Since 1974, Donna Garske has been devoted to spirited activism on behalf of women, working initially with women in the criminal justice system, and then as Executive Director of Marin Abused Women’s Services (MAWS). Throughout her seventeen years at MAWS, she has led the way with innovative responses to men’s violence against women, including an internationally replicated reeducation program for batterers, and one of the first transitional housing programs for battered women, for which she earned an award from the American Planning Association in 1983.

Her advocacy efforts have influenced legislation such as the Federal Violence Against Women Act, and a California law establishing minimum requirements for batterers’ programs. In 1992, she guided MAWS in creating “Transforming Communities: Creating Safety and Justice for Women and Girls” as a learning center for preventing violence against women and girls, recognized as a model approach by the National Academy of Sciences.

Ms. Garske, a San Rafael resident, was selected as a 1995 National Gimbel Foundation Child and Family Scholar to explore new approaches to preventing family violence. Her resulting article, “Transforming the Culture: Creating Safety, Equality and Justice for Women and Girls,” was published in Preventing Violence in America (1996). In 1996, she was appointed to the Board of Directors of the National Association of Prevention Professionals and Advocates. Donna helped develop Europe’s first batterers’ program, and works with the Network of East-West Women to support domestic violence programs in Eastern/Central Europe and the former Soviet Union. Her tireless commitment, enthusiasm, humor, integrity and vision serve as an inspiration.