A $50,000 challenge grant from the Wabash Valley Community Foundation will help the Council on Domestic Abuse restore its full residential services in Terre Haute.

For every $2 donated to CODA, the foundation will donate an additional $1 up to a total of $50,000, the foundation and CODA officials announced Monday.

CODA, having announced its funding dilemma last week, has already raised $43,000.

“Domestic violence and sexual assault is not just a private family problem, it is a community problem that requires a community solution,” Nancy Rogers, vice president of the Community Foundation, said at a news conference at the foundation's office.

"We all believe that the work the CODA does every day is critical to the well-being of the Wabash Valley. We are pleased to work with businesses and donors throughout the community to make sure that the good work of CODA will continue.”

CODA provides a residential shelter for survivors of domestic abuse and sexual assault, as well as counseling, advocacy and a variety of educational services.

CODA does, however, have a very short time-frame to raise the money it needs.

A week ago, CODA Executive Director Sarah Campbell said the $150,000 is needed by Sept. 14 so the agency can keep an adequate cash balance on hand to cover costs as it waits for state and federal reimbursements.

Within hours, word of the need spread through news outlets and social media, resulting in a flow of donations through the CODA website at www.CodaTerreHaute.org and donations delivered to the organization at its emergency shelter and at its administration offices on Houseman Street.

CODA board Vice President Christina Crist said it was difficult to sit with Campbell last Friday and tell eight employees that their jobs had ended due to lack of funding.

“It was heartbreaking,” Crist said. “But, now, to see how much the community has pulled together is so heartwarming. And it shows our entire community, as part of this great Wabash Valley, that there are people who do care.”

Campbell said the goal is to slowly re-hire CODA employees who were laid off.

CODA had 22 employees, including staff at the Vigo County Courthouse, the emergency shelter and the outreach staff. Cuts were made in outreach and at the shelter and the courthouse office.

Beth Tevlin, executive director of the Community Foundation, said the challenge grant gives businesses and individual donors more incentive to contribute knowing that their giving will be matched.

“This helps CODA reach its goal faster,” Tevlin said. “And it's so critically important to our community, how we care about each other and support each other, that we continue having these residential services offered by CODA.”

The funds for the challenge grant come from the foundation's unrestricted funds, also known as community endowment funds.

For more information about CODA or to donate, visit www.CodaTerreHaute.org or the CODA Terre Haute Facebook page.

For more information about the Community Foundation, visit www.wvcf.org or call 812-232-2234.

Lisa Trigg can be reached at 812-231-4254 or at lisa.trigg@tribstar.com. Follow her on Twitter at TribStarLisa.

Lisa Trigg has been a reporter at the Tribune-Star since 2009. With more than 30 years of newspaper experience, she now covers general news with a focus on crime and courts.

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