Community Action, Inc.’s First Choice Health Center

Rock County ranks fourth in Wisconsin in the level of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). First Choice Health Center, a program of Community Action, Inc., is hosting a free testing clinic in Janesville on August 31 to help reduce those numbers.

The racial disparity among those suffering from STIs is even more striking. The Rock County Health Department reports that while African-Americans make up roughly 5% of the county’s population, African-Americans account for 25% of the chlamydia cases, 57% of the gonorrhea cases and 66% of the co-infection cases (two STIs at the same time).

“African-Americans are disproportionately impacted by sexually transmitted infections in the United States,” says Marc Perry, director of community programs at Community Action, Inc. “That’s all the more reason why it is critical that everyone gets tested and knows their status. When you get tested, you take control of your reproductive health.” Continue reading

Grace Jones Receives Housing Excellence Award

Grace Jones, Executive Director of Couleecap, the Community Action Agency serving La Crosse, Monroe, Vernon and Crawford Counties in western Wisconsin, was awarded the prestigiGraceous Charles M. Hill, Sr. Award for Housing Excellence at the 2016 A Home for Everyone statewideaffordable housing conference.

The Charles M. Hill, Sr. Award for Housing Excellence is given to an individual who has displayed a long-term commitment to the provision of affordable housing and had a lasting influence on the advancement of affordable housing in Wisconsin. Ms. Jones was honored for her tireless efforts to fight poverty and promote self-sufficiency; for leading innovative efforts to provide housing for those most in need; for her passionate commitment to develop programs to serve the homeless in her community; and for her collaborative spirit in addressing community challenges.

“It is such an honor to be selected for an award named after one of my housing heroes, Chuck Hill” said Ms. Jones. “This work is so important and makes such a fundamental and lasting impact on the families we help.”

The Wisconsin Collaborative for Affordable Housing consists of community-based organizations, private concerns, government agencies and advocates committed to promoting the development and preservation of affordable housing throughout Wisconsin. The Collaborative organizes the annual A Home for Everyone conference to provide a public forum for the purpose of focusing on these issues for low-income families and individuals. This year’s conference was the Collaborative’s 20th such effort.

For more information about Couleecap and its programs, visit


Former WISCAP Employee Kathy Cartwright Passes Away

Former WISCAP employee Kathy Cartwright passed away August 12, 2016. She was 64.

Kathy served a Rural Development Specialist in WISCAP’s Rural Development Department for 13 years – from 1999 to 2012. She was a great resource for the work WISCAP did with the rural water and wastewater program, helping local very small communities and expanding opportunities for use of Community Development Block Grants and working relationships with the Wisconsin Public Service Commission, USDA-Rural Development and other like organizations.

Prior to coming to WISCAP, Kathy worked for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, after which she went on to pursue additional studies at the University of Wisconsin, where she also taught and worked at the UW Arboretum. She subsequently worked for several environmental engineering consulting firms before finishing her career with WISCAP.

Kathy is survived by her husband, Joseph McDonald; a brother, Frank Jr.; and several wonderful nieces and nephews. Memorials may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association to aid in their efforts with a wide range of dementias; or to the Nature Conservancy to aid in their work preserving native habitats. Both causes were close to Kathy’s heart.