Board members and staff at the Solace Crisis Treatment Center recieve a check from the Santa Fe Institute on December 2, 2019. (Photo: Solace Center)

The Solace Crisis Treatment Center, located in Santa Fe, NM, has received $25,000 to further its mission "to prevent sexual violence and empower survivors of all traumatic experiences through restoring dignity, strength and resilience.” The Santa Fe Institute, a nonprofit research center, is contributing the $25,000— an amount equal to a donation the institute accepted from one of Jeffrey Epstein’s foundations in 2010.

The Solace Center's director, María José Rodríguez Cádiz, says the donation comes at a time when “more people than ever are seeking help,” emboldened by a cultural shift over the past two years that has shone a light on sexual abuse and misconduct. “It’s not necessarily an indication that sexual violence is on the rise, it’s that more and more brave people have found their voices. They are speaking out about the trauma and pain inflicted by family members, employers, politicians, religious leaders, and other people in power.”

In the past year, Solace has seen a 30% increase in demand for their services, which include clinical services, forensic interviews for children and youth, a 24-hour crisis hotline, case tracking and coordinating for victims of violent crimes, court accompaniment, and sexual violence prevention in schools and community groups across Northern New Mexico.

"While the demand for services continues to grow, the funds to provide those service is diminishing,” says Rodríguez Cádiz. "As private foundations and public funding organizations are stretched to the limit, federal policies threaten to cut these services altogether.” Nonprofits like the Solace Center increasingly rely on private donations to help fund their operations.

The Santa Fe Institute is contributing the funds in response to news of sex-trafficking charges against Epstein, which were revealed in July of 2019. Epstein was a financier and a well-known science philanthropist who donated to numerous high-profile researchers, universities, and research centers. 

According to Jenna Marshall, the institute’s communications manager, “SFI strongly condemns Epstein’s criminal actions and is appalled by his role in the sexual exploitation of minors. We hope this contribution will help the Solace Center in their important work to empower survivors and prevent sexual violence.”