For the last seven years, employees and customers at the Willkomm Companies’ five locations have joined together to raise funds to support two local homeless shelters—HALO of Racine and Shalom Center of Kenosha.
It started in 2010 when Owner Michael Willkomm and Marketing Director Jackie Baugrud sat down and discussed their desire to support the local homeless shelters. “There was a big need in the community and we wanted to keep our efforts local,” Baugrud said. The Willkomm Companies is a family-owned business that has been serving southeastern Wisconsin for three generations.
To facilitate the fundraising, the company created Willkomm Care Cards. Willkomm Care Cards are quarter sheets that were originally sold for one dollar. Today the amount is open ended. “We recently had someone donate $20 in one swoop,” Baugrud said. Locations also put out a jar that encourages people to donate their change, which Baugrud said adds up.
They kick off the campaign four weeks before the company Christmas party. “We pit the profit centers at all of our locations against each other. It is a lot of fun actually,” Baugrud said.
Throughout the four weeks, the company updates employees on fundraising success. Some of their division leaders create their own contest and offer gift cards for the winners. The division that raises the most money gets to celebrate with extra drinks tickets at the party as a reward. “We are so incredibly blessed to have such awesome team members that have embraced this challenge to help our community members in need,” Willkomm said. At the party, the company brings in representatives from the homeless shelters who provide real examples of how the money is used.
In grand total, the Willkomm Companies raised $18,036 for these shelters in 2016. Michael Willkomm along with Co-Owner Jim Willkomm presented Stephanie Martin, community and volunteer programs manager for HALO, and Dr. Lynn Biese, executive director of Shalom Center, each with a $9,018 check. Over the last six years, Willkomm Companies has raised a total of $90,740 that went directly to the two shelters.
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