70th Anniversary Gratitude: Celebrating Those Who Have Supported the Council for Half of Our History

The words Wisconsin Council of the Blind & Visually Impaired Celebrating 70 Years of Advocacy, Empowerment and Service on a red background with circles

In this 70th anniversary year of the Council’s work, what better time to celebrate those who have supported our organization for at least the past 35 years? Why did we choose 35 years?

“That’s half of our 70 years of existence,” says Fund Development Director Lori Werbeckes. “The Council began recording donations on software just over 35 years go. Honoring these loyal donors is a highlight of our 70th anniversary recognition. $35 also happens to be a common amount for first-time donors to give. A $35 gift enables us to provide someone with a white cane.”

We have an amazing number of donors who have been supporting us for at least 35 years: 52 of them! Longtime donors are chipping in from all over the state. Lori notes that 35-plus year donors live in 19 different Wisconsin counties and are spread across four states. While the worst of the pandemic slowed giving to some nonprofits, Lori says “our donors continued to give…. I think it’s because they know the Council. They see their gift working.”

Thirty-five-plus-year donor and Fitchburg resident Stewart Brown agrees. “You have a good idea of truly where your money is going,” he says. Stewart gives in honor of his first cousin Gary, living in Baraboo. His gifts also honors Gary’s entire family. Gary’s mother and father (Stewart’s aunt and uncle) took Stewart into their home to live as an infant when his mother passed away.

Mike Sterr of Brookfield is a 35-year donor who also gives in honor of a family member, his father who was blind. “He was active in the Council,” Mike says. “That provided me an opportunity to get to know his blind friends from around the state.” He says the Council has given him several reasons to continue his generous gifts. “The Council is very prompt in responding to the needs of people, very open about how they distribute the contributions, and always very courteous…. Of the various places we contribute, the Council seems to be the most open and appreciative of the modest gifts we are able to provide on a regular basis.”

Donors like Stewart and Mike give the Council reason to believe that our work will be as valued on our 100th anniversary as it is today.

If you would like to start or continue along the path to becoming a 35-year donor, visit our donate page, or contact Lori at LWerbeckes@WCBlind.org or 608-237-8114.

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