Annual Report 2019 - We Raise Foundation

Expectations

2019 Annual Report

Expectations

2019 Annual Report

We Raise Foundation is honored to present our 2019 Annual Report,
which reflects the impact of your gifts from July 1, 2018 through June 30, 2019.

Dear Friends,

It is our distinct honor to provide you with our FY19 Annual Report, detailing our stewardship of your generosity. For over a century, We Raise Foundation has sought to live our faith through the thoughtful administration of the gifts entrusted to us. Our recent shift to focus on organizations that serve at the intersection of poverty, violence, and inequality is our current iteration of working on the most pressing issues of the time.

Our understanding of the role we play in the non-profit ecosystem has evolved as we focus our work on making organizations stronger, more effective, and well supported. In short, they do the work of reducing the impact poverty, violence, and inequality has in their communities and we provide the tools for them to be effective. The clarity with that understanding leads us to the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30. In it, we are told that gifts – financial and otherwise – are intended to be multiplied. This is the driving force behind We Raise Foundation.

In the past year, we have initiated the engagement of a unique set of value-add services to our grantees. Responding to their desire to be more effective raising the financial support required to run their critical programs, We Raise deploys a series of fundraising services as part of our grants. This multiplying component of our work makes our impact greater – and makes your gifts to us go even farther in service to others. We are the only grantmaker that offers these particular services to our grantees.

Our ability to do our work effectively depends on people like you. We take seriously the relationship with our donors and the precious gifts you offer to us to do our work. We believe our results and the multiplying impact of your generosity is evidence of our commitment to be good stewards. We thank you for your belief in us, for your willingness to share your gifts, and for the opportunity to live our faith together.

Gratefully,

Annual Report 2019

Mr. Rick Hein
Chair, Board of Directors

Annual Report 2019

Mr. Paul C. Miles
President and CEO

weraise_logo

Dear Friends,

It is our distinct honor to provide you with our FY19 Annual Report, detailing our stewardship of your generosity. For over a century, We Raise Foundation has sought to live our faith through the thoughtful administration of the gifts entrusted to us. Our recent shift to focus on organizations that serve at the intersection of poverty, violence, and inequality is our current iteration of working on the most pressing issues of the time.

Our understanding of the role we play in the non-profit ecosystem has evolved as we focus our work on making organizations stronger, more effective, and well supported. In short, they do the work of reducing the impact poverty, violence, and inequality has in their communities and we provide the tools for them to be effective. The clarity with that understanding leads us to the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30. In it, we are told that gifts – financial and otherwise – are intended to be multiplied. This is the driving force behind We Raise Foundation.

In the past year, we have initiated the engagement of a unique set of value-add services to our grantees. Responding to their desire to be more effective raising the financial support required to run their critical programs, We Raise deploys a series of fundraising services as part of our grants. This multiplying component of our work makes our impact greater – and makes your gifts to us go even farther in service to others. We are the only grantmaker that offers these particular services to our grantees.

Our ability to do our work effectively depends on people like you. We take seriously the relationship with our donors and the precious gifts you offer to us to do our work. We believe our results and the multiplying impact of your generosity is evidence of our commitment to be good stewards. We thank you for your belief in us, for your willingness to share your gifts, and for the opportunity to live our faith together.

Gratefully,

Annual Report 2019

Mr. Rick Hein
Chair, Board of Directors

Annual Report 2019

Mr. Paul C. Miles
President and CEO

EXPECTATIONS

Called by Christ to wisely use our gifts for the good of all humanity, We Raise Foundation partners with Christian organizations developing programs to address the issues at the intersection of violence, poverty, and inequality. Your gifts help people and communities flourish.

In Matthew 25, Jesus tells the parable of the servants who receive bags of gold from their master to show that the servant who uses his gold to gain more gold who honors his master the most. “Well done, good and faithful servant! Come and share your master’s happiness!” (Matthew 25:20-21, NIV)

God’s gifts come to us with the expectation that we will use them for the glory of God and the good of all people.

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Even before we transitioned from Wheat Ridge Ministries to We Raise Foundation in 2018, we’ve been known for supporting our partners beyond the grants through prayer, networking events, informal coaching, and encouragement. But we wanted to do more – to be a multiplier. Today your financial support is leveraged into greater impact through our capacity-building services which include fundraising assistance, crowdfunding coaching, mentoring, and connecting our leaders. We are expected to take action with our gifts, and we do!

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OUR VISION

People free from poverty, violence, and inequality.

OUR MISSION

Called by Christ to serve others, We Raise Foundation partners with Christian organizations to support and develop sustainable programs that help people thrive.

PEOPLE SERVED IN FY2019

During Fiscal Year 2019, We Raise Foundation grant recipients

served over 27,656 people

through their programs!

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VOLUNTEERS ENGAGED IN FY2019

Volunteers are the lifeblood of so many nonprofit organizations.
During Fiscal Year 2019,

over 6,400 individuals volunteered

their time with We Raise Foundation grantees for a total of

120,106 hours!

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We Raise’s grant programs are about much more than money.

Long-term successful programs and leaders also benefit from expert advice, connections with other inspired leaders, and additional funding opportunities. We Raise grants aim to provide both financial support and expert resources to strengthen the program for sustainable impact.

TOTAL PROGRAM SUPPORT IN FY2019
$2,230,959

DONOR SUPPORT IN FY2019

Everything We Raise Foundation does is made possible by
our generous, faithful supporters.
We received donations from 9,000 individuals
during fiscal year 2019.

Donors supported the work of We Raise in a variety of ways including planned gifts, IRA charitable rollover gifts, gifts of stock, memoriam/honorariums, Thrivent Choice Dollars, and Amazon Smile. Our volunteers helped us make thousands of thank you calls and write hundreds of thank you notes.

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GRANTEE HIGHLIGHTS

We’re pleased to highlight four We Raise partners who, as individuals and organizations, are living up to expectations and using their gifts to move their participants and their organizations forward.

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Saint Louis University Prison Education Program

Saint Louis University, Saint Louis, Mo.

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The Saint Louis University Prison Education Program (SLU) provides access to high-quality liberal arts education for people who are incarcerated and empowers them to develop their intellect, rise above their circumstances, engage with thought leaders and educators, and improve their prison community. The program brings workshops and speaker series events to the Federal Corrections Institute in Greenville, Ill., and the Eastern Reception, Diagnostic, and Correctional Center in Bonne Terre, Mo, and gives the gifts of purpose and intellectual exploration to a population often discarded and forgotten.

Statistics show access to higher education in prison can reduce the rate of recidivism from 65% (national average) to 15% (national average with an associate degree). But that’s not the only benefit.

“Our non-credit program helps participants who want to attend college, but it also addresses the human need to engage in activities that counteract the isolation and oppressiveness of prison,” notes Prison Education Program Co-Founder and Coordinator Devin Johnston. “Workshops and speaker events also enable participants to engage with each other in positive ways—an experience that is central to any community.”

The Prison Education Program brings the arts and humanities to the facilities through four annual workshops with 20 participants each and 22 Inside Out Speaker Series events. The GrantsPlus Grant from We Raise in 2018 is enabling SLU to double noncredit programming by 2020, increasing participation to approximately 2,500 people.

One graduate of SLU’s associate of arts degree program experienced the gift of education for the first time during his incarceration.

“Education exposes you to a world that transcends your physical and/or social boundaries,” he said. “Thanks to SLU’s Prison Education Program, I have a freedom that supersedes my prison sentence.”

Saint Louis University Prison Education Program

Saint Louis University, Saint Louis, Mo.

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The Saint Louis University Prison Education Program (SLU) provides access to high-quality liberal arts education for people who are incarcerated and empowers them to develop their intellect, rise above their circumstances, engage with thought leaders and educators, and improve their prison community. The program brings workshops and speaker series events to the Federal Corrections Institute in Greenville, Ill., and the Eastern Reception, Diagnostic, and Correctional Center in Bonne Terre, Mo, and gives the gifts of purpose and intellectual exploration to a population often discarded and forgotten.

Statistics show access to higher education in prison can reduce the rate of recidivism from 65% (national average) to 15% (national average with an associate degree). But that’s not the only benefit.

“Our non-credit program helps participants who want to attend college, but it also addresses the human need to engage in activities that counteract the isolation and oppressiveness of prison,” notes Prison Education Program Co-Founder and Coordinator Devin Johnston. “Workshops and speaker events also enable participants to engage with each other in positive ways—an experience that is central to any community.”

The Prison Education Program brings the arts and humanities to the facilities through four annual workshops with 20 participants each and 22 Inside Out Speaker Series events. The GrantsPlus Grant from We Raise in 2018 is enabling SLU to double noncredit programming by 2020, increasing participation to approximately 2,500 people.

One graduate of SLU’s associate of arts degree program experienced the gift of education for the first time during his incarceration.

“Education exposes you to a world that transcends your physical and/or social boundaries,” he said. “Thanks to SLU’s Prison Education Program, I have a freedom that supersedes my prison sentence.”

The Field School Incoming Class

The Field School, Oak Park, Ill.

The Field School
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Jeremy Mann, founder and Head of School for The Field School, is a humble leader who doesn’t consider himself to be particularly gifted. However, his leadership inspired a gifted team of people to bring the dream of a Christ-centered, intentionally diverse school to fruition.

The Field School is a classical, multiracial Christian elementary school serving a diverse population both racially and socioeconomically. It is an environment where low-income students can thrive and be valued, learning that they, too, have gifts to share to benefit their families and their community. The goal of the school is to help all students grow intellectually, socially, and spiritually; to deepen their passion for lifelong learning, selfless service, and a desire for lasting relationships within a diverse community.

The Field School has teachers and a mission in place that doesn’t let kids—or families—go unnoticed. One day a good student who acted out occasionally escalated his behavior dramatically. The Dean immediately spent time counseling him and listening to his descriptions of a difficult home life; later, the Dean met with his mother, learned more about her situation, and connected her with help. A few weeks later during chapel service, the student spoke about his feelings. “I know we can’t see God, but I can feel him when I’m at this school,” he said. “I can’t stop thinking how God loves me.”

The school began its first academic year in fall 2017 with pre-kindergarten to first grade students and is on track to expand to more than 380 students by 2027. Your gifts supported the 2019 incoming pre-kindergarten class. Your support helped Mann put his big ideas into action and develop a holistic educational model that brings out the best in children, families, and communities—enabling them to use their gifts for a better world.

The Field School Incoming Class

The Field School, Oak Park, Ill.

The Field School
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Jeremy Mann, founder and Head of School for The Field School, is a humble leader who doesn’t consider himself to be particularly gifted. However, his leadership inspired a gifted team of people to bring the dream of a Christ-centered, intentionally diverse school to fruition.

The Field School is a classical, multiracial Christian elementary school serving a diverse population both racially and socioeconomically. It is an environment where low-income students can thrive and be valued, learning that they, too, have gifts to share to benefit their families and their community. The goal of the school is to help all students grow intellectually, socially, and spiritually; to deepen their passion for lifelong learning, selfless service, and a desire for lasting relationships within a diverse community.

The Field School has teachers and a mission in place that doesn’t let kids—or families—go unnoticed. One day a good student who acted out occasionally escalated his behavior dramatically. The Dean immediately spent time counseling him and listening to his descriptions of a difficult home life; later, the Dean met with his mother, learned more about her situation, and connected her with help. A few weeks later during chapel service, the student spoke about his feelings. “I know we can’t see God, but I can feel him when I’m at this school,” he said. “I can’t stop thinking how God loves me.”

The school began its first academic year in fall 2017 with pre-kindergarten to first grade students and is on track to expand to more than 380 students by 2027. Your gifts supported the 2019 incoming pre-kindergarten class. Your support helped Mann put his big ideas into action and develop a holistic educational model that brings out the best in children, families, and communities—enabling them to use their gifts for a better world.

Partners in Hope

Community Warehouse, Milwaukee, Wis.

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Partners in Hope is a prisoner re-entry program designed address the transition from life behind bars to a life “outside.” Participants attend pre-release training classes that teach life skills, relationship skills, and job skills in order to help them succeed in their neighborhoods and workplaces. The program is a division of Community Warehouse, a non-profit building supply store that employs background-challenged men and women from the city of Milwaukee.

Nick Ringger, Community Warehouse CEO, notes that Partners in Hope engages with one of the most vulnerable populations in America, the formerly incarcerated, because they believe that all people are created in God’s image and infinitely valuable.

“Our men and women not only have a chance at surviving but truly thriving,” he says.

The program is unique in many ways, including the length of commitment to participants: 18 months of intentional mentoring, training, and support. The three-year GrantsPlus Grant from We Raise is expanding Partners in Hope’s ability to assist participants in leaving behind the decisions that led them to prison and overcoming barriers to community reintegration.

“Without Partners in Hope, I would basically be doing the same thing I was doing—just letting life go by,” says Kerry Gates, program participant. “They put me back in the workforce and gave me the knowledge that I needed. It was good for me. My long-term dream is to be comfortable, financially stable, and support my kids.”

Thanks to volunteers like Ryan Austin, an FBI Special Agent out of Milwaukee, Gates has the support he needs to attain his dream. Austin is one of a team of law enforcement personnel involved in the training and mentoring of individuals before and after their release. It’s a countercultural approach that’s life-transforming for both parties.

“I have a desire to work with people who are coming out of prison and I feel like law enforcement in general has a responsibility to do that,” Austin says. “We should be able to meet them on the other end and keep them from reoffending with the knowledge that someone consistently believes in them.”

Partners in Hope

Community Warehouse, Milwaukee, Wis.

community-warehouse_300sq
rom-12_6_blue

Partners in Hope is a prisoner re-entry program designed address the transition from life behind bars to a life “outside.” Participants attend pre-release training classes that teach life skills, relationship skills, and job skills in order to help them succeed in their neighborhoods and workplaces. The program is a division of Community Warehouse, a non-profit building supply store that employs background-challenged men and women from the city of Milwaukee.

Nick Ringger, Community Warehouse CEO, notes that Partners in Hope engages with one of the most vulnerable populations in America, the formerly incarcerated, because they believe that all people are created in God’s image and infinitely valuable.

“Our men and women not only have a chance at surviving but truly thriving,” he says.

The program is unique in many ways, including the length of commitment to participants: 18 months of intentional mentoring, training, and support. The three-year GrantsPlus Grant from We Raise is expanding Partners in Hope’s ability to assist participants in leaving behind the decisions that led them to prison and overcoming barriers to community reintegration.

“Without Partners in Hope, I would basically be doing the same thing I was doing—just letting life go by,” says Kerry Gates, program participant. “They put me back in the workforce and gave me the knowledge that I needed. It was good for me. My long-term dream is to be comfortable, financially stable, and support my kids.”

Thanks to volunteers like Ryan Austin, an FBI Special Agent out of Milwaukee, Gates has the support he needs to attain his dream. Austin is one of a team of law enforcement personnel involved in the training and mentoring of individuals before and after their release. It’s a countercultural approach that’s life-transforming for both parties.

“I have a desire to work with people who are coming out of prison and I feel like law enforcement in general has a responsibility to do that,” Austin says. “We should be able to meet them on the other end and keep them from reoffending with the knowledge that someone consistently believes in them.”

Restore Jobs

Restore Merced, Merced, Calif.

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Before his involvement in Restore Merced, Adam was an addict who, in his own words, “terrorized Merced with his destruction.” He now expects much more from himself.

“God has blessed me with this job opportunity…it’s been a spiritual awakening that I needed change in my life, that I needed to do something better for myself and my kids,” he says.

Restore Merced is a community development effort focused on creating opportunities for low-to-moderate income residents in Merced, Calif., to move toward spiritual, social, and economic flourishing. Restore Jobs is a holistic program of Restore Merced that provides work experience, education, counseling, and long-term placement. In 2018, We Raise awarded Matt St. Pierre, co-founder and executive director of Restore Merced, a two-year Emerging Leader Grant, which includes not only funding for the program, but also $5,000 for leadership development.

St. Pierre understands that a job is so much more than a way to earn money—it’s framework to personal dignity and a sense of community. And restoration of dignity for marginalized people is what drives him to do what he does. “As we got to know our neighborhood and our community in Merced, work and work opportunities were a concern that people would bring up again and again,” St. Pierre says. “We thought we could be the connection point to try to create a pathway into those opportunities for meaningful work.”

For St. Pierre, the grant and leadership development support has been gift that keeps on giving. “The career coach has been really helpful…it’s been a great thing for me to have someone who’s got a lot of experience in the not-for-profit world to get helpful feedback and ideas,” he says.

Adam appreciates what he’s been given and is already giving back. According to St. Pierre, Adam is an ambassador for the program wherever he goes, providing testimonials in public forums and acting as a liaison between Restore Merced and his community.

“I would like to help the next recovering addict or the next suffering human being out there looking for work,” Adam says. “I’d like to give back what Matt has given me.”

Restore Jobs

Restore Merced, Merced, Calif.

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Before his involvement in Restore Merced, Adam was an addict who, in his own words, “terrorized Merced with his destruction.” He now expects much more from himself.

“God has blessed me with this job opportunity…it’s been a spiritual awakening that I needed change in my life, that I needed to do something better for myself and my kids,” he says.

Restore Merced is a community development effort focused on creating opportunities for low-to-moderate income residents in Merced, Calif., to move toward spiritual, social, and economic flourishing. Restore Jobs is a holistic program of Restore Merced that provides work experience, education, counseling, and long-term placement. In 2018, We Raise awarded Matt St. Pierre, co-founder and executive director of Restore Merced, a two-year Emerging Leader Grant, which includes not only funding for the program, but also $5,000 for leadership development.

St. Pierre understands that a job is so much more than a way to earn money—it’s framework to personal dignity and a sense of community. And restoration of dignity for marginalized people is what drives him to do what he does. “As we got to know our neighborhood and our community in Merced, work and work opportunities were a concern that people would bring up again and again,” St. Pierre says. “We thought we could be the connection point to try to create a pathway into those opportunities for meaningful work.”

For St. Pierre, the grant and leadership development support has been gift that keeps on giving. “The career coach has been really helpful…it’s been a great thing for me to have someone who’s got a lot of experience in the not-for-profit world to get helpful feedback and ideas,” he says.

Adam appreciates what he’s been given and is already giving back. According to St. Pierre, Adam is an ambassador for the program wherever he goes, providing testimonials in public forums and acting as a liaison between Restore Merced and his community.

“I would like to help the next recovering addict or the next suffering human being out there looking for work,” Adam says. “I’d like to give back what Matt has given me.”

2018 RICHARD E. HERMAN LEADERSHIP AWARD

Ms. Olivia Ojeda

The Leadership Award recognizes the commitment and service of one leader interrupting the cycles of poverty, violence, and inequality in the United States, whether through their professional work or as a volunteer. The Leadership Award was established in honor of Dr. Richard Herman, We Raise Foundation’s fourth president (2006-2015), a passionate supporter and encourager of young adult Christian leaders.

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The 2018 Leadership Award honoree, Ms. Olivia Ojeda, is a Youth Re-Entry Case Manager for Straight Ahead Ministries, Worcester, Mass. After spending most of her teen years locked up in juvenile detention centers, Ojeda brings both experience and passion to her work with girls in and coming out of juvenile detention.

Working with girls in lockup, sometimes in the same juvenile detention centers where she was once locked up, Ojeda brings the redeeming message of the Gospel to offer juvenile offenders an opportunity for a new direction and a new life. After they are released and return to their communities, Ojeda continues to work one-on-one with the girls, not only to grow in their faith, but also to build their new lives through assistance with housing, education, employment, and restoring broken relationships.

Ojeda established Breaking Bread, a community service program that gives formerly incarcerated youth the opportunity to build relationships with and support neighbors struggling with poverty and homelessness in their community by preparing and serving healthy meals, and distributing seasonal clothing, hygiene products, and other essentials.

I am excited about the growth in leadership opportunities this award provides for me in the work I do. Receiving this award signifies to me how God is able to transform and use a broken life and put it into a place of leadership. It validates that I am walking in the purpose He had for me before I was born.” -Ms. Olivia Ojeda

THANK YOU!

We are grateful to our donors and stakeholders that they do not store up their gifts on earth but freely give them to move closer to the vision of peace and equity we all share. We Raise strives to meet donors’ expectations that we use their financial support with careful discernment and for the good of all humanity.

As seen in these highlighted projects, We Raise seeks to align with partners who apply their gifts to lift up their communities and the people in them. Because of your support, We Raise grants have lasting ramifications for projects, leaders, communities, and program participants.

Thank you.

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FY2019 FINANCIALS

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Program Expense is comprised of: Grants and Projects ($893,474), Program Education ($854,056), and Program Support ($483,429).

Total Net Assets at 6/30/19 were $10,914,000.

Note: Net Transfers from Investment Portfolio for the year ended June 30, 2019 includes continued investment for rebranding and new digital investment for We Raise Foundation.

We Raise Foundation does not accept any government funding.

View our audit report

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Fiscal Year 2019

Mrs. Angela Dejene
Dejene Communications, LLC, Minneapolis, Minn.

Rev. Jon Diefenthaler
President Emeritus, Southeastern District, The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod, Columbia, Md.

Mr. Mark Duesenberg
Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary, Ferro Corporation, Rocky River, Ohio

Rev. Paul Erickson
Bishop, Greater Milwaukee Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Milwaukee, Wis.

Mr. James Handrich
Former Lutheran Educator and Former Headmaster, Hong Kong International School, Naples, Fla.

Mr. Rick Hein
President and CEO, Miramar Bobcat, Inc., San Diego, Calif. (Chair)

Mrs. Gretchen Jameson
Senior Vice President, Strategy and University Affairs, Concordia University, Mequon, Wis.

Mr. Gregory Jordan
Senior Vice President and Senior Managing Director, Foundation & Institutional Advisors, Northern Trust, Chicago, Ill.

Dr. Ciuinal Lewis
President and CEO, Specialized Assistance Services, Inc., Chicago, Ill.

Mr. Darron Lowe
Vice President, Wells Fargo Consumer Credit Solutions, O’Fallon, Ill.

Mrs. Monique Nunes
Director of Recruitment and University Relations, Martin Luther School, Bronxville, N.Y. (Secretary)

Mr. Andrew Steele
Assistant Vice President for Advancement and Director of Campaigns, Wittenberg University, Springfield, Ohio; Founder, Bloom Africa, Lesotho, Africa (Vice Chair)

Rev. Bruce Strade
Former Executive Director, Northwest Parish Nurse Ministries, Portland, Ore.

Ms. Anne Wenzel
President and Executive Director, Western Colorado Community Foundation, Palisade, Colo.

Mr. Carson Williams
Acquisition Finance, SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, Atlanta, Ga.

CURRENT STAFF

Paul Miles
President and CEO

Heather Klein Olson
Vice President for Advancement

Ronda Bischoff
Director of Finance

Meredith Capocci
Senior Accountant

Matt Croll
Director of Finance

Rebecca Davis
Marketing Communications Coordinator

Eric Hawley
Assistant Director of Programs

Abigail Miller
Interim Director of Digital Strategy

Joanne Otte
Director of Programs

Anne Schoenherr
Director of Communications

Jennifer Sievers
Manager of Advancement Services

Tanya Thomas
Director of Operations