The Marjaree Mason Center was founded by the YWCA, in 1979, after the death of Marjaree Mason. For the past thirty-five years, the Center has operated the only domestic violence shelter in Fresno County. In 1996 the Center became an independent non-profit. With the support of the community and strong leadership, the Center has become one the largest domestic violence agencies in California, providing a vital community service for those who are impacted by domestic violence in Fresno County and beyond.
Over the years, the Center has grown to provide a wide range of services to meet the complex needs of victims of abuse. These services are provided largely at no cost to domestic violence survivors. Services include: Emergency Shelter, Transitional Housing, Counseling, Legal Assistance, Support Groups, Domestic Violence Education, 24-Hour Hotline & Crisis Intake, Therapy, Safety Planning, Victim Advocacy, Human Trafficking Services and Children’s Services. The Shelter Program has grown to include three safe houses in Fresno, Reedley and Clovis that provide emergency shelter to victims of domestic violence and their children.
In the effort to become a community free of domestic violence, the Marjaree Mason Center also provides services to those who have committed acts of domestic violence to help prevent them from committing violent acts again and to encourage positive parenting and strong families. These services include a 52-week Batterer’s Intervention Program, anger management classes, and Parenting programs.
The Center also provides hundreds of community trainings and presentations about what to do if you suspect someone may be a victim of domestic violence.
The Center focuses on building community awareness and knowledge about domestic violence in an effort to prevent the cycle of violence. The kNOw MORE Program operates in Fresno County school districts trains and educates teens to be peer educators on dating violence. The program operates in 10 Fresno County high schools and reaches more than 15,000 Fresno County youth a year.
Since it was founded in 1979, it has grown into a large non-profit with an annual operating budget of more than $4.3 million. This enables the agency to provide over 21,000 nights of shelter per year and to offer the array of services that comprehensively serve clients. The ability to secure this level of funding and to maintain the financial stability of the organization, speaks to the reputation of the Center and the leadership of the staff and board. The Center has been able to establish relationships and partnerships in the community that fuel this success. For example, working with cities to secure facilities at no cost, securing funding through the Emergency Housing Assistance Funds or Housing and Urban Development, to hosting 800-fundraising person events or securing private donations and in-kind support.
Partnerships have been central to expanding services and reach. These partnerships have extended to having more than 30 Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) with community agencies including a rare partnership with law enforcement to station victim advocates in the Fresno Police Department.
For more than 30 years the Marjaree Mason Center has stayed true to its mission and has strategically sought opportunities to ensure the Center remains a constant benefit to the community.