History & Mission
The Waitt Institute for Violence Prevention is a private operating institute committed to breaking the cycle of violence in our homes, schools, and communities on the local and national level. The Waitt Foundation has supported violence prevention efforts since 1993. To streamline our efforts, WIVP was founded in 2005, by Ted Waitt. Through this work, we change social norms that accept violence as a part of life.
Gender violence prevention is at the forefront of our work. This movement in America and around the world has had many champions. Early leaders laid the groundwork from which we build. From the early shelter movement and political activism in the 60’s and 70’s to the establishment of the Office of Violence Against Women in 1994, leaders began to intervene against the most damaging and pervasive form of violence in our country. We’ve come a long way and we honor the leaders who had the courage and perseverance to light the way.
Movements, however, need a tipping point. This can happen through prevention. This can happen when you reach youth. This can happen when you bring men to the table. Along with other, early leaders and pioneers, that’s what we’re doing. Through our strong partnership with the Futures without Violence, Mentors in Violence Prevention, and others, we hope to contribute to their work. Through our critical, deeper, on-ground research work in Sioux City, Iowa, our hometown, to our national and international roll outs of violence prevention messages, to intense legislative activity, we can and expect to help decrease the devastation of gender violence.
School bullying and violence prevention is a vital part of this work. Reaching youth early and often is the key to changing attitudes and behaviors . A four year project in our hometown of Sioux City, Iowa will help demonstrate promising practices in gender violence prevention, and school bullying. Utilizing such programs as Mentors in Violence Prevention, Futures “Coaching Boys into Men,” and Second Step Violence Prevention programs in Elementary and pre-school, and supporting middle school curriculum such as Bully-Proofing Your School, we’ve worked with the Sioux City Community School system as they have created seamless violence prevention education for every child in our city. We measured progress along the way, and found that the more invested and the longer a school is engaged in prevention, the better the results in achieving climate change.
Workplace bullying prevention was added in 2007, when we began a partnership with the Workplace Bullying Institute. In September of 2007, we co-sponsored a national Zogby poll with WBI. The poll has helped inform both media outlets and the American public on the prevalence of this issue.
Since 2009, we’ve found that supporting powerful issue driven documentaries greatly enhanced the changing of hearts, minds, and policy across the country. The Institute believes that we are the strongest allies when we remain with a film through the critical outreach and education phase.