In 1977, a group of concerned women began outreach and community education activities which addressed the alarming incidence of sexual assault and other violent crimes against women in Bethel. They wrote newspaper articles and volunteered to work with the police and the hospital to assist victims of sexual assault and battering. In the fall, a crisis-line was installed in one of the volunteers’ homes to provide victims with an immediate source of help.
TWC was officially incorporated as a nonprofit organization in 1978, and the first Board of Directors was elected. In 1978, TWC also received its first funding from Alaska State Legislature and the Law Enforcement Assistance Agency to open a womens’ resource center and shelter for battered women and sexual assault victims. By the fall of 1978, a Director had been hired and a shelter building located. Volunteers and staff worked throughout the fall to renovate a quonset hut leased from the city, and made it into a comfortable shelter for women and their children. The crisis line was moved, and in January 1979, the Shelter was opened. The crisis line, shelter, and resource center have continued to operate with funding from the Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault. In 1981, TWC received a grant to build a shelter facility, which was completed in March 1983. In 2009, construction for a state-of-the-art shelter and administrative building for Tundra Women’s Coalition was completed. An addition for the Children’s Advocacy Center was completed in 2011.
TWC currently includes a 43-bed shelter, a 24-hour crisis line, administrative offices, a Legal Advocacy program, a Community Education Program with a village outreach component, a youth violence-prevention program called Teens Acting Against Violence, a Children’s Program, Irniamta Ikayrviat (Children’s Advocacy Center), a Housing Program with Transitional Houses, and a Thrift Store.