A social media campaign is underway aimed at raising support for the Bay View Community Center as it faces increased expenses and declines in funding. The goal of the online fundraising campaign is to raise $20,000, which organizers say will allow the center to maintain its current programming. The community center runs a food pantry that serves about 200 individuals a month, and provides programs related to family and parenting, youth, recreation and life skills.
“We provide programs and services that do three things: Our mission is to help individuals grow and develop, to provide support, and to strengthen families,” said Linda Nieft, president and chief executive officer of Bay View Community Center.
Nieft said the center recently needed to update its heating and air conditioning system, which has put an increased strain on its finances.
The center, which does not receive government funding, typically relies on letter campaigns, entertainment book sales and fees for some programs as its main sources of revenue. It also receives support from United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County. The social media campaign, Nieft said, is aimed at reaching a new audience that might not have given to the community center in the past. The center has been an independent organization since 1980. It operated out of the Avalon Theater building on Kinnickinnic Avenue until moving into its current building in 1989. Nieft said the need for the center’s services has ebbed and flowed over the years. And while conditions have improved since the 2009 recession, she said, the center’s services remain crucial for hundreds of community members. “As the economy changes and gets better or worse, we always try to meet the need,” she said. “Right now we’re in a time when, while everybody is saying economic indicators indicate that the economy is improving, we haven’t really seen that much of it at the level that we deal with.”