CHOICES for Victims of Domestic Violence

Address Website
c/o Lutheran Social Services
500 West Wilson Bridge Road, Suite 245
Worthington, OH 43085
Social Networks!/pages/Choices-Eliminating-Domestic-Violence/106620192726777
Phone Contact


To interrupt the cycle of domestic violence by responding to those in need, educating our community, and advocating for social change.

2012 Accomplishments
  • We developed a collaboration with Catholic Social Services to provide CHOICES clients with permanent supportive housing, financial assistance, and continued support for their families. The goal of this program is to assist former shelter residents with the necessary stability to avoid re-entering a violent home.

  • CHOICES observed that while being in a abusive relationship is an emotional and difficult hardship for anyone, it can be especially challenging for someone who is deaf to reach out and find resources. We hired a counselor who is hard-of-hearing and fluent in American Sign Language.

  • After an invitation to join the Ohio Domestic Violence Network's grant from AllState's Financial Abuse and Empowerment Program, key CHOICES staff were trained to deliver its curriculum and provide financial case management. The curriculum includes budgeting, credit, and banking. The program graduated more than 40 survivors who are now eligible to take part in the AllState Matched Savings program, in which AlllState will match, dollar-for-dollar, any money a survivor deposits in their savings account up to $1,000.

  • For a survivor of domestic violence, counseling can provide the strength, courage, and recovery necessary to avoid returning to their abuser and able to move on from abuse. The Alcohol Drug and Mental Health Board of Franklin County (ADAMH) recognized this and funded a third counselor at CHOICES.

  • We completed a long-term strategic plan, made possible through a grant from The Columbus Foundation. The strategic plan detailed not only what CHOICES needs to do as an organization, but highlighted the demand for our services and that our community is there to support us.

2013 Goals
  • CHOICES will continue to collaborate with organizations ranging from the Columbus City Attorney's office's domestic violence/stalking unit to St. Ann's Hospital. This work will lead to a coordinated community response to domestic violence, as well as responding to the cultural, sexual orientation, social, legal, physical, mental health, and other barriers that block a victim on their journey towards independence and safety.

  • We will coordinate our first major donor campaign to support the increased demand for our services. We will raise $200,000 between individual and corporate donations to address the increase in demand for services resulting the organization's first waiting list and interpreting costs.

  • CHOICES will begin planning the framework for a capital campaign for a new shelter/safe haven. Funds from this campaign will enable us to grow from a 34-bed (29 beds and five cribs) institutional building to a facility that will offer a welcoming atmosphere and at least 60 beds.


CHOICES for Victims of Domestic Violence (CHOICES), formerly Phoenix House, began service in October 1977, as one of the first programs in the state to address the needs of battered women and their children. CHOICES has developed from a single shelter facility into a multi-site, full-service agency. Today, we provide the most comprehensive continuum of services for those impacted by domestic violence in central Ohio. These services include a 24-hour crisis, information, and referral hotline; temporary shelter for women and their minor children; case management; children's programming; outpatient counseling; support groups; community and legal advocacy; outreach to at-risk and special populations; and community education, workshops, and training.

CHOICES' services touch no less than 10,000 members of the our community annually. One of the only domestic violence programs in the country with services accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF), CHOICES works in collaboration with many community-based programs and services recognizing that intimate partner violence affects families, friends, neighborhoods, schools, places of worship, and businesses. The agency has developed a unique training program targeting human resource and security professionals, and we facilitate a variety of weekly support groups for individuals impacted by domestic violence. Our community advocates reach individuals in their own neighborhoods, where they feel safe and supported. Legal advocates assist clients at the Columbus City Prosecutor and Franklin County Prosecutor offices. Recognizing the need to reach women in prison, the agency piloted an education program at Franklin Pre-Release Center in 1990. The success of the program and the positive response of the participants were instrumental in its expansion to a full-time program for inmates at the Ohio Reformatory for Women. We continue to grow our impact through partnerships that serve our clients.

When the doors to our shelter first opened in 1977, our main objective was to shelter women and children from violence occurring in their own homes. Today--35 years later--we could never have imagined how many lives we would touch, or how many allies would join us in our mission to eliminate domestic violence in our community and advocate for social change.

Over the years, CHOICES has forged strong, and often times unique partnerships with a variety of organizations in central Ohio. We are proud of being and appreciate having been one of the first shelters in Ohio to received funding from the United Way of Central Ohio. We count the ADAMH Board of Franklin County as one of our longest-running supporters and collaborators, and are proud of our long-standing, innovative alliances with numerous organizations such as the Center for Family Safety and Healing, Huckleberry House, and the Ohio Reformatory for Women.

Statement from Chief Larry Rinehart , Bexley Police Department

CHOICES is a unique organization. Not only because it offers the ONLY domestic violence shelter and crisis hotline in Franklin County, but because it understands the world of domestic violence. The selfless staff at CHOICES is on the front lines of domestic violence everyday. As a police officer and someone who has been directly affected by domestic violence, I can truly say that an organization like CHOICES is vital to our community. But, like many organizations, CHOICES is trying to meet the higher demand for services with the same--if not less--support. The economy and other factors have influenced this trend, but I refuse to let CHOICES struggle in their mission to eliminate domestic violence. I encourage you to investigate for yourself why they are so crucial to our community. I also whole-heartedly encourage you to give to CHOICES, because with one in four women experiencing domestic violence sometime in their life, we all need to stand behind CHOICES.

CHOICES for Victims of Domestic Violence

Senior Staff
Ms. Susan Villilo MSW, Executive Director

Hired in January 2012, Jesse Jones is a graduate of Columbus State Community College and The Ohio State Univeristy. She brings experience working in both the private and public sectors, and is responsible for all general development functions, including fundraising, public relations, and grantwriting.

Ms. Holly Anderson, Fiscal Director

Holly Anderson brings eight year of accounting experience and a wealth of human resources knowledge to CHOICES. She has worked in both the private and nonprofit sector. She is a graduate of Ohio Dominican Univerisity and is seeking a master's of science in accounting at Franklin University.

Mrs. Sandy Allen, Deputy Executive Director

Sandy Allen has been with CHOICES for 32 of its 35 years! Not only the CHOICES historian, Ms. Allen has also become the domestic violence expert in Columbus, regularly contributing quotes and knowledge to the media when an incident occurs. Sandy has performed numerous trainings to large companies including AEP, as well as the Columbus Division of Police.

Number of Full-Time Staff: 23 
Number of Part-Time Staff: 10 
Number of Volunteers: 20 
Staff Retention Rate: 82% 

Directors and Officers Insurance Policy No
Fundraising Plan Yes
Management Succession/Training Plan No
Organization Policies and Procedures No
Strategic Plan Yes
Years Plan Considers 4
Current Plan Adopted 10/2012


ASHA Ray of Hope; Bexley Police Department; Center for Family Safety and Healing; City of Dublin Police; Columbus City Attorney's Domestic Violence Unit; Crime-Trauma Assistance Program at Mount Carmel Medical Center; Delaware County Domestic Violence Response Team; Grove City Division of Police; Huckleberry house; Legal Aid Society of Columbus; Ohio Domestic Violence Network; Safe Place Community Partners; Violence Against Women Advisory Board; and Human Services Chamber.

Government Licenses
Mental Health Care/Facilities

National Accreditations
Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) - Behavioral Health - 3 Year Accreditation

Local Governing Board
Board Chair Chief Larry Rinehart, Bexley Police Department
Board Chair Term 1/2012 - 12/2014  
Board Members
Ms. Alissa Amidon-Carbonaro, Limited Brands, Inc.  
Dr. Maureen Black, Pyschologist, Private Practice and Consultant  
Ms. Terri Flora, AEP  
Mr. Michael Fultz, Metz & Bailey  
Ms. Kelley Griesmer, Pelotonia  
Ms. Lorie McCaughan, Capital University Law School  
Ms. Amy McConnell, Community Volunteer  
Mrs. Mary McVicar, GBQ Partners  
Ms. Diana Ramos-Reardon, Ohio Supreme Court  
Ms. Sharon Sills, Huntington Bank  
Ms. Laura Spears, Lion Management  
Mr. Patrick Stephens, COTA  
Ms. Karen Washington, Verizon Wireless  
Board Meetings Annually
Board Meeting Attendance 68% 
Board Member Monetary Contributions 93%
Board Member In-kind Contributions 21%
Gender Female 79%
  Male 21%
Race African-American/Black 14%
  Asian-American/Pacific Islander 0%
  Caucasian 79%
  Hispanic/Latino 7%
  Native American/American Indian 0%
  Multi-Racial 0%
  Other 0%
Advisory Board
No members in the Advisory Board.

CHOICES for Victims of Domestic Violence

Temporary Shelter

It is well-known that CHOICES offers temporary shelter, but the location is kept confidential for safety purposes. A dedicated staff has guaranteed its operation 24-hours a day, seven days a week since 1977, making it the longest-running domestic violence shelter in central Ohio. The physical facility includes, 10 bedrooms, six bathrooms, four separate heating systems, and windows and doors too numerous to count. Hundreds of volunteers have donated their time and skills to keep the shelter running efficiently for more than 35 years. Residents stay an average of 20 days, and receive counseling, outreach assistance, and referral services during this time. Thousands of families have used this residence, which takes on a special personality because of the families who take refuge there.


CHOICES offers problem-solving counseling, support, resources, and referrals to the victims and survivors of domestic violence. Services are available 24-hours a day and provided by licensed social workers with graduate-level credentials. Treatment goals are developed cooperatively and focus on increasing self-esteem, empowerment, and decision-making skills. Personal, physical, and emotional safety plans are explored and defined.

Education and Training

Education is the first step in the prevention of family violence. CHOICES strives to educate the community-at-large, mental health and social service staff, legal and law enforcement communities, healthcare workers, and other appropriate groups about domestic violence and available services. Specific educational programs and trainings include consultation and education to community groups, schools, churches and families; trainings for medical and mental healthcare professionals; and Domestic Violence in the Workplace education for central Ohio employers.

Crisis and Information Hotline

CHOICES receives thousands of calls each year from people living in fear from the threat of domestic violence. To meet this incredible demand, CHOICES provides a crisis, information, and referral hotline 24-hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. This resource is the only one of its kind in central Ohio and is available to anyone in need of domestic violence information or assistance. Hotline staff are trained to listen, ask questions, discuss alternatives, and ultimately refer callers to specific programs and services based on their individual needs.


CHOICES provides outreach services through legal advocacy and programs for special populations. Legal advocates offer support, gather information, and assist with filing criminal charges and obtaining protection orders to help victims navigate the criminal justice system. Educational and support group sessions teach at-risk participants about the cycle of abuse, the psychological effects of a relationship dominated by power and control, and the generational nature of domestic violence. CHOICES began offering advocacy services in January 2004 to the caregivers of child sexual abuse victims at Center for Family Safety and Healing.

CHOICES for Victims of Domestic Violence
Data reflects three most recently completed fiscal years.

Current Fiscal Year 01/01/2012 - 12/31/2012
Projected Revenue $1,158,826
Projected Expense $1,539,046
Endowment Fund No
Current Capital Campaign? No
Anticipate a capital campaign in next 5 years? Yes

Revenue by Source
  2011   2010   2009  
Total Direct Support $310,025  $334,536  $390,141 
Direct Support Foundations
Direct Support Corporations
Direct Support Individuals $109,076  $67,969  $84,502 
Direct Support Unspecified $200,949  $266,567  $305,639 
Government $482,782  $482,606  $500,205 
Indirect Public Support $206,027  $167,726  $197,392 
Earned Revenue $4,112  $11,105  $12,688 
Interest and Dividends -$205,482  $122,055  $270,622 
Membership Dues
Special Events $120,680  $135,695  $123,632 
Realized gain on sale of investments & Other
Realized gain on sale of investments & Other
Realized gain on sale of investments & Other
Other $202,909  -$35,619  $17,256 
TOTAL REVENUE $1,121,053  $1,218,104  $1,511,936 

Expense by Type
  2011   2010   2009  
Programs $1,038,744  $1,235,766  $1,254,320 
Administration $237,545  $123,404  $117,460 
Fundraising $195,619  $86,593  $99,924 
Payment to Affiliates
TOTAL EXPENSES $1,471,908  $1,445,763  $1,471,704 

Assets and Liabilities
  2011   2010   2009  
Total Assets $1,888,483  $2,270,172  $2,536,592 
Current Assets $415,567  $335,981  $534,557 
Total Liabilities $200,579  $231,413  $270,174 
Current Liabilities $62,901  $76,276  $101,578 
NET ASSETS $1,687,904  $2,038,759  $2,266,418 

Financial Documents Available:

FY 2011
  • Form 990 or 990EZ
  • Annual Audit
FY 2010
  • Form 990 or 990EZ
FY 2009
  • Form 990 or 990EZ
  • Annual Audit
Mrs. Sharon L. McCloy-Reichard

Due to extrordinary expenses in FY11, decreases in donations, and an increase in demand for services, CHOICES relied on its "rainey day fund" to cover its deficit. In order to counter this trend, CHOICES is creating a marketing and development strategy that will educate the community on its important work.