the 2021 Richard F. Huegli Award for Program Excellence. The award was presented at the Community Foundation’s annual Board of Directors meeting on June 29, 2021.
The Richard F. Huegli Award for Program Excellence identifies a nonprofit that reflects Mr. Huegli’s high standards in human services programming and belief in human potential. Huegli, who passed away in 1988, was an integral figure in the region’s human services sector for nearly half a century. He helped to establish the CFSEM and served as the Foundation’s acting director in its first year of existence.
LACASA was chosen as the Huegli Award recipient for its high-quality service in both abuse prevention and support for abuse victims and survivors. It is also recognized for the strategic, thoughtful expansion of its work that has been sustained over time.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, LACASA was among a cohort of domestic violence organizations across the region that received special support from CFSEM, as the impact and stress of the pandemic caused increases in the rates of domestic violence.
“We are deeply honored to receive this award for Program Excellence from the Community Foundation,” said President & CEO of LACASA Center, Bobette Schrandt.
“Our staff and board are committed to providing more than 30 comprehensive programs and services at no charge for victims and survivors of child abuse, domestic violence and sexual assault,” Schrandt said.
“This year marks our organization’s 40th anniversary. The Program Excellence Award gives us one more reason to celebrate LACASA’s growth and accomplishments over four decades,” said Schrandt.
LACASA is the only agency of its kind in the state—and one of just a few in the nation—that provides critical services for all victims of abuse under one roof. The nonprofit agency was the first Crisis Shelter in Michigan to create a “Safe Pet Place,” which ensures that victims fleeing violent households can bring along their family pets for safekeeping. LACASA also was the first victim advocacy center in the state to add a canine employee. The organization’s Court Advocacy Dog, Penny, serves as a trusted companion for child abuse victims who must testify during legal sessions and court proceedings.
LACASA responded to COVID-19 by keeping all critical 24-hour services open. New protocols were put in place to protect the health of victims and staff—including telehealth counseling sessions, remote legal advocacy conferencing, virtual awareness events, and off-site hoteling when social distancing guidelines limited the shelter’s residency capacity.
“The team at LACASA represents innovative ways organizations in southeast Michigan met the moment when faced with crisis,” said CFSEM President, Mariam Noland. “While stepping up during the pandemic, this nonprofit agency’s positive impact on the region has been consistent for years. We are inspired by them.”
ABOUT CFSEM: The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan is a full-service philanthropic organization leading the way to positive change in our region. As a permanent community endowment built by gifts from thousands of individuals and organizations, the Foundation supports a wide variety of activities benefiting education, arts and culture, health, human services, community development, and civic affairs. Since its inception, the Foundation has distributed more than $1.1 billion through more than 75,000 grants to nonprofit organizations throughout Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Monroe, Washtenaw, St. Clair, and Livingston counties. For more information, please visit www.cfsem.org.