Featured Supporter: Sukey Novogratz

Sukey Novogratz, celebrated philanthropist, amazing mother and impassioned yogi and meditator, has been supporting Joyful Heart since 2009 and has made Joyful Heart’s ENDTHEBACKLOG work possible.

Sukey was there from the very beginning. Thanks to her generous support, she made it possible for us to hire Sarah Tofte, an expert on improving criminal justice responses to violence against women and author of a groundbreaking Human Rights Watch report on Los Angeles’ rape kit backlog, as our first Policy & Advocacy Director. 

Sukey’s seed funding created a domino effect—one that has been going on ever since. She made it possible for us to play a role in testing every kit in LA’s backlog, to become a player in Washington and get a seat at the first ever White House Roundtable on Sexual Violence.

Sukey’s support continued and funded the launch of this website, the only online resource dedicated to ending the backlog, which brought more attention to the issue and to Joyful Heart’s ongoing work.

Because of her support, Mariska testified before Congress on the backlog and Joyful Heart helped convince the National Institute of Justice to study why the backlog happens and how to fix it.  We then turned our attention to Detroit, where the need is overwhelming, and also advocated for cleaning up the backlog nationally, which resulted in $20 million in Obama's budget for addressing the backlog. After President Obama’s request that Congress allocate dollars to reduce the backlog, both the House of Representatives and Senate have included $117 million for Debbie Smith DNA Backlog Reduction Grants in their FY2014 spending bills. 

Joyful Heart—and so many survivors—had a need.  And Sukey had a response—clear, committed and unwavering. We are so grateful to Sukey for all that she makes possible and for her guiding spirit that drives us to do more.

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