All Blog Entries by Samantha Haas

Found 119 blog entries published by Samantha Haas.

NAMI Wisconsin is the state affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, which has 28 local affiliates across Wisconsin who serve their communities. The local NAMI affiliates offer support groups, resources, and classes to help people living with a mental illness, family, friends, and providers, whose goals are to improve the quality of life and care of those navigating the mental health system.

Each year millions of Americans face the reality of living with a mental illness. During the month of May, NAMI Wisconsin joins the national movement to raise awareness about mental health right here in our Wisconsin communities. Each year the nonprofit fights stigma, provides support, educates the public, and advocates for policies that support

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What began in 2006 as a couple’s dream to feed 100 families a week on Madison’s north side has grown tenfold as the need to provide healthy food access has also increased over the last 15 years. With a vision to achieve a fully nourished community, The River Food Pantry is now South Central Wisconsin’s busiest food pantry and serves more than 1,000 families each week.  

Much like the body of water, The River is no stranger to adapting to change and charting a new course when faced with obstacles, especially those intensified by the pandemic. The River distributed 2.4 million pounds of food to less than 5,000 households in 2019, compared to a record 3.7 million pounds of food to over 6,000 households in 2020. Communications Manager Becca Carpenter

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It’s no secret that many real estate agents are on call days, nights, weekends -- sometimes even while on vacation -- especially when the market is hot. 

That’s why it’s so important for agents to find a self-care routine and get in a groove that works best for them so they can best serve their clients and themselves, too.  

For Chris Venden, early mornings are for quiet, calm, and quality time with her spouse and dog. Even if she’s up late writing offers, Chris is an early riser and time blocks a couple of hours to prepare her schedule and set the tone for a positive, productive day.

As soon as Chris is awake she’ll do a quick check of her emails and texts, and if nothing is urgent she’ll ease into her morning routine at her countryside

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The snow hasn’t all melted, but the spring season feels well underway for many community supported agriculture (CSA) farms. That’s because many farmers who are endorsed by the FairShare CSA Coalition have already sold out of their spring and summer shares of produce (either certified organic or in transition to organic certification). 

In the CSA model, purchasing a "share" in advance of the growing seasons helps to cover some of the farm operating costs, so members are directly supporting the farmers who grow their food. Consumers also seem to be eyeing up fall and winter holiday shares already, too. So if you’ve been on the fence about joining a CSA for the first time or selecting a new farm this year, best to snap to it. FairShare, a Madison-based

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In our November nonprofit spotlight, we highlighted the beautiful and thought-provoking work of Madison artist Lilada Gee, who created several murals downtown and launched the Defending Black Girlhood podcast in 2020. You can view photos and articles about her State Street artwork in the pdf of this book, "Let's Talk About It," published by American Family Insurance. 

We are thrilled to share that Lilada joined State Rep. Shelia Stubbs and Shyra Adams in receiving the 2021 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Humanitarian Award, presented to those who have demonstrated incredible leadership and volunteerism in the Madison area and reflect the values, beliefs, and actions of Martin Luther King, Jr. Lilada said in her January 18th acceptance speech (around

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It may seem unusual for an organization to ultimately wish it didn’t have to exist. But for many local groups associated with the Homeless Services Consortium of Dane County, the issue of homelessness unfortunately isn’t going away anytime soon. And as long as these groups continue to receive funding and support for their needed services, neither are they -- especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic that is causing the housing gap to widen further. 

Among them is The Road Home Dane County, the only agency in the county that exclusively serves homeless families with children, which believes that every child deserves a home. The nonprofit provides case management services to help these families achieve self-determined goals and affordable, stable

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In one way or another, we each live in a bubble. And as we encounter new experiences, that bubble may widen so we are able to see beyond our own viewpoint. Like many others in my mostly white sphere, we were seeing the world through rose-colored glasses...until 2020. 

"The death of George Floyd woke more people up who weren't tuned into the atrocities that the black community has been enduring for centuries," said Vanessa McDowell, CEO of YWCA Madison. "We at YWCA Madison are glad people are starting to wake up and learn about racial injustice and want to do something about it, but quite frankly, it is about time."

Vanessa is a Madison native and the first Black woman to lead the 111-year-old nonprofit, which addresses challenging issues such as

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After years of in-person and hands-on staging with Debbie Lea of Showcase Home Stagers, our team quickly adjusted to doing business virtually because of the pandemic in order to prioritize everyone’s safety. 

Because of Debbie’s incredible eye for design -- even through video chats and emailed photographs -- and close collaboration with our nimble agents and marketing staff, our sellers continue to reap the benefits of home staging services (free of charge as part of our complete marketing plan). 

In a previous post we shared what sellers can expect during a virtual staging consultation with Debbie. As a follow up to that blog, Debbie and agents Ann Raschein, Maureen Moran, and Shelley Lazzareschi reflect on the importance of making a great first

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When we put out a call in our last newsletter and blog for recommendations of another local nonprofit to spotlight, we were pleased that the word traveled quickly in our networks and beyond. Several people connected us with the incredible work of JustDane, whose mission is to help transform individual lives and social systems to create a just and equitable community. 

The name “JustDane” was at first unfamiliar to me, and I soon learned why. The nearly 50-year-old faith-rooted nonprofit, originally named Madison-area Urban Ministry (MUM), recently emerged from a rebranding effort this summer. A phoenix with a north star has been selected as JustDane’s new logo to better reflect its inspiring and hopeful vision of a community where everyone can succeed,

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Earlier this summer, some members of our team visited State Street to view the temporary Downtown Street Art and Mural Project by local artists -- including those who have been affected by racial injustice and violence. Of the 100 or so murals that covered storefront windows and sides of buildings, we started to notice a distinctive style featuring the silhouette of Black girls’ faces with pops of bright colors and words of affirmation among a few of the displays. Also featured on the beautiful artwork near Goodman’s Jewelers and the Overture Center for the Arts were the hashtag #DefendingBlackGirlhood and Instagram handle @LiladasArt. 

These pieces of art were created by Lilada Gee, a lifelong Madison resident who has rediscovered the healing

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