New York City Anti-Violence Project (AVP) was founded in 1980 by community activists in response to a series of brutal attacks against gay men in Chelsea, New York. Today, AVP provides free and confidential assistance to thousands of LGBTQ and HIV-affected people across New York City each year through our 24-hour bilingual hotline, counseling, support groups, legal representation and individual advocacy.
AVP helps survivors of violence and allies become advocates for safety through participation in community education and outreach, development of organizing campaigns, and the creation and support of city, state and national coalitions to address LGBTQ and HIV-affected violence. AVP coordinates the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP), a coalition of over 50 organizations that works to prevent, respond to, and end all forms of violence against and within LGBTQ communities. Through the coalition, AVP publishes definitive reports annually on national trends of hate violence and intimate partner violence in LGBTQ communities.
AVP empowers lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and HIV-affected communities and allies to end all forms of violence through organizing and education, and supports survivors through counseling and advocacy.
AVP envisions a world in which all lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and HIV-affected people are safe, respected, and live free from violence.
The Current and Future State of AVP
Violence is a critical issue in the United States, especially for LGBTQ people and people living with HIV. Over the last several years, AVP has seen alarming trends in the rates of violence impacting transgender and gender non-conforming (TGNC) people across the country and in New York City. In 2015, 16 of 24 reported homicides of LGBTQ and HIV-affected people were transgender and gender non-conforming people—and 13 of those 16 were transgender women of color. AVP works to respond to this crisis through programs meant to proactively address the root causes of violence, as well as public education and deep cultural change.
The current cultural and political climate has also inflamed rhetoric around hate and violence against multiple groups, including all the communities served by AVP. The rise in hate speech has led to a corresponding rise in hate crimes, and increased risks to the safety and security of our communities, and others. At the same time, there are new opportunities for collaboration and advocacy, organizing, and education.
AVP is a leading expert in the anti-violence field, and this current cultural moment provides AVP with the opportunity to leverage its existing strengths to expand outwards, as well as step back and assess current challenges to strengthen the organization internally.
Under a new Executive Director, who brings new vision and opportunities to the organization, and with its 40th anniversary on the horizon in 2020, AVP will move forward in the next three years as a thought leader and change agent in new models of violence prevention.
An organizational assessment of AVP conducted in preparation for the strategic planning process indicates AVP’s programs are strong and the staff is highly skilled and dedicated to anti-violence work and the organization. Both staff and programs are highly respected in their fields. AVP is also respected for its anti-oppression process and living its values as evidenced by the diverse staff team and the integration of anti-racist and anti-oppression values into all aspects of the organization’s work.
AVP will likely face some significant challenges in the next few years. Numerous public attacks and threatening rhetoric targeting LGBTQ people and other marginalized communities are seriously impacting AVP’s constituents, especially those most impacted by violence. As a crisis response organization, the critical work to respond to the heightened violence, fear and trauma has stretched AVP staff well past capacity. A changing political climate may also lead to reduced government funding, adding another element of uncertainty and stress.
This plan focuses on six capacity areas within AVP: Programs, Resource Development, Systems: Administration, Infrastructure, and Technology, Marketing and Communications, Community Role, and Board, Staff, and Leadership.
The strategic plan for the years approaching AVP’s 40th anniversary will capitalize on the incredible strengths of the organization to position AVP as a model in the anti-violence field on a national scale, and strengthen internal structures to achieve financial and structural stability.
Goals for FY2018 – FY2020
AVP’s interdisciplinary programming will be informed by and centered in the experiences of those most impacted by violence, and will work to prevent and respond to violence in all forms, within and against LGBTQ and HIV-affected communities.
AVP’s programs will shift power, culture, and resources to end bias, discrimination, and violence against LGBTQ and HIV-affected communities.
AVP will be a national leader by building and sharing its co-located, trauma informed model and evidence-based, replicable programs.
Marketing and Communications
AVP’s communications team is robust and well equipped to meet organizational challenges and tell the organization’s stories.
Board, Staff, and Leadership
All staff and board of AVP are fully engaged, supported and have what they need to be effective AVP leaders and champions.
AVP’s board and staff leadership reflect the communities we serve, building equity, trust, and overall organizational impact.
Build and deepen AVP’s Board and staff connections to the broader community we serve and support and promote the leadership of community members and clients.
AVP is recognized locally and nationally as a leader in the anti-violence field.
AVP has increased development capacity to support the strategic plan.
AVP has diversified its funding portfolio.
AVP has achieved financial stability.
Systems: Administration, Infrastructure, and Technology
AVP has developed and maintains a physical space that honors and supports those most directly impacted by violence.
AVP has an increased technological capacity.
AVP has consistent and sustainable administrative capacity.
Summary of Key Priorities
Financial Stability and Steady Growth
While the organization’s financial picture is good, this plan focuses on ensuring that in three years, there is more diversity in funding, including less reliability on government funding. This will lead to improved cash flow and more flexibility in how AVP allocates funds. Despite the threats and uncertainty, we anticipate incremental growth lead by a new Development team, a reinvigorated and consistently growing board and an improved culture of fundraising throughout the organization.
Reinvesting in Infrastructure and People
There is always a need for more programs, services and organizing from AVP and while AVP staff often rise to the occasion to meet the demands, in the next three years, we need to shore up our own infrastructure and systems to be able to sustain more significant growth later. This plan invests heavily in staff, board and community development and leadership, in terms of professional development and deepening the benefits offered to staff. Space and IT upgrades will also be essential to allowing staff to efficiently do their jobs and ensuring that AVP is truly a safe, welcoming place for staff and community members that matches our anti-oppressive, survivor-centered and trauma informed framework. Along with that priority comes a renewed commitment to ensuring we better reflect the communities we serve by increasing the representation of those who are most marginalized and impacted by violence in leadership on staff, the board and in the larger social justice movement.
Clarifying Our Work, Increasing Visibility and Impact
In this plan, we revisit AVP’s vision, mission and goals, which we did not do during this strategic planning process. This review will help us better articulate our role in preventing violence in LGBTQ and HIV affected communities. Program depth rather than a tremendous expansion is emphasized in this plan. There is a strong desire to develop systems to measure our impact and effectiveness, evaluate where we need to place resources, and to document and share models for various aspects of our work. We believe that this combined with improving our ability to tell our story and the stories of those we work with, will increase AVP’s profile and visibility locally and nationally. By 2020, AVP should celebrate its 40th anniversary as a more recognized thought leader and effective anti-violence advocate.
Tracking Our Progress
This bold plan for AVP’s future requires a deep commitment on the part of the board, staff, and leadership of the organization. Following adoption of the plan, AVP will begin crafting an operational plan for the first year of objectives and strategies. Measurements have been included for every strategy in the plan to ensure AVP has a roadmap (within a roadmap) for keeping progress on track. Through collaboration between AVP’s Executive Director, MTEAM, and Board leadership and committees, all areas of the plan have been assigned lead personnel to ensure success.
With the 2018-2020 plan, AVP will move out of its current transitional and crisis-management mode into a place of strengthened stability, impact, visibility and leadership.
If the statistics on the rates of violence against LGBTQ communities are any indication, the work of AVP and the national coalition, NCAVP, will only prove to be more crucial in the coming years. The AVP of 2020 will be better equipped, better resourced, and better positioned for an uncertain future, filled with opportunities to effect change.