Central Wisconsin Community Action Council Inc. (CWCAC) – A Mission To Be Proud Of

The Central Wisconsin Community Action Council, Inc. (CWCAC) is one of 16 Community Action Agencies (CAAs) in the state of Wisconsin with its primary mission to help poor families and individuals who subsist in poverty by providing a variety of services and programs to help them achieve independence and increased levels of prosperity. CWCAC is centrally located; with our administrative office in the city of Wisconsin Dells and a geographic service area covering the five (5) counties of Adams, Columbia, Dodge, Juneau and Sauk.

Services and programs provided by CWCAC include:

  • Home Weatherization
  • First-Time Home Buyer Financial Assistance
  • Handicapped Home Accessibility Renovations
  • Home Repair and Rehabilitation
  • Homeless Housing
  • Homeless Prevention and Intervention
  • Job-Related Education and Training
  • Small Business Assistance Loans
  • Employment-Related Car Loans
  • Financial Management for Home Buyers
  • Hunger Reduction, Food & Nutrition Accessibility
  • Summer Lunch for Kids
  • Protective Payroll and Guardianships
  • Emergency Furnace Repair and Replacement
  • Community Development Block Grant Administration for Local Municipalities
  • Housing Development for the Disabled
  • Affordable Housing Development for Seniors and Families
  • Crisis Assistance and Referral, and
  • Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program (WHEAP) Administration

Recognizing the vast extent of the need for our programs and services, CWCAC does not operate in isolation. We are one of the many community organizations, both public and private, that provide social and human services. Inter-agency referral and collaboration among and between committed organizations is critical to solving individual and social problems. CWCAC is proud to be a contributor and collaborator with these many organizations.

A significant example of this collaboration is an effort between CWCAC and one of our sister Community Action Agencies to provide for an affordable senior housing apartment development. With CAP Services Inc., out of Stevens Point, having experience capturing tax credit funding for affordable housing construction and CWCAC being a Community Housing Development Organization (CHODO) with access to grant funding from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) through the Wisconsin Division of Housing, our two agencies successfully completed three separate senior housing projects: two in the City of Adams, the other in the City of Mauston. In total, 80 two-bedroom units with attached garages were constructed and are now occupied by very satisfied seniors.

This effort exemplifies how our statewide WISCAP association continuously works together. Many of these innovative projects are possible because of the national ‘seed’ money Wisconsin’s CAAs receive from the federal Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) The $8 million in CSBG funding Wisconsin receives annually is magnified over 25 times, stimulating communities and allowing for new and effective approaches to helping people climb out of poverty. Reducing any amount of CSBG funding is not in the best interest of our county, our state, or of poor people.

Although the “poor will always be with us,” we—as Americans—have a responsibility to assist the less fortunate and continue to provide means and solutions for them to escape poverty. Your understanding and active support is important.

I may be contacted at 608-254-8353 or by e-mail at donna@cwcac.org.

Fred Hebert
Executive Director

Central Wisconsin Community Action Council logo

Central Wisconsin CAC
1000 Hwy. 13
PO Box 430
Wisconsin Dells, WI 53965-0430
Ph. (608) 254-8353
Fax (608) 254-4327

Innovative Couleecap Program Featured in National Publication

February 20, 2013 – Westby, WI – An innovative program operated in the La Crosse area by Couleecap, Inc.—in partnership with Habitat for Humanity and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago—is featured in the most recent edition of the State & Local Energy Report, a national publication read by energy assistance advocates, utilities, energy businesses and community organizations. Continue reading

Community Action Agencies Engage in Job Creation with Business Development Programs

Jobs, jobs, jobs. The subject has been the focus of both national and state discussions for some time. Yet, many are unaware of the work Community Action Agencies are engaging in to create them.

Organizations like ADVOCAP, Western Dairyland and CAP Services have supported small business start-ups and expansions, fueling local economies for a number of years. These, and other Wisconsin community action agencies (CAA’s), offer a variety of technical assistance services that include the development of business plans, market/feasibility studies and preparation of financials and forecasting. From 2006 through September 2012, the network assisted in the creation of 383 new businesses and 635 jobs. Since 1989, the numbers are even higher: 1,971 new businesses and 5,669 jobs!

But without access to financing, some of these business starts or expansions would not be feasible. Several CAA’s offer revolving loan funds for business financing when clients face difficulties in obtaining the same in the marketplace. Since 2006, the CAA network leveraged loans and grants to small businesses totaling $6.6 million and accessed $3.1 million in other business development support.

CAP’s lending arm, Community Assets for People, LLC, is one of 21 US-Treasury certified Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI’s) in Wisconsin. CDFI’s bring capital and credit to under-served markets, and as such, do much of their work with low-income people or in low-income and rural communities. They are effective and so much so, that Starbuck’s created its “Jobs for America” program that invests in CDFI’s for lending and the resulting creation of jobs.

CAP’s total loan portfolio of $15 million currently includes over 1,000 housing loans, 64 business loans and 54 auto purchase loans. The business loan fund of approximately $5 million is capitalized through a combination of grants and investments from the faith-based, public and private sectors. Last year, it deployed over $1.8 million in loans to 23 businesses. Separate one very large deal of over $1.4 million, the average loan size was $63,250. But the range of loan sizes varies and may as small as $1,500 or as large as $500,000 or more. Flexible financing terms that include lower interest rates, limited-term interest-only payments, or collateral considerations make the difference for many clients.

Other business services available at CAP Services include below-market cost space in its business incubators and a Lease/Purchase program. The Lease/Purchase program involves CAP purchasing or building a facility designed to a business’ specifications. CAP then leases it to the business with an option to purchase. It also offers a web-based technical assistance product. Visit www.vbi.biz to see more. Other CAA’s offer other business products, too. See the “Member Agencies” link for more information.

Over the past 5 years, CAP Services assisted 53 business starts and the creation of 118 jobs. The types of businesses in the portfolio are as diverse as the tools used to assist them. They have included a legal firm, hardware store, local mercantile, microbreweries, food processing plants/food products, green energy producers, machining shops, salons, coffee houses, photographers, the purchase of calves for a small farm operation and the production and sale of innovative products to make our lives better. Small business represents this nation’s economic engine. And when they are local, they drive their profits right back in the communities in which they are located.

So while the discussions continue, the community action network is doing its part to get the job done. Please feel free to contact me with your comments or questions.

Mary Patoka, President and CEO
CAP Services, Inc.
 CAP Services logo

CAP Services
5499 Hwy. 10 East, Ste A
Stevens Point, WI 54482
Ph. (715) 343-7500
Fax (715) 343-7521


WISCAP Board Elects Wally Orzechowski as President

February 8, 2013 – Wally Orzechowski, the Executive Director of Southwest CAP, was elected President of WISCAP at the association’s Board of Directors meeting on Thursday, February 7. The Board of Directors consists of the Executive Directors of the nineteen (19) member agencies of WISCAP.

Also elected to Board offices at the meeting were:

  • Mary Patoka, CEO of CAP Services, as Vice-President
  • Millie Rounsville, Executive Director of Northwest CSA, as Treasurer
  • Fred Hebert, Executive Director of Central Wisconsin CAC, as Secretary
  • Jeff Sargent, Executive Director of North Central CAP, as At-Large Member of the Executive Committee
  • Bob Koller, Executive Director of Newcap, as At-Large Member of the Executive Committee Continue reading