Community Shares of Wisconsin is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, and now would be a good time to give it your support.

Originally established as the Madison Sustaining Fund in 1971, the first social justice fund in the nation, it initially included seven community-based organizations and now has grown into an organization that helps support 70 nonprofits that work for social and environmental justice.

Its original founders in 1971 included antiwar activists and UW students who came together to raise bail money for protesters during the height of the UW demonstrations against the war. That evolved into building a fund that would be self-supporting and able to give financial support to nonprofits with specific social and environmental justice goals.

Community Shares’ aim is to build the social justice movement where charitable giving isn’t just for the wealthy. By connecting with as many individual donors as possible, in Community Shares’ view, the organization can be democratized and individual contributions can add up make a difference.

While Community Shares can use your support year-round, it is at the end of the year that it conducts its annual workplace giving fund drive. Several Madison area businesses include Community Shares in their payroll deduction options and encourage employees to make regular gifts to Community Shares. We endorse that effort.

You can help by going to, where complete information on how to get involved is available.

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