Foundation given $1 million
Fund will focus on making home ownership reality
By Renae Bauer
The Catholic Foundation of the Green Bay Diocese has received a
$1 million gift for endowment from Darlene and Donald Long Sr. of
Green Bay and their children to find ways to make a long-term
impact on low-income housing in Brown County.
The gift will fund a study of issues related to low-income
housing and how to help people -- regardless of faith -- find
affordable housing or to attain home ownership.
Long, a Green Bay business leader and president of the Catholic
Foundation, at an April 15 session explained to a group of nearly
150 community members why he wants to help poor people find
solutions to their housing problems.
"In a country as rich as ours, no one should experience
homelessness," Long said. "We have a number of people and
organizations who assist people in finding temporary or low-income
housing, but I thoroughly believe that if everybody who is
committed to this cause comes together, we can assess our current
programs, learn where the gaps in care are, and then launch new,
permanent solutions. I want to see homelessness significantly
reduced and home ownership increased."
Pleased with gift
Cindi Brawner, executive director of the Catholic Foundation,
said she is pleased the Long family has made such a generous gift
to the Catholic Foundation and the community as a whole.
"The gift will help the community organize successfully around
the issues of homelessness, affordable housing and the other
problems that keep people from affordable home ownership," she
The gift will be used to establish the Affordable Housing
Institute (AHI) to assess homelessness and the need for low-income
housing and home ownership in Brown County.
"This assessment will include the gathering and assessing of
data about current housing options and the people in need," said
Michael Troyer of Strategic Management Associates of Green Bay,
which has been consulting with the AHI Leadership Task Force.
Here are some of its initial findings:
Between 953 and 2,268 people are homeless in Brown County in any given year.
More than 8,800 households in Brown County pay more than 30% of
their income for rent, compared to a benchmark of 25%.
The number of homes in Brown County valued at under $100,000 is
declining. In 1990, about 90% fell into this category; in 2000,
only 36% did.
AHI will use the data to develop a "roadmap" to make sure it
always focuses on the housing issue. Additionally, the planning
process will seek to engage the community in creating a
"comprehensive system of care," Troyer said. These first two phases
are expected to be completed in four to six months.
Members of the AHI Leadership Task Force include three members
of the Long family -- Sue (Long) Olmsted, Cheri Long and Lori
(Long) Hanus. Other members are Ken Strmiska and Martha Ahrendt of
the Greater Green Bay Community Foundation; Sheri Prosser,
Cornerstone Foundation; Karen Johnston, Catholic Charities of the
Diocese of Green Bay; and Brawner.
An Ad Hoc Needs Assessment Advisory Group has been formed. Its
members are Linda Doro, Brown County Human Services Department;
Holly Hebel, NEW Community Shelter; Martha Ahrendt, Greater Green
Bay Community Foundation; Mitch Manthey, Ecumenical Partnership for
Housing; Noel Halverson, Neighborhood Housing Services of Green
Bay; Kathy McMurray and Rolfe White, NEW Community Shelter;
Rosemary Jonas, Integrated Community Services; and Lora Warner,
Planning and Evaluation Inc.
Sue Olmsted, daughter of Darlene and Donald Long and the
family's representative in the effort, stressed that AHI is in its
infancy and will be all the more successful when others get
"There are many stops along this journey from homelessness to
home ownership," said Olmsted. "I would encourage others who have
the means and a similar vision to follow their heart and invest in
improving lives and our community as a whole."
The Catholic Foundation of the Diocese of Green Bay was
established in 1997 as a way for Catholics to financially support
community causes throughout the diocese, which encompasses 16
counties in northeastern Wisconsin.
Much of the Foundation's efforts benefit educational efforts,
social services and ministry. The Catholic Foundation is a separate
501(c)3 human services organization managed by a board of directors
of business and professional volunteers from across the