Building a Stronger Community… One Story at a Time.
Our Vision: A thriving community where all are valued
Our Mission: Waunakee Neighborhood Connection provides programs and resources that engage neighbors to support and empower one another
Once upon a time, a woman saw a need. A single mom was asking for help to find a safe home for herself and her two boys. Children were walking to school without warm winter coats. Another mom was undergoing intense medical treatment, limiting her ability to care for her family and herself.
In 2003, when our founder, Genna Eaton, observed these needs, she organized an effort to meet those requests by reaching out to her community neighbors. The mission of helping neighbors was embraced by the community. Before long, volunteers came forward and step-by-step developed a process of helping neighbors – first, through the schools and then by partnering with Dane County Social Worker, Bob Blankenhagen. From there, it grew quickly. Programs were developed based on the needs observed. Next steps included obtaining a space, formalizing the organization, creating a Board of Directors, coordinating efforts with other area resources and developing and cultivating community partners including schools, churches, businesses, individual families and other service organizations.
Since Waunakee Neighborhood Connection received its 501(c)(3) non-profit status on February 14, 2007, the organization has served more than one thousand families. We provide numerous free need-based programs and services, and volunteer opportunities that result in thousands of volunteer hours and lives touched each year. We moved into our current building in 2014 following a successful capital campaign that provided the resources to purchase and renovate the space. It houses our free store along with work and meeting spaces for staff, volunteers, and clients.
Who We Serve
Oftentimes, people are surprised that an organization such as Waunakee Neighborhood Connection exists in our community because they look around and do not see much evidence of need. However, we know that nearly 4% of our neighbors are living below the poverty line and another 15%, which is more than 2000 individuals, live below what is known as the ALICE threshold. ALICE stands for asset limited, income constrained, employed, and the threshold is currently $19,848 for a single adult and $61,620 for a family of four. Thus, we have many neighbors who are working one or more jobs yet not making enough income to meet their expenses of daily living.
Some families are with us for a very short time during an unexpected crisis, while others are with us for many years. Regardless of the timeframe, we are here to provide programs and resources that empower them to create a life where they can feel stable and secure.