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Monday, July 11, 2011

What is our big picture view of violence and self-defense?

IMPACT is based on an understanding of violence, particularly gender-based violence, as a widespread social problem perpetuated by imbalances of power and disrespect for others. We share an understanding that intersections of gender, race, class, sexuality, age, national origin, disability affect how an individual may be targeted and respond to violence.

We believe that regardless of age, size, and physical abilities, people are powerful and capable of self-protection. We believe that IMPACT self-defense training is an essential part of a broad vision and comprehensive strategy to prevent abuse, respond effectively to violence, support healing, and create social change.

What kind of an organization are we?

We are a nimble organization. We are mission-driven with clear manageable goals. We are efficient, effective, and selective – meaning we minimize work that does not clearly push our mission forward or is not required for fiscal solvency. Our mission and programming are at the center of our work. Our organizational structure spreads out responsibility for the work required to keep our mission and programming going across three key groups: Board, Instructors, and Administration.

What human resources do we need to maintain our success and to grow?

The three major leadership structures (board, administration, and instructors) and the functions IMPACT Chicago needs to keep going are depicted in our organization chart (more on this in August!). An intrinsic part of our smooth functioning is that one or more people in leadership positions have a big picture view of the organization, understanding the important contributions each part makes and the interconnections among the leadership structures and functions and how they all combine to maintain our programs and mission.

Our Mission Statement

We are committed to ending violence and building a non-violent world in which all people can live safely and with dignity. By teaching self-defense, we provide women and girls with the tools they need to prevent, minimize, and stop violence. With that, IMPACT Chicago is committed to making its programs accessible to people of all economic, racial/ethnic, and social groups. IMPACT Chicago encourages the personal growth of people within the organization and supports their creative efforts to end violence and build a non-violent world.

Our key values are that both individuals and communities are responsible for safety and violence prevention. We believe that women and girls are powerful and have the right to control their own bodies and set boundaries. We also believe that men are and can be allies. We implement our mission by creating female-male teams led by female instructors. We work with diverse groups of people – across gender, race, class, sexuality, age, and physical abilities – and create classroom environments in which people learn individually and collectively. We serve women and girls (cis and trans). We do outreach in various communities, offer financial assistance to individuals, and offer workshops for organizations serving low-income groups.

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