After its most successful fundraising year yet, the Elm Grove Junior Guild donated just more than $40,000 to local organizations that help women and children. The Guild gave final approval to the grants March 4.
Seven organizations received donations of about $5,000, and two received donations of $2,500.
"They are amazing, what they do for our community, so it's like how do you pick just one?" Katie Matola, vice president of grants for the Junior Guild, said.
One organization that will benefit from a $5,000 donation is Best Buddies of Wisconsin, which fosters friendships and employment opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
"Our mission is that people with disabilities are treated equally, and we're giving people with disabilities leadership positions as well, so this really turns into them getting a full time job," said Teri Bromberek, program supervisor for Best Buddies of Wisconsin.
Bromberek said the money would go toward sustaining local chapters at Brookfield East and Brookfield Central high schools, and at Pilgrim Park Middle School.
Down the list from Best Buddies is the the C.A.R.E. Center, run by the nonprofit Family Service of Waukesha, which also will receive $5,000. The center works with children and adolescents who are suspected victims of physical abuse, sexual abuse or neglect. It conducts recorded interviews that can later be used in court, to strengthen the case and reduce the number of times a victim has to repeat their story.
"We try to provide a safe, neutral location for children for the investigation to take place," Program Director Faith Holley-Beal said. "In the past it's been a gamble whether the child would be willing to testify (in court), and sometimes that was a gamble the defense attorney was willing to take. We find that 90 percent of the cases we see end up pleading out because we're getting such solid interviews with these kids."
Holley-Beal said the donation would help the organization continue providing its services without cost to the victims.
Other organizations receiving $5,000 donations are: Safe Babies Healthy Families of Waukesha, Meta House, Davidson Yell and Tell Foundation, College Possible and Centro Legal.
Milwaukee Rescue Mission and Playworks Wisconsin received $2,500 apiece.
The guild raises its money through several fundraisers, including a community auction, and donations from local businesses. One such business is Uptown Motors. Although located in Wauwatosa, much of the ownership family lives in Elm Grove, including General Manager John Pentler.
"It's a great community, a lot of the people do business with us, and it helps them support the causes they care about," Pentler said. "Every company has the obligation to give back to the community that supports them and keeps them in business."
Uptown Motors has been donating since 2009, and this year donated $2,600.
"It's a great organization devoted to the community," Pentler said. "It allows us to give to one charity that then does the due diligence to donate to other charities that do good things for people in need."
Other major sponsors for the Guild this year were Thrivent Financial, Divine Consign and Master Lock.
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