Last week, the agency took a tour of local not-for-profit LEAVEN (Limited Emergency Assistance Valley Ecumenical Network). Some of us thought we knew what the community organization was all about, but we quickly realized LEAVEN touches more non-profits, people and causes than we ever thought.
Since its inception in 1987, LEAVEN has been the ‘bridge between hardship and hope’ for residents of Calumet, Northeastern Winnebago and Outagamie Counties. While there are hundreds of volunteers and thousands of donors that help LEAVEN everyday, the organization operates on a very small handful of staff (only two full-time!). That means expenses as a percentage of donations is extremely small, and every dollar contributed goes toward helping community members through hardships. LEAVEN truly is a good steward of all the donated funds.
Executive Director Jennifer Wanke (our tour guide) told us to think of LEAVEN as the ‘financial emergency room’ of the community. LEAVEN helps people who need a temporary helping hand with basic human needs like rent, mortgage, utilities, diapers, toiletries and clothing vouchers. Local churches and other not-for-profit organizations work with LEAVEN to get members of the community the financial support they need to make it until the next paycheck.
In a time when jobs are scarce and money is tight, it’s important to remember great organizations like this are busier than ever. We were happy to tour LEAVEN to gain some knowledge of this little-known community lifeline.