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Muskegon Nonprofit Awarded National Grant to Support Survivors of Sex Trafficking

Oct 26, 2021

Rock Island, Ill. (Oct. 26, 2021) – Royal Neighbors of America, one of the largest and first women-led insurance organizations in the U.S., located in Rock Island, Ill., has announced Rita Caviness, Director of Client Services at The Hope Project, Muskegon, Mich. has been presented with one of ten Nation of Neighbors℠ empowerment awards and grants presented nationwide. In addition to the award, she received a $10,000 grant for her organization.

Founded in 2006, The Hope Project is a grassroots nonprofit organization committed to ending the sexual exploitation and trafficking of women and girls in the U.S., with a focus on rehabilitating victims in Michigan. The organization accomplishes this through survivor aftercare services, a mentor program, a prevention task force, and Hope Village – a rehabilitation home providing comprehensive aftercare services to address the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects of recovery.

Known for her energy, charisma and dedication, Ms. Caviness works directly with and supervises others working with survivors of sex trafficking and vulnerable youth. She is a certified recovery coach and co-facilitates recovery and support groups as well as outreach to girls at the Muskegon County Juvenile Transition Center. In addition to working towards recovery, Ms. Caviness co-chairs The Lakeshore Human Trafficking Task Force, which is a collaboration of law enforcement, social services, faith communities, and elected officials.

Karen Hayes, Royal Neighbors’ Operations Executive presented the award and grant to Ms. Caviness and The Hope Project on Monday, Oct. 25. “The heaviness of the trauma that has been endured by her clients can be draining, yet Rita faces each day and each challenge with a readiness to serve others,” stated Ms. Hayes. “Rita truly exemplifies Royal Neighbors’ 126-year-old mission to empower women, so we are honored to support Rita as she works to educate her community about preventing human trafficking, and to not only restore the lives of survivors, but empower them to fulfill their dreams.”

“We meet survivors right where they are,” said Ms. Caviness. “With this grant, we will be able to purchase a vehicle to provide our youth clients in our housing program with transportation to their counseling or medical appointments, work, and anywhere else they may need to go. Imagine the conversations that will be held in that car,” she added. “This vehicle will not just get them to point A to point B but will also be part of their healing process.”

Nation of Neighbors is a Royal Neighbors of America philanthropy program that awards financial assistance to nominated individuals who plan to start or expand a business, organization, program, or nonprofit that helps women and/or girls in their community. To date, nearly $2.5 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. Royal Neighbors was founded in 1895 as a membership organization by nine pioneering women who recognized the need to insure the lives of women and children. In 2020, Royal Neighbors was upgraded to “A Excellent” (3rd highest out of 13) by the AM Best Company for overall financial strength and ability to meet ongoing obligations to certificate holders. For more information about Royal Neighbors of America, visit .


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

Form #:P00535; Rev. 10-2021
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