Ilastmonth’s article, readers had a chance to learn about some of the CHIP nonprofits that help protect the environment and promote sustainability. Although many of the CHIP groups do environmental work, many more work on behalf of justice issues, women’s and children’s issues, affordable housing, and those with disabilities.
This year, with the opening of the second store in Middleton, Co-op staff and CHIP nonprofits are hoping, overall, for even greater levels of generosity from shoppers. The funds go to support the 65 nonprofits that are part of Community CHIP.
What Is “CHIP?”
The last question at the check-out is usually, “Would you like to CHIP?” When you say yes, 1% is added onto your bill—a 30¢ donation for a $30 purchase. Community CHIP is a sister organization of Community Shares of Wisconsin, which for 39 years has raised funds for local, grassroots nonprofits.
Here are just some of the types of work you support when you say “yes” to CHIP. Many CHIP groups have a wide-ranging—even a statewide—impact. But in recognition of the new store opening in Middleton, some of the items below highlight work that specifically benefits those in Middleton or on Madison’s westside.
Before working with Chrysalis, “Liz,” from Madison’s westside, wanted to work but feared public interaction. She was routinely hospitalized every six weeks for an attempted suicide. After working with an employment specialist at Chrysalis, which helps adults with mental illness find jobs, Liz was able to find a job as a deli worker.
Six months into her job, Chrysalis staff say that Liz was a visibly changed person. Instead of shy and isolated, Liz was outgoing and assertive. She went from being focused only on wanting to end her life to seeing a future for herself and actually setting goals. She took the initiative to enroll in classes at MATC.
Liz has gone eight months without an attempted suicide. She attributes her long run of health to her work-related connection to the community. Work, Liz said, brings meaning and enjoyment to her life.
GSA for Safe Schools (www.gsaforsafeschools.org) supports GSA chapters in high schools throughout the state. GSAs often focus on anti-bullying techniques, teaching students what they can do to reduce bullying among classmates. GSA groups help prevent intimidation of not only lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) students, but of other targeted students—students of color, children of same-sex parents, students with disabilities, or students who are different in any other aspect.
Middleton, West, and Memorial High Schools all have a GSA chapter, and Tim Michael of GSA for Safe Schools said that those groups are leaders in one key area. “Only three districts in Wisconsin have expanded their student nondiscrimination policy to include gender identity/expression. Middleton and Madison are two of those districts,” he said. (The third district is in Bayfield.)
“All the more impressive, students at those schools were involved in expanding these policies,” Tim added. “We’d like to see similar policies statewide. Clearly students in our local high schools are to be commended not only for their concern about their fellow students, but for their decisive actions to prevent discrimination.”
Almost two years ago Roberta was facing a medical emergency, so she posted an alert on the website of the Dane County TimeBank. Roberta’s husband, Richard, had been diagnosed with acute leukemia. Because of his risk for infection, countless items needed to be removed from their west side home, and the entire house needed to be cleaned and sanitized.
“Initially he was hospitalized three times in less than two months, and he was in such poor condition that there were times when I thought he wouldn’t make it through the night,” Roberta noted. “We also needed help keeping up with the cleaning as long as he could not fight infection. He has chemotherapy 10 days a month, and in the first few months he also needed blood transfusions weekly. For over a year he had numerous doctor’s appointments, and we often spent up to 11 hours a day at UW Hospital. I didn’t have the strength or time to care for him and keep the house clean and sanitized.”
Members of the Dane County TimeBank stepped in immediately. “TimeBank members, strangers to me, came forth to help us—not only from Madison, but from Middleton and surrounding communities. It was something I never imagined in my wildest dreams,” said Roberta. “We had ongoing help for well over a year, until his health improved. “
“Just before Thanksgiving last year, Richard was told he was in complete remission,” Roberta said. “We would never have come to this point were it not for neighbors helping neighbors—the basic premise of the Dane County TimeBank.” Dane County TimeBank creates a network whereby members earn credits by helping others, then spend those credits on help they need themselves.
The ACLU of Wisconsin Foundation and the Fair Wisconsin Education Fund worked together to defend Wisconsin’s new statewide domestic partnership legislation, which recently faced legal challenges in the state’s highest court. The Wisconsin Supreme Court, siding with both Community Shares of Wisconsin groups, dismissed a challenge asking that the domestic partnership protections be declared unconstitutional.
“No one should ever have to worry about being blocked at their partner’s hospital room door, or have to make the heartbreaking decision to quit their job in order to care for a seriously ill partner,” said Katie Belanger of Fair Wisconsin. “This isn’t about being gay or straight—it’s about being decent.”
Working Capital for Community Needs (WCCN) provides access to micro-loans for small-scale entrepreneurs and farmers in Latin America—a group often denied services by traditional banks. They also have connected a Wisconsin business with a Latin American supplier.
WCCN was working with the Fundación Entre Mujeres, or La FEM, a nonprofit coffee producer in Nicaragua committed to social and economic development of rural women. “This group is different from most of the groups we work with,” said Carlos Arenas, Executive Director of WCCN. “La FEM is more than a co-op trying to help people make a decent wage—as important as that is. It’s a group also dedicated to women’s empowerment and education.”
Back home, the WCCN staff mentioned the La FEM coffee cooperative to Madison-based Just Coffee. “The La FEM producers were ready to sell their coffee, and Just Coffee was willing to buy,” said Carlos. “It worked out for everyone involved.” So if you choose to buy Just Coffee, you’re also supporting the nonprofit work done by La FEM.
The Willy-Street Co-op was one of the first stores to sign on as a CHIP partner years ago. Its Owners have always responded with generosity, and it’s now the sole remaining CHIP partner—last year raising over $100,000 to support CHIP groups.
With the addition of shoppers on the west side and in Middleton, those contributions are likely to grow. And the result will likely be more successful work by CHIP nonprofits.
All of the 65 CHIP nonprofits want to thank you for saying “yes” to CHIP!
|1000 Friends of Wisconsin|
ABC for Health
ACLU of Wisconsin Foundation
Center for Family Policy and Practice
Center for Media and Democracy
Citizens for Safe Water Around Badger
Citizens Utility Board
Coalition of Wisconsin Aging Groups
Common Wealth Development
Community Action on Latin America
Dane County TimeBank
Disability Rights Wisconsin
Fair Housing Center of Greater Madison
Fair Wisconsin Education Fund
Friends of Wisconsin State Parks
Gathering Waters Conservancy
Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) for Safe Schools
Grassroots Empowerment Project
Grassroots Leadership College
Housing Initiatives, Inc.
Interfaith Coalition for Worker Justice
League of Women Voters of Wisconsin Education Fund
Legal Action of Wisconsin
Madison Area Community Land Trust
Madison Audubon Society
|Midwest Environmental Advocates|
NARAL Pro-Choice Wisconsin Foundation
New Harvest Foundation
Nuestro Mundo, Inc.
Physicians for Social Responsibility—Wisconsin
Rape Crisis Center
REAP Food Group
River Alliance of Wisconsin
Sierra Club Foundation, John Muir Chapter
Tenant Resource Center
UNIDOS Against Domestic Violence
Wheels for Winners
Wisconsin Apprentice Organizers Project
Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault
Wisconsin Community Fund
Wisconsin Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired
Wisconsin Council on Children and Families
Wisconsin Democracy Campaign
Wisconsin Early Childhood Association
Wisconsin Family Ties
Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters
Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice
Wisconsin Wetlands Association
Wisconsin Women’s Network
Women in Transition
Working Capital for Community Needs
WORT 89.9 FM Community Radio