Social Action Funds

Community Shares of Wisconsin is the nation’s oldest social action fund, having been established in Madison in 1971.

What are social action funds? They are nonprofit umbrella organizations that help raise money for other nonprofits. In our case, we have more than 60 member groups all working at the grassroots level, helping create change that benefits our communities.

The CSW member groups do advocacy work to try to address the root causes of social problems. Our groups know that sometimes substantial change simply can’t happen by working within society’s existing framework. They realize that to achieve justice, they need to alter the framework itself.

For example, our member groups work to:

  • Prevent homelessness
  • Prevent discrimination based on race or sexual orientation
  • Prevent families’ slide into poverty
  • Advocate for environmental protections

We provide much more funding to our groups. We also offer our members:

  • Chances to collaborate (see Caryl Terrell’s comments on this)
  • Trainings on many topics
  • 1:1 consultations with experts in fields like finance, accounting, leadership, and management

Member groups seem pleased at what we offer them, too.  Kristen Petroshius from Gay Straight Alliance for Safe Schools (GSAFE) said:

I went to one of the trainings and have signed up for (almost) all of the upcoming ones. I just wanted to say this is a great perk to membership and makes it all click for me.