For nonprofit programs that subsist almost entirely on grants and individual donations such as the Bannock Youth Foundation, maximizing resources is of utmost importance.
No one knows this better than Shannon Fox, who spearheads the Communities Align in Prevention Efforts initiative for the Bannock Youth Foundation.
Fox created the CAPE Coalition in an effort to ensure these limited resources are efficiently allocated, identify areas of need in local communities and better publicize the resources available for child abuse prevention and education.
“We’re building a space for any organization or individual who comes in contact with issues of trauma, abuse or prevention. They can come to the same table and discuss what (resources) we have, whether or not we’re duplicating things, or where we have gaps in services,” Fox explained.
With current plans to hold meetings once a month, The CAPE Coalition will serve not only Pocatello, but also all of Region 6 of the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, including Blackfoot. Region 6 includes Bannock, Bear Lake, Bingham, Caribou, Franklin, Oneida and Power counties.
Fox believes the coalition can be especially beneficial to individuals and organizations in smaller communities. The coalition has scheduled a meeting starting 1:30 p.m. Jan. 22 at Bannock Youth Foundation, 403 N. Hayes Ave.
Fox plans to extend CAPE Coalition meetings to other communities in Region 6. She said coalition members will be able to participate via conference call if they’re not able to physically attend meetings.
“We have a lot of rural communities that might not have a ton of resources that we need to help … so those communities aren’t being overlooked,” Fox explained.
Because the Bannock Youth Foundation and similar organizations are nonprofit and independently operated, Fox feels there can sometimes be competition between these organizations, which is ultimately counterproductive to the organizations’ shared goal of assisting victims of abuse and preventing abuse through education and training. She believes the CAPE Coalition will improve communication and reduce this perceived “competition.”
While the state-funded Department of Health & Welfare provides support and services for victims of child abuse, the majority of services specifically for child abuse prevention are provided by the Idaho Children’s Trust Fund. Though it was created in 1985 by the Idaho legislature, the ICTF receives no state funding, and is described as a “unique public-private partnership” on the ICTF’s website. While the Bannock Youth Foundation is funded in part by an ICTF grant, Fox’s program specifically is not.
Fox began her current role with the Bannock Youth Foundation in 2015 while attending Idaho State University. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in social work in 2017. Despite the challenges a lack of funding can present, CAPE’s impact in the Pocatello area under Fox’s leadership has been substantial. In addition to designating April as Child Abuse Prevention Month and organizing several corresponding activities to raise awareness each year since accepting her position, she organized the Ghostly Gathering,” which is an indoor trick-or-treating event which saw over 4,500 kids participate in 2019 alone.
Fox hopes the CAPE Coalition will create a more active dialogue within local communities that includes individuals and organizations beyond just abuse prevention entities such as CAPE.
“We don’t want it to be organizations just like ours. School districts, hospitals, government officials … we want anyone who is providing services to be at this table with us,” Fox said.
While the first CAPE Coalition meeting has not been firmly scheduled, Fox hopes to have a date and time finalized by next week. Those who are interested in participating in the CAPE Coalition or donating to CAPE can contact Fox at (208) 220-4048, or via email at shannon.Fox@byfhome.com.