Breaking News: ACE Awareness Foundation announces closure in spring 2021

The ACE Awareness Foundation announced today it is closing after five years of service in the Memphis.

The organization’s last day for operations is March 31, 2021. 

The nonprofit focuses on reducing Adverse Childhood Experiences among Memphis' youth. In conversations with High Ground, AFF's executive director Dr. Renée Wilson-Simmons defined ACEs as the lack of safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments.

According to a news release from AFF, a primary donor has decided to discontinue funding for the foundation and its Universal Parenting Places after providing support for most of the organization's tenure.

It's UPPs provide a range of support and bonding activities for parents and children and are operated in partnership with other nonprofit organizations. Two of those partner organizations will continue to provide services and support for childhood trauma.

“We recognize that the foundation closing is a loss to Memphis and creates gaps in prevention services,” said Wilson-Simmons. “However, we’re grateful for the funding that made this work possible and pleased that at least two of the UPPs — Knowledge Quest and Christ Community Health Services — are able to offer similar services and continue to provide ACEs programming and counseling to the community.”

In 2014, the ACE Task Force of Shelby County was formed with 40 local leaders who wanted to raise awareness about the effects of adverse childhood experiences. They conducted an ACE survey which revealed that 52% of adults in Shelby County experienced at least one adverse experience before their 18th birthday.

Based on the survey results, leaders of the task force establish the ACE Awareness Foundation in 2015 with three primary objectives:
  • Educate greater Memphis about adverse childhood experiences
  • Work to change local and state systems and practices to support prevention efforts
  • Support the healthy development of children and their families to prevent ACEs and mitigate their negative effects
“Leading this nationally recognized organization has been an honor,” said Wilson-Simmons in a statement. “I look forward to seeing Memphis continue the work as a model for ACEs awareness and prevention.”

From January through their last day in March, the Foundation will share ACEs information on its social media pages using #PreventACEs. The UPPs will redirect anyone in need of prevention support to other services options.

In September, High Ground News announced a year-long partnership with the foundation to explore ACES that will now end with the foundations' closure in March.

Stay tuned for more information about ACE Awareness foundation and its impact in the city of Memphis.
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Read more articles by Erica Horton.

Born and raised in Memphis, Erica Horton is a freelance journalist that loves to learn and write about almost anything. Email her story ideas here