Nonprofit people

Tri-Adathon, a joint venture between Milwaukee-based Catral Doyle creative, the Welke Group and Elm Grove-based Clear Verve Marketing, selected 21 nonprofit organizations to receive 24 hours of free pro bono marketing support. The services provided varied from marketing communications, strategic planning, web site design, radio scripting, graphic design, and media relations planning. “Working together on these projects really opens up the things we can do for people,” said Christina Steder, owner of Clear Verve Marketing. “It allows me to take a project that maybe my firm could only do half of, and bring in these other people to finish it because that is their specialty.”
According to Steder, the event was well received, and is something the firms plan to do on an annual basis. The Wisconsin Early Childhood Association was one of the organizations selected for Tri-Adathon.

Nonprofit Name: Wisconsin Early Childhood Association, Milwaukee

Nonprofit Address: 1556 N. Farwell Ave., Milwaukee 53202


Leadership: Ruth Schmidt, executive director. Jeanette Paulson, director of workforce initiatives.

Mission of the organization: “The mission of Wisconsin Early Childhood Association is to build a strong foundation for a lifetime of learning for Wisconsin’s young children. Through the strength, leadership, and dedication of our members, WECA promotes excellence in early education programs, supports professionalism among early childhood educators, and advocates at the state and national level for a greater public investment in our future. WECA works to ensure that every young child in Wisconsin has the best, highest quality early learning experiences by supporting adults who care for and educate them.”

Annual volunteer/fundraising event: “Goodnight Moon event held in February”
What makes your organization unique? “While there are several organizations that promote high-quality early education programs for young children- including us- we focus our efforts on supporting early childhood professionals. By offering scholarships, wage stipends, training opportunities, membership opportunities, and food reimbursements to current providers in the field, we can improve the quality of care for children across the state. We also advocate for providers (and teach them to advocate for themselves) to have improved wages and benefits based on the important work that they do.”

Why did you want to get involved in the Tri-Adathon effort? “Recently, there has been a lot of bad press surrounding early childhood workers in the area because of a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter uncovering a series of child care shares program fraud cases. The state Department of Children & Families, Milwaukee County, and early childhood field in general is under scrutiny. However, our Milwaukee office is making great change through training thousands of early childhood workers in our training events and partnering with HeadStart, the school districts, the Department of Health & Safety, and foster programs. We’d like to shed some light on the important work that we are doing to change the quality of care in Milwaukee and better equip child care teachers with the knowledge, experience, and education that they need. Our Milwaukee office only has two and a half employees and very little budget to reach that huge population in order to change the negative publicity and in general to speak to the broad audiences in the Milwaukee metro area about who we are and what we do.”

What help did you receive from Tri-Adathon? “Tri-Adathon staff created a poster for our organization to distribute to high-quality child care programs in Milwaukee. The poster’s theme “First Steps” describes how high-quality programs can lead children down a path to future success in life and school. Lower quality programs may direct children’s first steps down a different path with more obstacles to overcome. We also received a printing donation from Heritage in Brookfield.”

What are your immediate organizational goals as a result of the Tri-Adathon effort? “We would like to use the poster as a communication piece for high quality programs to hang up in their centers. We hope the posters invite conversation about quality, and invoke pride in the early education profession. We also hope that the poster will help fight the negative energy coming out of the fraud cases. 95 percent of the child care workers in the area are following the rules. This small percentage who is committing great fraud is affecting the entire workforce—one that is already undervalued, undercompensated, and underappreciated. We hope the poster will turn around the conversation about fraud to focus on setting up a system for improved quality within child care programs, with WECA emerging as the leader of the conversation. This would hopefully mean more community awareness and support for our organization.”

Is your organization in search of board members? “Not at this time”

How can business people/the community help your organization? “Donating to our organization, advocating for early childhood professionals and higher-quality care, investing in high-quality early childhood education and in programs that improve quality in the field, and volunteering at a local child care program.”

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