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Community CHIP

Thank You, Members, for Your Support of Area Nonprofits

by Moira Urich, Director of Marketing and Communications at Community Shares of Wisconsin and Community CHIP


“Would you like to CHIP?” Our cashiers ask that question hundreds of times a day.
And to all of you who say “yes,” Community CHIP and all of our member nonprofits respond with an enthusiastic “thank you

Community CHIP began in 1971 with volunteers raising money for a small group of nonprofits. Today there are 53 member nonprofits that are members of Community CHIP and its sister organization, Community Shares of Wisconsin. All 53 of these nonprofits benefit from the funds raised through the CHIP program.

How does CHIP raise money for these nonprofits?
The largest portion of our revenue is from CHIP donations, primarily through Willy Street Co-op. In 2006, for example, Willy Street Co-op members donated approximately $77,500 through the CHIP program.

How does CHIP work?
With each purchase, members have the choice to donate 1% of the total to the Community CHIP program. That’s just 5 cents on a $5 total, 25 cents on a $25 total, and so on. But those small amounts add up over the course of a year-and that revenue is a very important source of funding for our member nonprofits.

What types of nonprofits are members of Community CHIP?
Our 53 member groups (a complete list is shown below) do an amazing—and wide-ranging—amount of important work for our community and for Wisconsin. But generally our members’ work falls into these categories:
• Protecting our environment
• Ensuring affordable, accessible housing
• Fostering civic engagement
• Supporting women, children, and families
• Empowering people with disabilities
• Working for a just, equitable society
Our members’ advocacy and activism set them apart from the work being done by many other nonprofits. Our groups don’t simply identify problems and then offer support, they address the root causes of problems-thereby helping avoid perpetuating the problems.

What do my CHIP contributions help to support?
Here are just a few of the successes that your donations helped our members achieve recently:
• Citizens for Safe Water Around Badger led a successful national campaign to prohibit the military from open burning of contaminated buildings and causing the uncontrolled release of PCBs, dioxins, and other human carcinogens to the environment.
• Clean Wisconsin played a critical role in getting legislative support for the Clean Energy Bill, signed into law in 2006. The bill will save ratepayers hundreds of millions of dollars.
• Community Action on Latin America coordinated a fact-finding delegation to Venezuela and presented 9 educational programs, offering a forum for varying interpretations of the politics and culture of Venezuela.
• Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) for Safe Schools works with LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) Issues and school safety, primarily in high schools. On a broader scale, GSA also addresses bullying in middle schools with its Bystanders to Allies program.
• Fair Housing Center of Greater Madison provides information on fair housing rights and responsibilities to hundreds of housing consumers and providers each year.
• Grassroots Empowerment Project provided 15,986 hours of direct services about mental health issues to 3,071 consumers in 2006.
• Legal Action of Wisconsin secured food processing workers’ right to unemployment benefits. (Prior state unemployment regulations had separate and difficult-to-meet requirements for food processing workers, many of whom are migrant workers.)
• Project Home’s 350 volunteers made Hammer with a Heart successful with major repairs to homes, some in the Prairie Crossing affordable housing complex in the Allied Drive area
• UNIDOS Against Domestic Violence has expanded its new initiative, Women Moving Forward, which focuses on moving survivors of domestic violence from victim to survivor. The program identifies and meets women’s needs—such as computer training, car repair, stress management techniques, and learning English.
• Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault trained over 650 professionals working on behalf of sexual assault victims.
• Wisconsin Council on Children and Families defeated legislation that would have dramatically reduced vital income supports for low-income families—supports that families rely on to pay for food, housing, and child care.
• Wisconsin Democracy Campaign helped ensure that every vote is counted: it helped win passage of the “paper trail” bill that requires a paper record from any electronic voting equipment used in the state.
• Wisconsin Wetlands trained more than 70 developers, builders, and planners in wetlands-friendly storm water management techniques.

What percentage of my donations go to the programs versus administrative fees?
Administrative fees with the CHIP program vary slightly from year to year, but they are typically in the range of five to six percent. And that includes fundraising expenses. Donors who keep track of administrative costs will recognize that this is far below average. We have a strong commitment to keeping administrative fees low-precisely so that donors can be assured that their money is being directed toward our members’ important work.

Can I CHIP more than 1%?
Absolutely; just tell your cashier how much you would like to CHIP. Some people might want to CHIP 25 cents, 50 cents, or a dollar even on small purchases. It’s a painless way to make regular charitable donations to all of these member nonprofits.

Community CHIP and its 53 member nonprofits are forever grateful to the Willy Street shoppers. And we encourage you to keep saying “yes” to CHIP!