Community Action News
Associated Bank Invests in Community Action 2020

Associated Bank Invests in Community Action

June 8, 2020

For Immediate Release: June 8, 2020
Contact: Kassidy Farrey, Communications & Outreach Manager, WISCAP

Madison, WI – WISCAP is excited to announce Associated Bank’s recent philanthropic investment of $117,500 in Wisconsin’s community action network. The announced fund is the second such award made to WISCAP by Associated over the past two years and comes as the Bank has aggressively supported communities across the region in responding to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Associated Bank and WISCAP share a common goal of creating stronger communities through economic development. This investment will specifically expand access for low-and moderate-income communities in the areas of homeownership, home repair, small business, financial literacy, and workforce development programs. In addition, it will increase staff capacity and give local community action agencies the ability to bolster case management, client identification and enrollment in trainings, business development, and access to affordable housing and repair.

“By partnering with WISCAP, Associated Bank continues to demonstrate a positive commitment to the communities where they have a presence,” said Brad Paul, Executive Director of WISCAP. “It is crucial that we expand housing opportunities and job and skill training for low to moderate income Wisconsinites. Our network exists to fight poverty and help people faced with its effects. This meaningful investment by Associated Bank will allow us to advance that mission.”

Associated Senior Vice President and Director of Community Accountability LaDonna Reed added, “the community action network in Wisconsin shares our focus around economic and community development, making this grant a keystone investment in the future of Wisconsin’s rural and urban communities.  We are excited to partner with WISCAP and leverage their insight into the poverty fighting and community development efforts by member agencies.  We know our shared communities will benefit from this investment in Community Action’s proven mission, programs, and impact.”


The Wisconsin Community Action Program Association (WISCAP) is the statewide association for Wisconsin’s sixteen (16) Community Action agencies and two single-purpose agencies with statewide focus. You can learn more about WISCAP at

WISCAP Statement on Recent Events

WISCAP Statement on Recent Events

June 3, 2020

The malicious killing of George Floyd has once again laid bare the ugly, persistent reality of racism and inequality in America.

WISCAP and the agencies that comprise our network stand committed to creating a more just and equitable society that rejects discrimination based on divisions of race, class, gender, sexual orientation, and immigration status. Community Action was born of the War on Poverty and as such is inextricably linked to the civil rights movement. As great social and economic unrest consumes our state and nation, we must renew and deepen our commitment to racial and ethnic equality, recognizing our common humanity and kinship with all people.

Overcoming racism within our communities and institutions will take more than vague sentiment – it requires the active, affirmative, personal recognition of the truth of the inherent dignity and intrinsic worth of all peoples. Racism and classism ignore that truth and seek to exclude and divide. Together these forces have long cast a dark shadow over our state. Consider the grim statistics that more than one in ten Wisconsinites live in poverty and that over 18,000 children and youth in our state are homeless. Yet within these figures lay hidden some of the nation’s greatest racial and ethnic disparities. The poverty rate for African Americans, Hmong, and Hispanics is dramatically higher than that for whites. The black child poverty rate is among the highest in the nation. And African Americans and Native Americans suffer the highest mortality rates of any in our state. To be certain, the ignorance of racism drives and sustains inequity and discrimination in housing, employment, education, criminal justice, and health outcomes. It increases the suffering of so many, while curtailing opportunity and hope. And, as so many of our fellow Wisconsinites struggle to secure equal justice and opportunity, we must recognize that racism and classism diminishes all of us.

The community action network stands together with all who work daily toward a more just culture of racial equity and economic opportunity.

Gov. Tony Evers Announces $25 million Wisconsin Rental Assistance Program

Gov. Tony Evers Announces $25 million Wisconsin Rental Assistance Program

Contact: Kassidy Farrey, Communications Manager
Telephone: 608-244-4422
Email: [email protected]

The Wisconsin Community Action Program Association (WISCAP) supports Gov. Tony Evers for his announcement of a $25 million Wisconsin Rental Assistance Program. Administered by the Department of Administration (DOA), the program will provide financial assistance for rent, security deposits, and wrap around services for eligible households who have experienced income loss resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

DOA will partner with local community action agencies across the state to accept applications from interested individuals and distribute rental assistance.

Housing costs have long steadily increased out of proportion to income, as witnessed by the 306,000 low-income Wisconsin renters who pay more than half their income on housing. Over 10% of Wisconsin residents live below the federal poverty line and last year the Department of Public Instruction identified more than 18,000 homeless children and youth throughout the state. This was before the current emergency. Now, many businesses have closed due to the public health emergency and unemployment in Wisconsin has reached historic levels.

“Our communities throughout the state — rural, suburban and urban — are struggling with the effects of the pandemic, and it is with respect to housing security where so many Wisconsinites are especially vulnerable,” said WISCAP Executive Director Brad Paul. “The Governor’s announced rental assistance program immediately assumes a critical role in preventing homelessness and ensuring greater housing stability.”

“The impact this funding has on renters, landlords, their families and the economy in general cannot be underestimated,” says George Hinton, CEO of the Social Development Commission. “People are hurting. They are stressed. This initiative will give them some immediate relief as they begin to recover from the damage this pandemic has caused.”

You can stay up-to-date regarding the W.R.A.P. program by visiting this page on DOA’s website. This page will be updated with application information and contact information for your local community action agency in the weeks ahead. 

About WISCAP: The Wisconsin Community Action Program Association (WISCAP) is a member association serving the statewide network of sixteen locally controlled Community Action Agencies (CAA) and two single purpose agencies.


May 14, 2020

WISCAP is excited to announce its new Executive Committee for the 2020-2021 term, seated at the May 12th WISCAP Board of Directors meeting.

George Hinton, CEO of the Social Development Commission, was elected as Board Chair, having previously served five years as a Member-At-Large. He succeeds Walter Orzechowski, Executive Director of Southwestern Wisconsin Community Action Program.

“I’m very excited to be in this role and look forward to addressing the issue of poverty with my colleagues,” Hinton said. “I hope to focus on the systemic root causes of poverty that impact people across the state. While working with the board, I will also continue to focus and amplify grassroots initiatives taking place in local communities.”

“For the last five years, WISCAP has been ably served by Wally Orzechowski and I thank him for his support and efforts,” Brad Paul, WISCAP Executive Director stated. “I wish to congratulate the new Executive Committee on their election and am eager to work with them as we continue to strengthen Wisconsin’s Poverty Fighting Network.”

WISCAP is pleased to share the new Executive Committee below:

President: George Hinton, CEO, Social Development Commission
Vice President: Hetti Brown, Executive Director, Couleecap
Treasurer: Millie Rounsville, Executive Director, Northwest Wisconsin Community Services Agency
Secretary: Anna Cardarella, Executive Director, Western Dairyland Economic Opportunity Council
Member-At-Large: Essie Allen, CEO, Racine Kenosha Community Action Agency
Member-At-Large: Cheryl Detrick, President & CEO, Newcap
Past-President: Walter Orzechowski, Executive Director, Southwestern Wisconsin Community Action Program

Community Action Month in Wisconsin 2020

Community Action Month in Wisconsin

May 7, 2020

The Office of the Governor has proclaimed May “Community Action Month in Wisconsin.” The Governor’s proclamation highlights statewide community action programming in the areas of affordable housing, weatherization, food security, job training, entrepreneurship, Head Start, community economic development, transportation, health, and education. The proclamation comes at a time when community action agencies across the state are responding to the additional challenges presented by the Covid-19 global pandemic.

1 in 10 Wisconsinites live below the Federal Poverty Line and school districts in the state identified over 18,000 homeless kids last year. In response, Wisconsin’s Poverty Fighting Network is assisting low-income families and advocating for real solutions to homelessness. 

“We are very pleased Governor Evers has recognized the work of our statewide network and the critical role it plays in fighting poverty in Wisconsin,” said WISCAP Executive Director Brad Paul. “In order to make further progress, we require greater investments in anti-poverty programs, which is why we enthusiastically supported the Wisconsin Opportunity Act, comprehensive legislation introduced in the last session,” added Paul.

“Confronting poverty also requires broad and creative partnerships from civil society and the private sector, and we invite our friends in the business community and philanthropic world to join us in advancing real solutions by supporting WISCAP and local community action agencies.”

Community Action Month also provides an opportunity for WISCAP to highlight several of its ongoing valued partnerships, including with Associated Bank, Forward Community Investments (FCI), Mutual of America, Wipfli LLP, and District 7 Council of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT).

Community Action Month is celebrated each May by the national network of community action, which includes over 1,000 community action agencies and reaches 99% of America’s counties. WISCAP is one of 44 state associations and a member of the National Community Action Partnership.


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