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2018 Annual Report

9,911 people received information & referral services

5,877 people received emergency clothing assistance

849 households provided with case management

302 households obtained safe and affordable housing

3,472,551 pounds of food distributed to 448,584 people

639,368 pounds of food diverted from landfills

2,797 winter coats given to those in need

9,637 hours donated by volunteers

2018 financial statements

Grants $4,263,529
Program Contributions $66,378
Investment Income $97,722
Contributions $232,503
Total $4,660,132
Expenses by program
Housing and Case Management $2,457,247
Food Security $1,687,062
Community Relations $54,555
Clothing Center $89,604
Total Program Expenses $4,288,468
Management & General Expenses $363,741
Fund Raising Expenses $16,386
Total Expenses $4,668,595


Total donations $217,182.14

Major Donors


  • United Way of Dane County
  • Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield
  • Willy Street Cooperative
  • Buckets for Hunger
  • The Evjue Foundation
  • Frederick R Kruger
  • Wayne Bisek
  • John Knox Presbytery


  • Roundy’s Fund
  • Madison Area Chef’s Network
  • H&H Foundation
  • Rhyme
  • Epic Systems Corporation

$1,000 – 4,999

  • Laurel Rabson
  • Allan & Mary Stegemann
  • Jean Espenshade
  • Joseph Gallina
  • Peter Davis
  • Gretchen Twietmeyer
  • Sally & Howard Mazur
  • Kwik Trip
  • VFW Post 7591
  • Blue Tree Network
  • Glory Global Solutions
  • Oakwood Foundation
  • Alliant Energy Foundation
  • Healthy Dane Funders
  • Dane County Farmers Market on the Square
  • Mount Olive Lutheran Church


  • United Way of Dane County
  • United Way Jefferson and Walworth Counties
  • United Way Watertown
  • Predolin
  • Dane County Department of Human Services
  • Dane County Housing Authority
  • Willy Street Cooperative
  • Housing and Urban Development
  • Messiah Lutheran Church
  • Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act
  • Emergency Food & Shelter National Board
  • Waukesha County Housing Action Coalition
  • State of WI Department of Administration
  • Public Services Commission of WI
  • State of Wisconsin Dept of Health Services
  • Wisconsin Dept. of Veteran Affairs
  • Workforce Development Board of South Central Wisconsin
  • Wisconsin Dept. of Children and Families

Board of Directors

  • Cathy Ness, President
  • David Ahrens, Vice President
  • Jennifer Andrews, Treasurer
  • Kelsi Schultz, Secretary
  • Emily Campbell
  • Linda Ketcham
  • Gumaro Lazcano
  • Kirk Lund
  • Larry Nelson
  • Samantha Wendt
  • Debra Farrington
  • Barbara Anderson
  • Daniel Sims

Success story: Alicia

During her initial CAC meeting, Alicia called herself a “bulldog”. The world had taught her that she had to be loud and aggressive to be heard. Her landlord was not a fan of her communication style or the list of tenant rule violations she had accumulated; she received a 30-day eviction notice.

Alicia ignored bad news. The world had crushed her spirit many times. By the time her case worker met her, she had two weeks until she had to move. With two other recent evictions and bad credit, finding her and her 4 children a place to live, much less finding her a place in two weeks, would be nearly impossible. They both knew it.
The 32-year-old launched into a surly diatribe about suing her landlord. Her caseworker stopped her.

She asked, “Respectfully I feel I need to ask you what is more important, winning this fight, or keeping a roof over your family’s head? If you can stay where you are, keep your kids in school and avoid the stress of living in your car, isn’t that worth humbling yourself, admitting that you’ve made mistakes and asking the landlord what you can do to make things right?”

There was silence. The “bulldog” was in tears.

Over the course of the next week, she accepted and welcomed coaching. They made phone calls together from the Community Action Coalition, scheduled a meeting with her landlord, and then, we set her loose to do the talking.
Ultimately, her family received notice that they could remain in the apartment, which meant that the kids could stay in their school and they had another chance.

A few days after she called with the good news, we received an email from Alicia. We will not soon forget the sentence that read, “Thank you for helping me realize that being a woman is better than being a ‘bulldog’”.

A year of assessment and growth

A message from our Board of Directors President, Cathy Ness

For more than 50 years CAC has opened its doors to mothers, fathers, children, veterans, men women and the elderly. Each received our services accompanied with care, dignity and respect. For several generations, donors, volunteers and staff have banded together to serve the needs of our communities. We are people who truly care about our communities.

While we are deeply proud of all that we have achieved together, we know there is still much work to be done. This has compelled us to step up even further; a year spent evaluating our programs to make sure they aligned strategically with solutions to address the demanding need for our services. We have made operational changes that will better benefit the people who we serve. We have laid the foundation for our Garments of Gratitude and Giving annual event, to bring awareness and support to our free Clothing Center. We have seen the phenomenal success of our Coats for Kids event and we are determined that even more children and adults have warm coats this winter.

We are on a mission to seek new strategic partnerships and allies in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors to best support the work we do. Throughout our agency, we are truly energized by this endeavor and look forward to working with each of you as we realize the profound difference we are making in providing hope and help to thousands in need in Dane, Jefferson, and Waukesha County communities.

To quote Nelson Mandela, “It always seems impossible until it’s done.” Together, we accomplished the impossible in 2018 and we look forward to doing more of the impossible in the coming year ahead. Our mission calls for boldness and CAC has set bold goals for 2019 as we empower low-income communities by providing nutritious food, housing resources and clothing. We often hear about the difference we are making; as Jeannie told us, “the help CAC gave me and my family has prevented us from being homeless and I am eternally grateful.”

We are proud of our long history of being good stewards of your gifts, grateful for your support and privileged to work with our donors and volunteers to achieve our critical mission to develop economic and social capabilities of individuals, families and communities in Dane, Jefferson and Waukesha counties. Thank you for partnering with CAC. Working together, there is no limit to the impact we can have.

Warm Regards,
Cathy Ness, CAC Board President