Lakeshore CAP President & CEO Mike Huck pens this edition of “Communities in Action.” Read about the beneficial partnerships Lakeshore CAP shares with community organizations—how working together toward a common mission provides an expanded range of community engagement, additional resources, and a combination of diverse knowledge, program development and operations expertise to create a cohesive network of supportive systems for those in need. Huck states, “The power of the resulting shared vision can move mountains. It can energize a community, and it can infect all who come in contact with that energy.”
Lakeshore Community Action Program serves the counties of Door, Kewaunee, Sheboygan and Manitowoc. Like the other CAP agencies across the state, we are involved in a variety of programs designed to advance our mission, which is to increase economic self-sufficiency among our service population. In each of these areas, we seldom act alone.
Community partnerships are the lifeblood of our efforts. Not only do they bring more resources to bear upon the persistent problems of poverty, but they provide the unique quality of community engagement themselves. This element of engagement is one of the key motivators for individuals and families to expend the energy needed to lift themselves out of adverse circumstances. Through our partnerships, everyone can and does have an impact. Engaging in our processes to lift the burden of poverty helps all who are involved with their wider aim of a better community. Our work with other agencies in their projects sets the stage for a more prosperous community that can provide for all.
Some of our most valuable partnerships come through the United Way’s of the different counties in which we work. In Manitowoc, a recent effort has brought together a diverse group to form an organization called the Community Partnership for Children. Starting with a program of connecting young mothers with community resources, this group includes the local hospitals, the county health department, the school system and the United Way. The goal is to develop a network of supportive systems for children that will foster their growth through young adulthood. This ambitious goal could be met piecemeal over time, but the Partnership features a combination of theoretical knowledge, program development and operations expertise, and resources that none of the organizations possessed alone. This coalition can meld the pieces into an effective, strategically cohesive whole while eliminating duplication of effort and resource waste.
We participate in coalitions engaged in all of our service programs. Housing, food security and homelessness prevention, along with family education and youth services, all benefit from close working relationships with other helping entities. These collaborations aren’t without their challenges. Communication between organizations led by strong individuals closely tied to their organizations can be fraught with misunderstanding. We all work every day to overcome them. And, we gain immeasurably from the diversity of thought and knowledge that comes to the table with organizations bringing multiple perspectives.
The power of the resulting shared vision can move mountains. It can energize a community, and it can infect all who come in contact with that energy. A community mobilized with a clear vision of what it wants to be can be the rising tide that lifts all boats. Families feeling secure in a caring community are going to raise caring and engaged children who can in turn contribute by adding to the pool of productive community members. Such a community will develop resiliency. Those who experience adversity can expect appropriate assistance from the community because that is part of the community’s vision for itself.
Lakeshore CAP and all the member agencies of WISCAP look forward to meeting the challenges of poverty in the short and long term. We are part of the community along with our partners. We want to celebrate our collaborations, and to invite those not at the table to join us in creating the communities in which we all want to live. I welcome your comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.
President & Chief Executive Officer
Pamela Guthman, CEO of Indianhead Community Action Agency, Inc. (ICAA), authors this edition of our “Communities in Action” blog. Click here to explore the definition of community action and the vital resources, education and services that agencies provide, as well as the substantial impact of these programs on the social and economic determinants of health. She also discusses ICAA’s successful Legal Assistance for Victims Program.
May 15, 2013 – WISCAP member agency Couleecap, Inc. is accepting applications for Administrative Secretary. Please visit our Job Openings page for more information.
May is National Community Action Month, serving to highlight the role Community Action Agencies play in helping low-income families move out of poverty and achieve economic security.
What does “Community Action” really mean and what is it they do when they are in action? When I think of “Communities in Action,” I think of a population made up of individuals, families, and groups who are “movers and shakers” who encourage friends, neighbors, and all segments comprising a community (business, faith-based, education, governmental, etc.) to work together to make their communities healthy.
Community Action Agencies help low-income families move out of poverty and achieve economic security through a variety of programs such as Head Start, Weatherization, Job Training and Placement, Financial Education, Small Business Development, Housing, Energy Assistance, and Transportation. In fact, the promise of Community Action states, “Community Action changes people’s lives, embodies the spirit of hope, improves communities, and makes America a better place to live. We care about the entire community and we are dedicated to helping people help themselves.”
President Obama, in his recent State of the Union address, made the point that, in order for our society to bring struggling families into the middle class, good jobs need to be created, the next generation of workers need to be trained, children need to be invested in, and families need to be strengthened. All these tasks are being tackled by local Community Action Agencies every day of every month of every year.
Indianhead Community Action Agency, Inc. (ICAA), which serves six counties in north central and northwest Wisconsin, strongly believes in helping individuals, families, and communities achieve self-sufficiency by extending a hand to help them out of poverty. This isn’t easy; resources during these economically challenged times have spiraled downwards, creating decreased funding for programs to help our most vulnerable populations. And this decrease in funding is affecting almost the entire menu of programs Community Action Agencies provide.
Programs that help families out of poverty are important not just for the direct assistance they provide. There is a very substantial impact of these programs on the social and economic determinants of health. Clinical interventions only contribute to 20% of health, while 40% of health comes from safe housing, equitable wages, education, healthy nutrition, safe communities, family and social support (County Health Rankings, 2013). Our families and communities need to have a fair and equitable chance to become more self–sufficient and to be productive citizens; resources and policies to support social and economic determinants of health are necessary to develop healthy, productive, self-sufficient individuals, families, communities and strong businesses.
Indianhead Community Action Agency, Inc. is determined to look for innovative ways to assist individuals and families who are in need. In addition to the above mentioned programs, ICAA also provides home health services to our aging population as they cope with illnesses, designs programs for youth to address teen-related issues, makes available food and nutrition resources, provides literacy services, offers small business and social enterprise programs, and supports legal assistance for domestic violence programs.
The Legal Assistance for Victims Program has been an extremely successful program, having grown from serving 8 counties in 2010 to now serving 15 counties. This program was made possible through funding obtained from the United States Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women. In the initial planning grant, two attorneys were hired to provide free legal assistance to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence and stalking. They served more than 200 women during the first two years. A continuation grant provided additional funding to extend these services to victims in additional counties through collaborations with domestic violence shelters. While this program has been instrumental in improving the lives of the victims we serve, there continues to be a significant need (more than what our funds support). Additional funding is always being sought to continue to provide these services to all of ICAA’s counties.
The Legal Assistance for Victims Program is just one example of the many innovative programs Community Action Agencies provide. There are many more phenomenal stories from Community Action Agencies that are assisting individuals, families and communities during these difficult times.
It is time for our communities to collectively address the various inequalities that exist which keep families in poverty and which also, too often, support ‘victim blaming.’ It is also time for our communities to “… stop thinking of health as something we get at the doctor’s office, but instead as something that starts in our families, in our schools and workplaces, in our playgrounds and parks, and in the air we breathe and the water we drink.” (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 2010, p. 6) “Communities in Action” are willing to extend a helping hand to address issues related to poverty. “Communities in Action” are willing to find creative, innovative solutions by working collaboratively with community members to help individuals and families achieve self-sufficiency. “Communities in Action” support the individual, the family, and the community by providing the resources, education and services necessary to develop healthy families, sustainable communities and strong local businesses.
Please feel free to contact me with your thoughts.
Pamela L. Guthman, BSN, RN, BC
Chief Executive Officer
Indianhead Community Action Agency, Inc.
Community Action Partnership (2013). Available at: http://www.communityactionpartnership.com/
County Health Rankings and Roadmaps. (2013). What works for health. Available at:
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (2010). Available at:
Eloise Anderson, Secretary of the Department of Children and Families, presented the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Community Action to NEWCAP for its exemplary Rapid Re-Housing Project. NEWCAP was acclaimed for excellence in administering state and federal funds for homeless services on behalf of the northeastern part of Wisconsin. The award was presented in conjunction with WISCAP’s Annual Meeting, held in Madison on May 1, 2013. Continue reading
May 9, 2013 – Madison, WI – The Wisconsin Community Action Program Association (WISCAP) announced the recipients of the 2013 WISCAP Annual Awards at its annual meeting, held in Madison on May 1, 2013.
Kim Cable, Housing and Community Services Department Director at Couleecap, Inc., received the Outstanding Advocate Award. Kim was recognized for her energetic and successful advocacy on behalf of low-income Continue reading
Dave Talo along with his wife and two sons live in Outagamie County. Dave first contacted CAP Services in April 2010, e-mailing asking if “CAP Services could help make my small business idea a reality.” The previous fall, he finished a business plan for a small bottling production facility, Dave’s Bottling LLC, that would create one full-time and two part-time jobs at start-up. He was having trouble finding financing, with comments that he lacked the experience for this type of business. He asked for help to re-write his business plan to better demonstrate his experience, skill set, and knowledge.
In October 2010, CAP Services successfully competed for a new business assistance product—the USDA’s Rural Microenterprise Assistance Program (RMAP). It would provide rural businesses with 10 or fewer full-time employees a source of affordable and flexible capital with no income limits for either borrowers or their employees. Staff contacted him and found he continued to work on his marketing research and re-write his business plan. He needed $150,000 to open the business. He had acquired a new business partner, John Mathison; and, each partner contributed $30,000 to the project for a total of $60,000. This allowed them to obtain the remaining $90,000 in total loans from CAP Services, the Waupaca County Economic Development Corporation and Associated Bank.
Flavor 8 Bottling LLC was established in February 2011 and began full production and distribution of their product, Flavor 8 Soda Pop, in August 2011. Talo and Mathison grew up in the 60’s and 70’s drinking great tasting, sugar-based sodas at family-friendly prices. The glass bottled, multiple-flavored soda was brought to most family functions, served iced cold and enjoyed by both kids and adults. Flavor 8 Bottling wants their soda pop to be the type of treat that will not only remind people of how things tasted during simpler times, but will be something to share for generations to come. The soda will be produced using a restored, vintage line that was used during the 60’s and 70’s.
Flavor 8 Bottling, located in New London, Wisconsin, produces and distributes its multi-flavored soda to specialty stores and various other outlets in the Northeast Wisconsin region. To purchase Flavor 8 soda, visit www.Flavor8Bottling.com. You can also purchase directly from the Flavor 8 production facility in New London.
Feedback from customers has been very positive and interest from specialty stores to carry this product is high. Two additional part-time floor production staff have been hired and their account base has grown from 32 to 60 major re-sellers. Their distribution area now stretches as far as Slinger and Jackson, just north of Milwaukee and west to Stevens Point. Dave and John distribute through Johnson Distributing in Stevens Point as well as TV and radio advertising.
They are in the process of purchasing their next filling line, which will more than double their per hour output; again, keeping it vintage and repurposing an early 1960’s vintage bottling line. Their passion for this industry is evidenced by the work they are doing counseling other around the country who also want to start returnable bottle soda facilities. Dave will be attending the New England Independent Bottlers Association meeting in Massachusetts in April 2013 to feed his growing thirst for knowledge of this industry. As Flavor 8 Bottling’s business continues to grow, Dave and John are finding themselves thinking about a larger, tailor-made facility that will help them bring the product to a new level.
Flavor 8 Bottling LLC
1207 West Waupaca Street
New London, WI 54961
Dave Talo: (920) 419-0207
John Mathison: (920) 470-7484
Business Start: August 2011, Waupaca County
May 6, 2013 – WISCAP member agency Couleecap, Inc. is accepting applications for Case Manager II. Visit our Job Openings page for further information.