Vision & Mission Statement
Founded in 2003, the It Happened to Alexa Foundation (IHTA) is a small non-profit organization that seeks to eliminate the barriers that prevent victims of rape and sexual assault from seeking justice. IHTA was started by Thomas and Stacey Branchini to honor the courage of their daughter, Alexa, who survived a traumatic rape by a stranger who broke into her dormitory during the second week of her freshman year of college.
After her long and traumatic trial ended, they realized that many families would not have the finances to support the travel and lodging costs incurred in an out-of-town trial. They did not want a lack of funds to prevent any rape victim from prosecuting his or her attacker. IHTA provides financial, emotional and advocacy assistance to victims and their families during each stage of the criminal justice process, from pre-trial to closing arguments. It is the only organization of its kind in the United States. IHTA also works to promote respect and attitudes against sexual violence through educational outreach targeting children enrolled in elementary, middle and high schools throughout Western New York.
The mission of It Happened to Alexa Foundation is to empower sexual assault victims become survivors and facilitate the prosecution of the offenders. We provide financial, emotional and advocacy assistance to the victims at time of the trial. The support of family and friends is key to bringing a strong survivor into the courtroom. The Foundation does this by providing funds for transportation and lodging to a family member or friend to be present throughout the trial for support. Having these important people attend the criminal trial to support their loved one has shown a dramatic increase in conviction rates. Research has demonstrated that increased support for victims at the time of trial leads to higher rates of reporting, victim participation at trial, and ultimately, the ability of the criminal justice system to secure more convictions and seek longer sentences for perpetrators. But most importantly, it means no victim is ever alone.
Thank you for all of your support of IHTA at the Raising the Stakes Gala! on OCTOBER 1, 2016 at the Sheraton at the Falls!
We had a tremendous turn-out and a great evening! SAVE THE DATE for next year’s Raising the Stakes Gala –
Saturday, September 30, 2017. Details to follow!
The third annual Great Contraption Race was held on July 30, 2016! To read more about the event, please read a recent article published in the Buffalo News highlighting the events of the day!
In October 2015, our first climber summited Mt. Kilimanjaro to raise funds for IHTA! Thank you! Click here to read more!