One of the world’s foremost experts on violence against women and children, Esta Soler is a pioneer who founded Futures Without Violence, formerly Family Violence Prevention Fund, 30 years ago and made it one of the world’s leading violence prevention agencies. With offices in San Francisco, Boston and Washington, D.C., and partners around the world, Futures Without Violence develops innovative strategies to prevent domestic, dating and sexual violence, stalking and child abuse.
Under Soler’s direction, Futures Without Violence, then Family Violence Prevention Fund, was a driving force behind passage of the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 – the nation’s first comprehensive federal response to the violence that plagues families and communities. Congress reauthorized and expanded the law in 2000 and 2005. She is spearheading efforts to pass the International Violence Against Women Act.
Soler has led Futures Without Violence as it developed trailblazing public education campaigns that have reached millions of people, and innovative policies, advocacy, prevention, education and training programs that help lawmakers, health care providers, judges, employers and others stop violence and help victims. Futures Without Violence programs have been replicated in all 50 states and around the world. Funded by some of the nation’s leading philanthropies and corporations, recent Futures Without Violence initiatives include the Coaching Boys Into Men, Give RESPECT and That’s Not Cool campaigns, which invite men to teach boys that violence against women and children is always wrong, promote respect in relationships, and help teens safely navigate new technologies.
An Advisory Board member to the National Child Traumatic Stress Network, and a Board Member of The Lick-Wilmerding High School in San Francisco, Soler was until recently a trustee for the Blue Shield of California Foundation. She has been a consultant and advisor to numerous public and private agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Soros Justice Fellowship Program, the Ford Foundation/Harvard University Innovations in American Government initiative, and the Aspen Institute.
Soler’s many awards include a 2010 Woman of the Year honor from a California legislator, a Kellogg Foundation National Leadership Fellowship, a Koret Israel Prize, and a University of California, Public Health Heroes Award. In 2004, the Center for the Advancement of Women honored her for advancing the power of women worldwide. She has been honored by the Asian Women’s Shelter, California Governor’s Office and Women in Communications, among others. She has an honorary doctorate from Simmons College, a Leadership Award from the Coro Center for Civic Leadership, the Mathew O. Tobriner Public Service Award for pioneering work on behalf of women and children from the Employment Law Center in San Francisco, and honors from the Institute on Domestic Violence in the African American Community, and the Humanitarian Award from Peace Over Violence. Soler’s leadership has brought Futures Without Violence awards from the Sara Lee Foundation and the State Justice Institute, among others.