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Organization Wins $10,000 Grant to Support Human Trafficking Victims: Dorothy’s House in Des Moines Expanding to Serve More

Oct 9, 2020

(Rock Island, Ill.) – Dorothy’s House, Des Moines, IA, is approaching its 5th anniversary in January 2021 and, so far, has helped nearly 135 victims of human trafficking reclaim their lives. To support the efforts of its founder, Kellie Markey, Dorothy’s House has been awarded a $10,000 Nation of Neighbors℠ grant from Royal Neighbors of America, one of the first and largest women-led insurers in the U.S.

“Every dollar helps keep our doors open and goes directly to the care of our participants,” says Ms. Markey. “This year, we will help more people for less money than we ever have.” In 2016, what began as a 4-bedroom residential home for victims undergoing intensive rehabilitation from the trauma of human trafficking, has now grown to include the current construction of a second four-bed residential facility, as well as expansion of care to victims in transition or who may not fit the criteria for a residential spot.

“We provide wholistic therapy, health care, addiction or spiritual counseling, job-training, and customized programs for our participants to reclaim their lives,” explains Ms. Markey. “It is an intensive process to rebuild a life, and we do so by creating strong relationships with each of our participants.” Ms. Markey says the grant will provide outreach including the hiring of care coaches who are there to support victims’ every step toward rehabilitation. “Since 2016, we have served 35 residential women and nearly 100 people in non-residential support. We employ a staff of 6 and engage approximately 60 volunteers donating nearly 500 hours each year.”

Ms. Markey hopes to open the second residential home by mid 2021, doubling its residential care. She also plans to expand their “Front Porch” and transitions programs which serve those who live in the community. “We have had our first male come through our Front Porch program. Trafficking affects not only women and girls, but others as well, including those in the LGBTQ community, all of whom who need services and long-term support to transition to a new life.”

Cynthia Tidwell, President and CEO of Royal Neighbors, will lead the virtual award presentation. “We are honored to support Kellie Markey’s dream to expand Dorothy’s House, which serves as a beacon of hope for victims of human trafficking. For more than 125 years, Royal Neighbors has sought to empower women to make a positive impact in their communities. Ms. Markey’s expanded reach will impact the lives of many others taking steps towards recovery and independence.”

Nation of Neighbors is a Royal Neighbors of America philanthropy program that provides financial assistance to individuals who have a plan to start or expand a business, organization, program, or nonprofit that helps women and/or girls in their community. To date, more than $2 million has been awarded nationwide.

About Royal Neighbors of America
Royal Neighbors of America is a unique provider of life insurance and annuities whose mission is to protect women financially and empower them to improve their lives, families, and communities. In 1895, Royal Neighbors was founded as a membership organization by nine pioneering women who recognized the need to insure the lives of women and children and the importance of localized philanthropy. Headquartered in Rock Island, Illinois, with an operation in Mesa, Arizona, Royal Neighbors serves more than 215,000 members.


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Marie Young, Manager, Communications | (309) 732-8280

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