The original Articles of Corporation for AWARE, Inc. were filed in 1969. However, it was not until 1977, that a group called the Jackson Area Council for Battered Women was formed to provide focus and direction to the agency out of concern for family violence, the effects of violence on the community, and the lack of available services for victims.

To make the Council’s vision concrete, an established administrative agency was needed to obtain funding.  The Jackson Area Substance Abuse Clinic agreed to administer the program. The program began in December 1977 under the name AWARE—Abused Women’s Assistance and Resources. Until February 1978, services were provided on a 24-hour basis by coordinating the Emergency Counseling Center’s 24-hour crisis phone line with one trained staff and a core of trained volunteers who provided face-to-face crisis intervention, emergency food, and safe housing in volunteer homes. 

Later, when Jackson County information and referral services were added, Emergency Counseling Center became HELPLINE. 

  • In 1978, one of the founders of AWARE, Wanda Goetz-Beiswenger, was able to acquire and remodel a building to be used as a shelter for battered women through a grant from the Jackson YWCA Trust Fund, funds from the Michigan Department of Social Services and $10,000 from a Community Development Block Grant.
  • In 1997, the Board of Directors purchased the current property at 706 W. Michigan Avenue with financial support from the Jackson Community Foundation, the Herrick Foundation, The Weatherwax Foundation, Hurst Foundation, Comerica Bank, Macsteel and an anonymous donor.

Incorporators listed on the earliest Articles of Incorporation were:

  • John M. McLaughlin
  • Robert E. Medlar
  • Gerald Lang
  • Wanda M. Lake
  • Haskell L. Nichols
  • Honorable Charles J. Falahee
  • Wilbur Dungy
  • Don Durst
  • Clifford Keeler
  • Honorable Russell L. Baugh
  • Glenn Scott
  • Charles H. Tietjen
  • Sargent John Grzesek
  • Howard E. Thompson

Throughout its history, AWARE, Inc. has expanded services to meet the needs of survivors of domestic and sexual violence and worked in the community for social change adding sexual assault counseling services in 1980; legal advocacy in 1996; and opening the Jackson County Family Visitation Center in 2012.