Women's Community Still Short $1M For New Shelter

By: Liz Hayes Email
By: Liz Hayes Email

The Women's Community is pushing area businesses, organizations, and residents to help reach its fundraising goal, which is short $1 million, to build a new shelter in Wausau.

Organizers need at least 90 percent of its $4 million goal before it can break ground at its new location on the corner of Hilltop and 32nd Ave, and they're already eight months behind.

Two years ago the shelter and counseling center for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, began a capital fundraising campaign, to build a new safe haven for families fleeing violent homes.

"We are continuing to strive. We see donations come in daily, albeit some small to some of substantial size," said Brian Gumness, co-chair of the campaign.

He addressed the media during a news conference Tuesday morning.

Hundreds of individuals, groups, churches and businesses have already donated, showing their support of victims of domestic abuse and sexual assault.

"This is a community-wide project. This has no boundaries by city, it has no boundaries actually by county. We have folks who have come from other counties that have been in dire straights and need help, and have gotten it here," said Ed Gale, a city alderman.

Jane Graham Jennings, The Women's Community's executive director, is confident the community can reach its goal.

"We can do this as a community. This is a community endeavor," she said.

The current shelter has limited space and security issues, and isn't meeting the needs of all of its clients.

But the new facility will be much bigger, allow for more clients to stay there at once, have a safe parking lot, and private rooms for families.

The new facility will also be a green one.

"It is important to us as people who are not only concerned about our home environments, but our world environment," Graham Jennings said.

Organizers hope they can reach their goal by this fall, so they can start construction immediately after.

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