[Providence, RI] Sojourner House, the largest and most comprehensive anti-violence agency serving victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking in Rhode Island, hosted its first-ever virtual fundraising event on Friday November 13, 2020 with its 10th annual Masquerade Ball. Over 200 people registered and nearly 100 viewing devices joined live to celebrate the Ball’s 10th anniversary. The event raised over $104,000 to support Sojourner House and its efforts to provide shelter, housing, and empowering supportive services to victims of abuse.

Normally held at the Providence Graduate Hotel, this year the event was held virtually and featured many of the elements Sojourner House supporters have grown to love about the Masquerade Ball over the years. Joe Wilson Jr. of Trinity Rep was the emcee for the evening, and Rhode Island’s most beloved drag queen, Miss Kitty Litter, joined the broadcast from North Carolina to lead the evening’s live donation “Fund-The-Need.” Entertainment was provided by the Extraordinary Rendition Band (“ERB”) and the Hasbro employee band – Toys 2 Men! The evening also featured a video montage celebration of the ten years of the Ball developed by graphic designer Carolyn Marsden, and DJ Krissy Phillipino closed out the evening with a live-streaming music after-party.

Sponsors of the Ball included 2020 Vision Sponsors Amica, Bank of America, and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island and Hollywood sponsors Chisholm, Chisholm & Kilpatrick, MetLife, and Santander. Sojourner House’s Executive Director, Vanessa Volz, stated, “We are so appreciative to all of our supporters, including our amazing sponsors, for helping to make Sojourner House’s first-ever virtual fundraising event such a huge success—even in the midst of such challenging times. Victims of abuse have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the funds raised at the Ball will be used to ensure that Sojourner House will have the resources to help keep victims and their children safe this winter.”

Last fiscal year, Sojourner House served 23% more victims than the previous fiscal year, and since the COVID-19 pandemic has hit, they have seen a 30% increase in calls to their crisis hotline and an over 125% increase in requests for basic necessities such as food and rent. Since March, Sojourner House has helped nearly 1,000 victims of abuse, and they expect to serve even more during this next wave of the pandemic.

To learn more about Sojourner House and how you can help, please visit www.sojournerri.org.

About Sojourner House: Founded in 1976, the mission of Sojourner House is to promote healthy relationships by providing culturally sensitive support, advocacy, housing, and education for victims and survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking; and to effect systems change. They offer Rhode Island’s largest and most comprehensive residential services program for victims and survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking, including safe shelter, transitional housing, permanent supportive housing, and rapid re-housing. In addition to safe shelter and housing, they provide trauma-informed supportive services and they operate the only drop-in advocacy and resource center in the greater Providence area, offering victims and community members access to support and services when and where they need it most. For more information, please visit www.sojournerri.org.