A former employee and volunteer at Family Centers has donated $1.4 million to the organization's Invest in Children fund-raising campaign.

Dale Leibowitz of Madison, president and creator of the Purple Moon Foundation, followed up her $500,000 gift in 2003 with an additional $900,000 this year, putting the fund drive within $400,000 of its 2.2-million goal.

The Purple Moon Foundation is a charitable organization that donates mostly to Madison organizations. "It's really about helping children become more healthy and teaching future generations ... to change the cycle of abuse," Leibowitz said.

Family Centers is a nonprofit family services assistance organization, made up of four agencies -- Exchange Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse, Family Enhancement, Parental Stress Center and the Respite Center.

The thread that ties them together is strengthening families through education and skill-building, said Lucy Harr, board president for Family Centers.

Leibowitz worked with children in the Oasis children's group, part of the Parental Stress Center, and as volunteer coordinator at the Parental Stress Center.

"I really hope (Family Centers) becomes a much stronger presence in our community to work and heal with people who need this kind of help," she said. "There's a group of women who put this place together that kind of crawled into my heart."

Family Centers is in the midst of a campaign that started in 2003 to expand and remodel the organization's building.

"Over the years the building has gotten a lot of hard use," Harr said. It provides shelter for children of families in crisis, a meeting place for children and teens who have been victims of abuse and a place for parents to find support and opportunities to learn parenting skills.

Donations to the campaign can be made to Family Centers, 2120 Fordem Ave., Madison, WI 53704.

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