REACH, INC. HIRES NEW CEO
The Reach, Inc. Board of Directors have hired a new CEO. Todd Breaker was named the new CEO for Reach, Inc. and will begin his duties on July 20, 2020. This marks an end to a six month search to find Stacy Wigfield’s replacement. Mr. Wigfield retired on March 31st, 2020 after 34 years of service.
Mr. Breaker has been working in public programs that serve child and adults with varying abilities, multiple chronic conditions, and frailties of aging for over 30 years. Mr. Breaker has been active with public programs that have changed services in the State of Wisconsin for the past 20 years such as Self-Directed Services, Aging & Disability Resource Centers, Family Care and IRIS. His focus is on quality, strategic planning, program development, management, data analysis and business operations. Mr. Breaker loves to build up programs, create solutions in the most difficult situations, work in complex systems, and stay focused on the customer.
On being hired to lead Reach, Inc., Mr. Breaker said, “Reach’s impact on each person and families is amazing. I am very excited to be part of the future that Reach has to offer the Chippewa Valley.”
Mr. Breaker has his BS from UW-Oshkosh in Human Services and a minor in Wellness Promotion. He earned his MS in Organizational Leadership and Quality from Marian College in Fond du Lac. Mr. Breaker lives with his family in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.
Home Sales Less Impacted in June
Royal Credit Union uses Grant to study effectiveness of Financial Education Program in Correctional Facilities
Eau Claire, WI – In the fall of 2019 The National Credit Union Foundation (the Foundation) awarded 8 grants totaling $75,000 to help credit unions document and measure the impact of their products and services on member and employee financial health. Royal Credit Union (Royal) was selected to receive $7,500 in funding and partnered with UW-Stout’s Applied Research Center (ARC) to measure the effectiveness of the credit union’s financial education program in correctional facilities.
Royal offers educational programs in county jail facilities in Rice Lake, Menomonie and Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Royal also has a program in the WI Department of Correction’s Chippewa Valley Correctional Treatment Facility in Chippewa Falls. Royal used the grant funds to develop a tool to measure skill development, attitude changes and predictive behaviors upon completion of the financial education course. Data collection started in January 2020 and had planned to continue for 5 months. Unfortunately, the correctional facility financial education program had to be suspend in early March as a result of the COVID-19 global pandemic.
Preliminary analyses of the survey data that was collected in January and February of 2020 showed statistically significant gains in attitudes and confidence levels regarding financial literacy. Identifying predatory lending behaviors, understanding there are different ways to pay down debt, and comprehensive awareness of the impact of credit scores/reports were a few of the topics where students showed gains. In addition, course participants were asked to rate their satisfaction with the course and instructor. Overall, the responses indicated high levels of satisfaction in both areas.
Royal remains committed to its correctional facility financial education program and will resume providing in person courses as soon as it is safe while also looking into the possibility of offering virtual lessons. “We look forward to collecting and publishing data that will show the impact of the program on a much larger scale.” said Jennifer McHugh, Royal’s Vice President of Community Engagement. In light of the recent events and increased awareness of diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, this program offers an opportunity to support a marginalized population. We believe it can play a small role in creating the systemic change that is required in our society and commend NCUF for being early supporters of this unique credit union program.”
RCU Foundation Announces Giving Total For Virtual Rock The Riverfront Featuring The Charity Classic
Eau Claire, WI – The RCU Foundation announced that local charities will receive over $27,000 following the 2020 Rock the Riverfront featuring the Charity Classic, held virtually for the first time in 26 years. Participants were able to complete their race anytime and anywhere between June 27-July 13. Course maps were available on rcu.org/race for those that were interested in running the traditional 2 mile or 10K routes. The virtual race attracted nearly 400 participants.
The proceeds are being donated to three partner charities: Family Support Center of Chippewa Falls, National Alliance on Mental Illness Chippewa Valley and New Horizons Shelter and Outreach Centers in Whitehall. Mental health and domestic violence have emerged as two prevalent issues during the global pandemic and the event is providing support to these organizations at a critical time. Registered participants received one free vote at the time of registration; additional votes were available to be purchased online at $2 each. Family Support Center of Chippewa Falls earned 49% of the votes and will be awarded a $15,000 donation, National Alliance on Mental Illness Chippewa Valley earned 40% of the votes and will receive $7,500, and New Horizons Shelter and Outreach Centers in Whitehall will receive $5,000 after earning 11% of the vote.
The RCU Foundation’s Rock the Riverfront featuring the Charity Classic included a 10K and 2 mile walk/run, a youth race, virtual adult and kid’s challenges, the increasingly popular Rock Hunt and lots of prizes. Save the date for next year’s Rock the Riverfront on Saturday, June 26, 2021.
Royal Credit Union Donates $20,000 Plus Additional Match Funds To Frogtown & Rondo Community Business Recovery Fund
Eau Claire, WI – Royal Credit Union is donating $20,000 plus an additional $10,000 for a match campaign to the Frogtown & Rondo Community Business Recovery Fund in Minnesota. The fund supports local businesses, many owned by people of color, which experienced damage during recent unrest in St. Paul, MN.
Three community groups work together to manage the fund—Summit-University Planning Council, Frogtown Neighborhood Association, and Victoria Arts Theater Center. An executive committee is making award decisions and going door-to-door to talk with local business owners and see the needs firsthand. "These businesses hold down the community and we want to support and rebuild to prevent the domino effect of loss of community,” said Jens Werner, Executive Director of Summit-University Planning Council. “Receiving this level of support from Royal Credit Union is a powerful message of hope and love for our community, and a reminder of brighter days to come."
Some of the most common needs include replacing large-pane windows on storefronts and removing graffiti. A local daycare got a bill for $4,000 to replace glass in their facility. With help from the Community Business Recovery Fund they are working to make these important repairs.
The Frogtown and Rondo neighborhoods in St. Paul are a half mile south of Royal’s Rice St. location and were an epicenter of property damage, particularly along University Ave. W. It is served by the Summit-University Planning Council and the Frogtown Neighborhood Association, which work to create opportunities for residents to learn about what is happening in their neighborhood and collaborate to improve the quality of life.
“Royal Credit Union is proud to be a member of the St. Paul business community and we have been deeply saddened that the neighbors we serve have experienced such hardship and loss. Royal’s core purpose is to make a positive impact in the lives we touch and, by supporting this fund, we hope to make a difference as the Frogtown and Rondo neighborhoods rebuild and recover,” shared Brandon Riechers, President of Royal Credit Union.
To support this vital recovery work, a portion of Royal’s donation will be used for a match campaign. Donations made to the fund from July 23 through August 6 will be matched, up to $10,000. Donations can be made at https://www.givemn.org/story/Uf3tsf.
University of Wisconsin Eau Claire
Philanthropic alumnus quietly gave back to community
UW-Eau Claire was a primary benefactor of Don and Leatrice Mathison's generosity. Since Don first gave his alma mater $100 in 1979, the couple’s accelerated giving rose to more than $1 million. Full story.
Grad builds career using her passion for political science and public health
Aimee Gillespie graduated in 2019 with a major in political science and a minor in public health. She's using her expertise in and passion for both fields as she pursues a career in public health. Full story.
Gen 2 Blugold Beginnings: Cousins join the program
When brothers Adrian and Juan Wilson attended UW-Eau Claire as math and science campers in the 1990s, then later as undergrads, they had no idea that someday their own children might also find a home in UWEC programs and classrooms. Full story.
Current and future Blugolds show interest in new public health major
UW-Eau Claire's new public health major already is drawing interest from current and future Blugolds who want to study and solve the many problems threatening the health and well-being of populations around the world, including the COVID-19 pandemic. Full story.
National Independent Venue association (NIVA) Applauds Bi-Partisan Relief Bill, Save our stages act will assist independent venues during this pandemic
Pablo Center Passes On Their Portion of Together Chippewa Valley Donations to Eight Local Arts Nonprofits
At CVTC, Open Air Classes Perfect for Social Distancing
Eau Claire, WI – At Chippewa Valley Technical College, keeping students safe during the COVID-19 pandemic is a top priority. The College has found innovative ways to keep delivering high quality education in these times. Sometimes safe social distancing is easy – like when the classroom spans 145 acres.
Earlier this summer, nine Agronomy Management students gathered in a field on the east side of Menomonie, where instructors had previously planted corn, soybeans and oats to do what they call “crop scouting.”
“We’re looking at growth stages and checking to see the health of the crops,” said Jake Ingli, a 2014 graduate of Plum City High School now living in Ellsworth. “We’ll do yield evaluations later in the year and try to identify insects that might become a problem.”
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