Betsy McCandless Break The Silence Awards

Betsy McCandless Break The Silence Awards

During the recent Speak Up To Take Rape Culture Down Summit at Harvard University, Futures Without Violence announced the Betsy McCandless Break The Silence Awards, which will support college campaigns and activities that encourage survivors, allies and bystanders to take action or speak out against gender-based violence on campus.

Four awards of $2,000 will be distributed to four college or university students or student groups in Massachusetts. These awards honor the legacy of Betsy McCandless, a graduate of Simmons College who was murdered by her violently abusive ex-husband. The Break The Silence Awards, established by Betsy’s brother Stephen, will further honor her memory, and be awarded in 2014.

All Awardees Must:

  • Honor the experiences of survivors and present gender-based violence as unacceptable and preventable.
  • Focus on preventing or improving responses to sexual assault, stalking or dating violence on and around college or university campuses.
  • Encourage and motivate fellow students to take action by offering specific steps for individuals to make a difference.
  • Utilize strategies outlined in Beyond Title IX: Guidelines for Preventing and Responding to Gender Based Violence in Higher Education.
  • Have a sustainability plan

Focus areas--Awardees must be focused on at least one of the following areas:

Social Norm Change

  • The development and implementation of public education/awareness campaigns that feature primary prevention messages that change social norms, increase student knowledge, and encourage students on campus to speak up in order to end gender-based violence. Applicants may utilize or adapt existing public education campaign materials or develop their own. Campaigns should be specify audience.


  • Propose strategies for collaborating with college administration to improve policy, such as reporting, response and the prevention of gender based-violence. Projects should outline strategies for identifying allies and/or organizing students, and incorporate the voices of survivors.


  • Awards are open to individual students, a group of current students or campus based student organizations.
  • Applicants must be enrolled at the college or university at the time of program implementation
  • The college or university must be located in the Massachusetts
  • A college or university can only win one award
  • Undergraduate and graduate students and student organizations are eligible to apply
  • All application materials must be received by February 15th , 2014


  • Any family member of Futures Without Violence staff or board of trustees are not eligible for awards
  • Members of the selection committee are not eligible for awards

Application Requirements

1.  Project narrative outlining (3 pages max):

  • purpose area(s)
  • prior experience and success in organizing around addressing gender-based violence
  • future project(s) goals
  • strategies and activities
  • description of key people working on the project as well as any partners
  • indicators of success

2.  Contact info for all key people working on project

3.  Resume(s) for project leadership members

4.  A letter of support from a professor, school administrator, or community activist in the field of addressing gender-based violence.

Need Inspiration? Check out the following resources:

Send all applications to: by February 15th, 2014
Please email all questions to

When will I (we) receive the award?
Awards will be announced in March, 2014.

Can Futures Without Violence help me with my project?
Yes! Futures Without Violence is happy to provide support to you and your school and publicize your efforts once you receive the award.

Is the award considered taxable income?
Yes, the award is taxable income if awarded to an individual.

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