After witnessing domestic abuse as a child and surviving it as a young adult, Christina Ford dedicated herself to ending the vicious cycle.
It didn’t take her long to start moving the needle once arriving in the Queen City.
She opened her first transitional home for women and children who survived domestic violence in November 2018, less than six months after moving to Springfield for her husband Dana’s new job as head coach of men’s basketball at Missouri State University. Ford opened a second home in February through her Rebound Foundation Inc., which has since served eight women and four children.
“Domestic violence not only causes danger to the victim but leaves a pipeline of broken generations to come,” she says. “My vision is to provide service that causes a culture change.”
As the nonprofit’s president and CEO, Ford says she secured the organization’s 501(c)(3) status, wrote the proposal and raised the funds for the transitional homes, secured two years’ worth of operating budget, established a board and created youth violence prevention curriculum, annual fundraisers and trainings. The nonprofit has no paid staff, instead relying on its board and volunteer leaders. Ford says the annual operating budget is $26,500.
Prosper Springfield Director Francine Pratt says Ford quickly immersed herself in the Springfield community to see how her nonprofit concept would fit in.
“She did her homework to identify gaps of resources and services,” Pratt says. “She developed a network and partnered with community organizations to ensure she was not going to duplicate services already provided.
“Christina Ford is a silent jewel in our community.”
The transitional homes, called Marda’s House after Ford’s mother Marda Jackson, have three bedrooms and shared living spaces, Ford says. Women and children stay six-12 months, and some are referred from Harmony House, Springfield’s domestic violence shelter.
Additionally, Ford is focusing on domestic violence prevention. Soon after arriving in Springfield, she was approached by Springfield Public Schools staff and formed a partnership to caution students about violence in dating relationships.
Ford says the drive to achieve her dream has inspired others around her.
“I’ve helped set a standard that small, grassroots nonprofits can make a difference,” she says. “I’m able to be a front-runner for those still trying to break ground in their business or mission in life.”
After experiencing violence in a previous dating relationship, Ford notes her proudest accomplishment is now ending the cycle of domestic violence in her own family.
“I always started with the idea that even if I only change the trajectory of cycles of abuse within my own family, that would be enough,” she says. “The fact that my four children see their mom take a stand and influence others would have to be my proudest accomplishment.”
A pair of area medical colleges that received state grant funding in the fall are now investing the funds toward technology and new programs with the intent of attracting more students to the nursing profession.