NEW YORK, July 8, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Urban Resource Institute (URI) and BBVA celebrated the opening today of a new computer lab at one of URI's busiest domestic violence shelters, with the global financial services firm supporting URI's pioneering effort to eradicate economic abuse, which affects 98 percent of domestic violence survivors.
BBVA New York donated 100 computers to the lab while the BBVA Compass Foundation, the charitable arm of BBVA's U.S. franchise, gave a $20,000 gift. Both donations were announced today during a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the lab, which is designed to be a safe and motivational space for survivors to gain job-training skills and other resources to establish their financial security.
"We're in the business of building a better future for people — and there are few things more rewarding than lending your expertise and your resources to truly empower people," said BBVA Compass Director of Corporate Responsibility and Reputation Reymundo Ocanas. "URI's approach to combating domestic violence spoke to us and our spirit as innovators. It opened the first shelter in New York where victims could bring their pets, for instance, a very meaningful thing for people whose lives have been turned upside down. We knew we had something to contribute to URI's holistic approach to the problem, and that's the ability to zero in on the issue of economic abuse."BBVA Compass, through its partnership with leading education technology firm EverFi, also will bring the Web-based financial literacy program for adults, EverFi@Work, to URI. "For many domestic violence victims, the damage wrought by economic abuse — which can result in ruined credit scores, identity or property theft, legal issues and erratic employment histories — can be overwhelming," said Nathaniel Fields, president and CEO of URI. "We are grateful for BBVA's collaboration in bringing attention to this often unaddressed and underreported issue, and hope to help our residents on their paths to establishing financially secure, independent and safe futures." Victims of abuse frequently face a double-edged sword — stay in, or return, to domestic violence situations, or leave and risk facing crippling financial insecurity. Seven out of eight women who go back to their abusers say they return because of financial pressures they face as a result of economic abuse.