YWCA New Hampshire Names Interim Executive Director

For Immediate Release

Direct inquiries to: info@ywcanh.org

YWCA New Hampshire Names Interim Executive Director

Manchester, NH – (July 11, 20224) YWCA New Hampshire’s Board of Directors have selected Caroline Catlender as their Interim Executive Directive.

“I’m excited to welcome Caroline as YWCA NH’s next leader,” said Board of Directors President Donna Sovie. “We believe she will advance our mission through her passionate leadership and dedication to empowering women and eliminating racism in our community. We are excited to support Caroline in this new role.”

Caroline will bring her innovative leadership as well as a demonstrated track record of commitment to issues key to the YWCA’s mission to this role. Caroline has spent 20+ years working in Human Resource leadership roles focused primarily on small businesses and nonprofit organizations. She previously served as the Executive Director of the Billerica Alliance, a nonprofit business and community support organization and has worked for national brands including PUMA, Target and Estee Lauder.

In 2017, Caroline moved to New Hampshire, settling in the Manchester area, where she has provided human resource consulting services to several businesses and nonprofits. YWCA NH was one of her clients, giving both parties the opportunity to work together on key organization initiatives.

“I am thrilled to join the team at YWCA NH and lead the mission to empower women and eliminate racism,” says Caroline. “YWCA NH has undergone a number of changes in recent months and I see this as a great opportunity for us to re-connect with the community and determine where we can best fill the gaps. We are a state-wide agency so while our focus will be on the greater Manchester area, our reach will expand, in time, across New Hampshire.”

Caroline is a graduate of Boston University where she earned a B.S. in Business Administration. Growing up, she was educated at an all-girls school where she learned early the importance and impact of empowering young girls and young women to become the best versions of themselves. She has long been focused on community service having spent time on boards for Billerica Public

Library Foundation, Massachusetts Department of Children and Families, and the Merrimack Valley Economic Development Council. She served as the President of the Rotary Club of Billerica and spent years volunteering with the Massachusetts Adoption Resource Exchange and Cambridge Family and Children’s Services.


YWCA NH is a nonprofit organization with the mission of eliminating racism and empowering women. Chartered in 1920, YWCA NH has a long and rich history of creating opportunities for women’s growth, leadership and power through a common vision: promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all. Worldwide, the YWCA impacts more than 25 million people in over 120 countries. For information about the YWCA NH, visit our website, www.ywcanh.org



July 1, 2024
Contact: Caroline Catlender carolinec@ywcanh.org

Dear Valued Community Partners,

 Since 1920 the YWCA New Hampshire (YWCA NH) has directed critical resources to meet the vast needs of our community. This focus continued into the 1960s, when a national convention urged YWCAs to empower women in leadership and community roles.

Today, YWCA NH carries on this mission through various social service programs. Despite evolving names and services, the commitment of the YWCA NH to address the needs of women and girls remains strong, echoing the enthusiasm of its founders.

As our communities grow and change, it is vital for nonprofits like ours to work with stakeholders to periodically assess the needs within our community and identify how the strengths of our organization can be used to make the greatest impact.                  

For many years, the REACH Crisis Services has been part of a network of 12 independent crisis centers under the umbrella of The New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence (The Coalition), all serving victims of domestic and sexual violence, stalking, human trafficking, and child abuse.

As an outcome of assessments and conversations with The Coalition conducted over several months, beginning July 1, 2024, REACH Crisis Services will operate separately from YWCA NH.

The Coalition and its network of programs are committed to a smooth transition to ensure that every victim and survivor in New Hampshire will continue to receive uninterrupted support. As part of that transition, Bridges: Domestic & Sexual Violence Support of Nashua will be taking the lead as the fiscal agent for REACH Crisis Services in Manchester.

During the month of July, services will be provided at the same location at YWCA NH and by the same staff.

Victims and survivors in the Greater Manchester area should continue to use REACH Crisis Services’ 24-hour helpline at 603-668-2299 or New Hampshire’s statewide helpline at 1-866-644-3574.

YWCA New Hampshire has been a vital resource in our community for more than 100 years, and we will continue to focus on meeting the diverse needs of girls, women, and families. Our commitment to the mission of empowering women and eliminating racism remains unwavering, and we look forward to continuing to serve and empower individuals and families in New Hampshire.

For more information on the YWCA New Hampshire and our programs, please contact us at 603-625-5785, email us at info@ywcanh.org or visit our website at www.ywcanh.org.

                        YWCA New Hampshire Board of Directors



Shaheen, Blackburn, Pappas Reintroduce Bipartisan, Bicameral Legislation to Launch Nationwide Adverse Childhood Experiences Response Team (ACERT) Programs Piloted in New Hampshire

July 13, 2023

Shaheen, Blackburn, Pappas Reintroduce Bipartisan, Bicameral Legislation to Launch Nationwide Adverse Childhood Experiences Response Team (ACERT) Programs Piloted in New Hampshire


**Bill allows local governments and community-based organizations to apply for grants to address adverse childhood experiences associated with exposure to trauma.**


(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) joined Congressman Chris Pappas (NH-01) to reintroduce Senate and House versions of the National ACERT Grant Program Authorization Act, which would provide federal resources for communities to address adverse childhood experiences associated with exposure to trauma. By helping to establish programs that allow law enforcement and first responders to connect with local child specialists and professionals, resources from the legislation would facilitate early intervention to help mitigate the impact of childhood trauma.

“Exposure to traumatic experiences during childhood can have devastating, long-term consequences on children’s physical, mental and emotional development. As crises like the substance use disorder epidemic continue to impact families, its essential that first responders have the resources necessary to administer early intervention and trauma-informed care for affected families,” said Senator Shaheen. “This bill would establish a grant program to support the development and creation of critical, proven programs like Manchester’s ACERT in communities nationwide. These programs are crucial to ensuring children and families have the support necessary to break the cycle of trauma and lead healthy, successful lives.”

“We must ensure that we provide every necessary resource to combat childhood trauma for Tennessee communities in need,” said Senator Blackburn. “Due to trauma’s effects on brain development, early intervention is crucial to alleviate the effects of childhood trauma and prevent long-term harm. Tennessee is home to one of the leading Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) programs, Building Small Brains, which serves as a national model for programs around the country. The National ACERT Grant Program Authorization Act would build on Tennessee’s progress by giving each state the tools they need to deliver services and care to children who have experienced trauma.”

“Adverse childhood experiences can have lifelong impacts on our children, and ACE response teams, or ACERTs, serve as a critical tool for early intervention and future prevention of incidents of childhood trauma. Put simply, ACERTs mitigate the impacts of trauma and ensure kids have bright futures and live full lives ahead,” said Congressman Pappas. “Law enforcement officers, fire fighters, and first responders are often the first face a child sees after a traumatic experience, and ACERTs partner them with local health providers and child advocates to ensure children have the services and care they need. In New Hampshire, we have already seen the positive impacts these programs can bring to local communities, and I’m proud to join Senator Shaheen in introducing this bipartisan legislation to bring this program to the national level.”

“Amoskeag Health is thrilled to hear of the National ACERT Grant Program Authorization Act put forth by Senator Shaheen and Senator Blackburn. Since the program’s inception, Manchester ACERT has connected over 2,500 children to therapeutic services with the goal of mitigating the negative health consequences associated with adverse childhood experiences. The ACEs Response Team partnership between the Manchester Police Department, YWCA of NH, and Amoskeag Health has acted as a model for 15 other replicating communities across New Hampshire and Massachusetts. We have seen interest grow exponentially and the ACERT Technical Assistance Center receives inquiries from states reaching far beyond the boundaries of New England, looking for support to bring this model to families most in need. Federal funding for national ACERT expansion would be instrumental to ensuring police departments have the resources needed to partner with mental health and family serving agencies in a shared mission of addressing childhood trauma,” said Katie Burns, MPH, ACERT Manager

“As one of the co-developers of the ACERT model, it is amazing to see this work continue to expand and grow, seven years later. As a survivor of childhood trauma, I know how critical this legislation is to ensuring the future health and well-being of society. ACEs remains one of the largest public health threats our children face today. We applaud Senator Shaheen on her visionary leadership to change the narrative on how we address trauma in our community, and give voice to past, present and future generations who have experienced ACEs,” said Jessica Cantin, CEO, YWCA NH


“The Manchester Police Department is proud to be at the forefront of the development of the ACERT program. We are even more proud to see that this successful program is now expanding throughout the state and beyond. The ACERT program began at Manchester Police Department in 2015 in partnership with Amoskeag Health and our local YWCA. Members of our police department at that time identified a gap in service in which adults who were part of a traumatic event were offered appropriate services while there was no clear path to offer similar services for any children involved. Since that time, the program has been responsible for identifying and providing resources to countless children who have dealt with adverse childhood experiences. As the ACERT program continues to expand its reach, we remain committed to creating a brighter and more resilient future for every child affected by adverse experiences,” said Allen Aldenberg, Chief, Manchester Police Department.


ACEs, or Adverse Childhood Experiences, are events in a child’s life which have a heavy impact on their future wellbeing, success in life and risk of violence. This legislation would allow for the creation of ACE Response Teams (ACERTs) which would provide services and care to children who have experienced trauma.

The legislation authorizes $10 million a year for four years for the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to establish a national ACERT program, modeled on the pilots here in New Hampshire. That Senate proposal would provide $10 million for DOJ and HHS to establish a national ACERT program, modeled on the pilots here in New Hampshire.

Full text of the legislation can be read here. 


Shaheen has led efforts in Congress to combat the substance use disorder epidemic and support affected families.  As a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Shaheen also fought to secure $750,000 for the enhancement of ACERT infrastructure and training resources for law enforcement and first responders in the fiscal year (FY) 2022 funding legislation that was signed into law.


Cassia Burns

Press Assistant

U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen

Doors open at Brook Street Women’s Shelter, a ‘place for transformation’
“This house is a testament to what we can do as a community. I think back to that old story about the stone soup, where everybody brings something and then eventually it’s like this really great stew and it feeds the whole village,” Cantin says. She enumerates some of the gestures of kindness she’s witnessed in the past three weeks: a batch of towels here, a U-haul full of furniture there. People willing to paint, to organize supplies, to build beds. The collaboration from the community allowed the YWCA to hit its target date of Feb. 6 for opening.


Click Here to read the Complete Article – Manchester Ink Link


Emerald Anderson-Ford: Discomfort can be the catalyst for change

EACH YEAR as we reflect on Dr. King’s legacy, the nation and local communities find moments of harmony and peace as we remember what it means to be unified as citizens of this world. Like many other world leaders who came before and after him, Dr. Martin Luther King reminded us that our differences will only take us so far; we have to be willing to find community and connection with those with whom we disagree.

Click Here to read the Complete Article – Union Leader

Click Here to read the Complete Article – Manchester Ink Link


RFP - ACERT Expansion Project–DEI (Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion) Factors - Accepting proposals through Jan 20, 2023

RFP – YWCA New Hampshire is seeking bids on a request for proposal from qualified Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion focused consultants/training providers as a part of an ACERT Expansion project funded by SAMHSA (the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration). The project aims to expand the ACERT (Adverse Childhood Experiences Response Team) program to new communities, increase the services and capacity of existing ACERT partners, and enhance DEI training and competency among all ACERT partners. YWCA New Hampshire is accepting proposals in response to this RFP from now through January 20, 2023.

Click Here to read the Complete Request for Proposal


YWCA New Hampshire’s statement on the Supreme Court Decision to Overturn Roe vs. Wade

Nearly 50 years ago, the Supreme Court ruled that women and pregnant people have a right to obtain an abortion. Since that ruling, abortion rights activists and health care workers have been hard at work to ensure continued, and improved, access to abortion and reproductive healthcare in the United States. The ability to choose when, and if, to have a child is a profound choice with lasting consequences that every person should be able to make for themselves. There is no question for us, that this should be a basic human right (Chandler, 2022)

Click Here to read the Complete Statement


YWCA New Hampshire Annual Impact Report FY2022

Our largest program, REACH Crisis Services, provides support to survivors of domestic and sexual violence and stalking 24/7/365. One of our most intensive services is our emergency shelter program, Emily’s Place, where we provide safe, confidential, short-term housing while survivors and their children start to rebuild their futures. In Emily’s Place program, we see individuals and families enter our program at the most vulnerable times in their lives. We have the ability to empower clients to redefine their futures. We don’t always see someone’s full journey, but each and every interaction we have with a survivor plants a seed of growth and support.

Click Here to read the Complete Statement


YWCA NH Opens Satellite Crisis Center in Derry

YWCA New Hampshire has opened a satellite location of its REACH Crisis Services Program in Derry. REACH offers free and confidential services and support 24/7/365 to anyone experiencing or effected by domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, human trafficking, or gender-based/interpersonal violence.

Click Here to read the Union Leader Article


YWCA and Pappas celebrate $750,000 for ACERT program

YWCA and Pappas celebrate $750,000 for ACERT program

MANCHESTER, N.H. – On Wednesday, representatives of local organizations gathered at the YWCA on Concord Street to celebrate $750,000 in federal funding to help augment the Manchester Adverse Childhood Experiences Response Team, or ACERT.

Click Here to Read The Full Story at InkLink.com

Click here to Read The Story at WMUR.com

YWCA NH Appoints Emerald Anderson-Ford Chief Diversity Officer

YWCA NH Appoints Emerald Anderson-Ford Chief Diversity Officer 

 MANCHESTER NH – YWCA New Hampshire has appointed Emerald Anderson-Ford as its first Chief Diversity Officer. Anderson-Ford comes to the YW from the national office of City Year, having served in a variety of roles including Managing Director of Diversity & Equity Strategy.

Also a small business owner, she founded Communities Reaching for Equity and Diversity (CRED), an equity consulting group that has worked with school districts, police departments and other government and nonprofit entities to grow anti-racism initiatives.

YWCA New Hampshire’s mission is to empower women and eliminate racism. Anderson-Ford’s appointment is a strategic decision by the YW to expand its longstanding reputation as a women’s organization to one also focused on racial equity.

“Emerald’s first project will be to conduct a top to bottom internal assessment of YWCA New Hampshire’s equity and inclusion practices so that we can be certain we are walking our own talk,” said YWCA CEO Jessica Cantin. “Then we plan to make her significant expertise available to other organizations in the community.”

“The YWCA has been a powerhouse and leader in advocacy and the elevation of women’s rights for many years,” said Anderson-Ford. “I am excited to join the team and expand its great work at the intersection of race and ethnicity.”

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Photo of Emerald Anderson-Ford attached.



YWCA NH is part of an international, multifaceted social service agency that was founded in 1858, and has had a fully functioning association in the greater Manchester area since 1920. Its mission is to empower women and to eliminate racism.

 YWCA NH currently serves 2,700 individuals annually and offers an array of social justice programs that focus on domestic violence prevention and response, youth education, community education and outreach and empowerment.

2021 New Hampshire State Budget Passes a Questionable Law

This Is Not the 1950s

Misguided new law sends wrong message on race and equity

State leaders recently passed a budget that had handcuffed to it a questionable state law effectively banning the teaching of so-called “divisive concepts” in New Hampshire public schools. What are being framed as divisive concepts or “critical race theory” are efforts to explore and discuss attitudes about race, gender and other important but sometimes difficult topics.

An earlier controversial and more far-reaching bill with similar intent was tabled by a House committee after the Business and Industry Association, along with 225 independent businesses and nonprofits, said the bill sent the wrong message about the issue of race and gender discrimination. It was blatantly racist. Governor Sununu threatened to veto it, claiming it too broadly limited free speech.

But its proponents ran an end run by getting a different version tied to the state budget. And rather than veto the budget and spend the summer delineating financial issues from social issues, the legislature and Governor Sununu turned their backs on justice, passed the budget with its inappropriate non-fiscal amendments and headed home for the summer.

If there were any doubts about the implications of this, the fact that more than half of Governor Sununu’s State Council on Diversity and Inclusion resigned this week in protest, stating the law silences important conversations about race, makes it clear. The council was appointed by the Governor to advise him on matters of race, diversity, equity and inclusion in 2017. Was their initial appointment simply a hollow political gesture on Sununu’s part, rather than an attempt to actually engage in an understanding around issues of race and gender?

Cleverly tucked inside a number of paragraphs that ban the teaching of discrimination, the law prohibits instruction by government agencies and public schools, “That an individual, by virtue of his or her age, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, race, creed, color, marital status, familial status, mental or physical disability, religion, or national origin, is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously.” (Emphasis mine.)

This makes teaching the concept that each of us has unconscious implicit biases, which unfortunately are often the root of ambient discrimination, illegal. Recognizing implicit bias is one of the most important concepts that our society has to learn in order for us to move forward in understanding our attitudes and achieving racial equity.

One has to wonder why a questionable law like this was drafted, debated, and finally tied at the eleventh hour to important work like the state budget. Our state has critical issues to grapple with – like homelessness, the needs of small business for employees, the ongoing opioid crisis, child abuse, domestic violence – and during the last six months our elected leaders devoted energy to this — and abortion. What is this, 1952?

I have no doubt that most legislators don’t understand the full implications of this law. New Hampshire teachers were already struggling to be able to communicate and facilitate discussions about race. And now state government has put a measure in place that not only makes that more difficult, but actually makes it illegal. This does not move us ahead. It sets us back. It also, unfortunately, further reinforces the perception that New Hampshire is one of the least diverse states in the US. Our business leaders knew this would have a negative impact; our legislators should understand this as well. This 1950s mentality is not consistent with New Hampshire’s 2020s aspirations.

I also have no doubt that this misguided legislation will eventually be amended or repealed; it too closely represents a presidential executive order that was determined to be unconstitutional, a violation of the First Amendment rights held so dear in our state. There have been many other instances in this country when we realized we were not doing the right thing and this is one of them.

We moved through these previous instances by having difficult conversations, not by avoiding them. These conversations brought us progress – on women’s rights, civil rights, protection from domestic violence, ADA legislation, equal access to workplaces and education. Progress happens when people are willing to engage in difficult conversations, listen to each other and consider another person’s view and lived experience. Censorship has never brought us progress.

Until the law is changed, YWCA New Hampshire will be working with our partners to channel our influence, resources and community space to provide opportunity for people in the community, including children, to have these important discussions. Our mission, and in some cases, our funders, require we provide this environment.

We will not be trying to “indoctrinate” or “inculcate” (language used in the misguided new law). We will only try to create awareness that racism and bias exist and have an effect on how we interact with others in our community.

If you read this and are passionate about righting this wrong, I urge you to get involved in your community, be an advocate, use your voice to support safe spaces where children can have access to these discussions, with responsible guidance from the adults in their lives. If they can’t take place in our public schools, we have to make sure they take place outside of them.

We need to move New Hampshire forward. This 1950s mentality will not serve New Hampshire in the 2020s.

Jessica Cantin is CEO of YWCA New Hampshire. The YW’s mission is to empower women and eliminate racism.

YWCA NH is a proud partner of the ACERT Program

YWCA NH is a proud partner of the ACERT Program. We are excited to welcome Patch to our team!

Watch the video to learn what Manchester is doing to minimize the impact of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) for children and families.

Click Here to Learn about The ACERT program in Manchester

NH Chronicle - Friday, April 2nd: Empowering Women at the YWCA

YWCA NH Supporting the community for more than 100 years.

Click Here to Watch the NH Chronicle Story

With third round of Paycheck Protection Program underway, bank reaches out to underserved businesses in region
YWCA New Hampshire Receives Unexpected Gift

The selection recognizes YW’s strong leadership, effectiveness, and important mission

MANCHESTER — YWCA New Hampshire is the recipient of $1 million donation from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott. Ms. Scott is an author and was formerly married to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. Scott, who plans to give away her entire fortune, announced her latest round of charitable giving to 384 organizations across the U.S. in a post on Medium on Tuesday.

In it she said, “I asked a team of advisors to help me accelerate my 2020 giving through immediate support to people suffering the economic effects of the crisis.

“They took a data-driven approach to identifying organizations with strong leadership teams and results, with special attention to those operating in communities facing high projected food insecurity, high measures of racial inequity, high local poverty rates, and low access to philanthropic capital.

“These 384 carefully selected teams have dedicated their lives to helping others, working and volunteering and serving real people face-to-face at bedsides and tables, in prisons and courtrooms and classrooms, on streets and hospital wards and hotlines and frontlines of all types and sizes, day after day after day.”

YWCA New Hampshire’s mission is to eliminate racism and empower women. It serves approximately 2,300 individuals annually and offers an array of social justice programs that focus on domestic violence prevention and response, youth education, community education, racial justice and outreach, and empowerment. It operates the third-largest crisis services program for survivors of domestic and sexual violence in the state; including the largest domestic violence shelter. 

While the YWCA does not immediately know what it will do with the unexpected gift, its board of directors plans to use it to help the YW advance its mission to the next level. The specifics will be announced at the YW’s celebration of its 101st anniversary in March.

“This unrestricted donation recognizes and validates our work to advance diversity and inclusion,” noted YWCA New Hampshire CEO Jessica Cantin. “We are unbelievably honored and grateful to Mackenzie Scott for supporting us and a number of our sister YWCAs across the country.”

“This donation will have such a tremendous impact on our work and the community,” Cantin added. “Big things are ahead for all of us.”

YWCA New Hampshire celebrates its 101st anniversary next year. It is the longest-serving women’s organization in the state.

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For more information: Jessica Cantin, (603) 520-2760jessicasu@ywcanh.org

MacKenzie Scott’s Medium post announcing the latest round of contributions: