The Council is a proud member of Community Shares of Wisconsin (CSW). Through its 70 member nonprofits, CSW promotes social and environmental justice through fundraising and a variety of programs that help member organizations connect, grow and thrive.
While most people think of Community Shares mainly in terms of coordinating workplace giving campaigns, for the Council and other member organizations, the benefits of membership go beyond dollars and cents. CSW offers partnership opportunities that help the Council work with other groups toward common goals and expand our reach.
“We regularly work collaboratively on decreasing transportation insecurity for Wisconsin’s non-drivers, protecting the rights of marginalized voters and developing creative programs like Birding by Ear,” says Council Executive Director Denise Jess, who currently serves as vice president of the CSW board. “Our shared values as CSW member organizations facilitate these connections.”
Each CSW member nonprofit brings expertise that helps strengthen the other organizations. The networking that takes place helps members develop valuable leadership and operational skills. Membership also brings access to technical assistance, free meeting space, and a shared 401K plan.
In addition to Denise’s leadership, the Council’s membership contributes a deep knowledge of issues affecting people with visual impairment. In return, the Council has gained insights into other members’ core issues.
“That influence has helped CSW to become more educated and aware of the intersection of disability rights with the rest of the social and environmental justice issues represented,” says CSW Executive Director Cheri Dubiel.
CSW was founded in 1971 as the Madison Sustaining Fund by anti-war activists and UW students as a way to raise bail money for protestors who were arrested. Fifty years later, in a changing world now grappling with environmental collapse and centuries of entrenched racism, CSW is as relevant as ever.
“We are at a crossroads and have the opportunity to position ourselves for a different kind of future – one that focuses on the well-being of all rather than a detached fixation on economic progress,” Cheri says. “We are committed to making sure that the next 50 years are centered on compassion and justice, and believe that the collective efforts of individual donors can be an important tool to help to achieve that goal.”