Gabby Petito Foundation Donates Massive Amount of Money to National Domestic Violence Hotline

by Clayton Edwards

In September of 2021, Gabby Petito went missing. Weeks later, Gabby’s remains were discovered in Teton National Park. A month later, searchers found her boyfriend Brian Laundrie’s remains. Additionally, they found a notebook in which Laundrie left a written confession. After the news broke, many people in abusive relationships started to come forward in hopes of getting away from their abusers. As a result, the National Domestic Violence Hotline found itself overwhelmed with calls. There simply weren’t enough advocates to handle the call volume. Now a foundation created by Petito’s parents is lending a hand.

At a Glance

  • Calls to the National Domestic Violence Hotline skyrocketed after Petito’s death *
  • The hotline did not have enough staff to take all the calls
  • The Gabby Petito Foundation donated $100,000 to the hotline

The Petito Case Caused a Spike in Calls to the Domestic Violence Hotline

When Gabby Petito died, it made many victims of domestic violence take stock of their relationships. As a result, calls poured into the National Domestic Violence Hotline as victims began to speak out and look for ways to escape. In fact, the National Domestic Violence Hotline saw a record number of calls in the days following Gabby Petito’s death.

National Domestic Violence Hotline CEO Katie Ray-Jones spoke to Laura Ingle about the influx of calls. Ray-Jones said that calls started pouring in after the world learned that Gabby Petito’s death was ruled a homicide. Since then, they’ve been struggling to keep up with the still-high demand.

“We don’t have the advocates to meet the demand of services. Our wait times are high. We’re not able to get to the number of people coming in, and we need to hire more advocates.”

The Gabby Petito Foundation Lends a Hand

Last fall, Gabby’s parents founded the Gabby Petito Foundation. The foundation’s mission statement, written by the Petitos, states “We wish to turn our personal tragedy into a positive. It is our hope that Gabby’s foundation will bring these important issues [domestic violence and missing persons] to the forefront of the public eye to the benefit of all our communities.”

With that in mind, the Gabby Petito Foundation partnered with the National Domestic Violence Hotline with a $100,000 donation. With that money, the foundation will hire more advocates. As a result, they’ll be able to help more callers. In short, Petito’s parents are doing exactly what they set out to do – turn their tragedy into a blessing for others.

About the donation, Petito’s mother, Nichole Schmidt said, “Thinking about my daughter, if she had decided to call and then couldn’t get through… It just breaks my heart knowing that outcome could happen to somebody because they couldn’t get through, so this is important.”