Over 35 Years of Changing the Game for Women and Girls

By Giving List Women   |   May 20, 2024
The Courage Museum will be a bold new platform for public education, inspiration, and action to rethink violence and advance concrete change.

Well before #MeToo became a global conversation, Futures Without Violence (FUTURES) had learned that men would not talk to their peers about gender-based violence. The health and social justice nonprofit launched into action by creating Coaching Boys Into Men, also called Changing the Game for Girls.

The highly successful evidence-based program involves having trusted school coaches lead a series of 15-minute conversations with student athletes around topics such as harmful language, consent, and healthy relationships.

“I’d much rather … have these conversations now versus having something terrible happen later,” Derek Lactaoen, then a high school cross country coach in Seattle, explained in a 2016 video. “To have to have this conversation reactively is, I don’t think, the right approach.”

FUTURES knows that inviting males to be part of the solution is as important as reaching them while they’re young. One high school football player said the program helped him think about his own past potentially harmful behavior.

“With Boys (In)to Men, I just realized that I should change,” the student, Ramari, acknowledged in the video. “I started to buy into what Coach was telling us.”

A high school wrestler, Andrew, said he learned that “a good athlete … doesn’t have to intimidate.”

Since the program’s inception some 15 years ago, Coaching Boys Into Men has reached thousands of middle and high school students in all 50 states.

Founded by Esta Soler in the 1980s, FUTURES is a global organization geared toward both the healing of survivors – especially BIPOC community members who are disproportionately affected by gender-based violence – and stopping violence before it starts.

They may be best known for helping turn domestic abuse from a private matter to a public one through poignant ad campaigns, advocacy, and landmark legislation, like the Violence Against Women Act of 1994, which funded domestic violence and sexual assault responses.

“All of those things fundamentally and materially changed lives and saved lives,” says FUTURES Vice President of Communications Ketayoun Darvich-Kodjouri, noting that domestic violence fell 64% for women in America between 1994 and 2012 before leveling off.

FUTURES has also trained thousands of professionals, including domestic violence responders, healthcare providers, and judges, to better meet the needs of survivors.

The nonprofit is now gearing up to open its Courage Museum, a hands-on experiential learning center for adults and youth that empowers them to act around its mission of healing and violence prevention. The museum, which will enable youth to connect with artists, activists, policy leaders, and educators, is slated to open in the Presidio National Park in San Francisco in 2026.

The Courage Museum has already held a Storyteller Summit that featured filmmakers and survivors sharing their personal experiences with violence, hate, and discrimination and how they found courage through healing and telling stories.

“It’s really a new model,” says Sara Kriksciun, FUTURES’ chief partnerships officer. “I think it’s something that’s not being done, and we’re super excited about that.”

The Courage Museum will be a place to nurture empathy, action, and moral courage leading to lasting cultural change, a key principle of all of the vital work at FUTURES.


Futures Without Violence

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Manager of Public Engagement & Corporate Relations: Mindy Iwanaka


For more than 30 years, FUTURES has been providing groundbreaking programs, policies, and campaigns that empower individuals and organizations working to end violence against women and children around the world.

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