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25 of 50: Porchlight

How can the remedies to homelessness become effective and lasting solutions? Answering that question is at the core of Porchlight’s mission. The organization combats homelessness in Dane County through a robust strategy of community collaboration, along with an organizational culture of respect that focuses on helping those in need not only gain assistance but also acquire the kind of skills and opportunities needed for self-determination.

Porchlight offers innovative approaches to providing vital support like . . .

  • Emergency shelter
  • Food assistance
  • Employment services
  • Counseling for mental health needs
  • Affordable transitional housing

Services such as these are provided through a carefully designed program intended to help people become independent and begin a path toward housing and employment that are permanent.  The organization has even established Porchlight Products, an effort that involves partnering with local farmers and other businesses. Porchlight Products provides valuable job-skill training for participants. It also leads to a revenue-producing line of food products and, perhaps most important of all, gives an often marginalized group of people a chance to accomplish goals and experience a sense of purpose.

Finding New and Exciting Ways to Solve an Ongoing Problem

Porchlight is continually looking for more ways to further its mission in the community. It’s the kind of organization that M3 admires and celebrates, both for the good work it does as well as the indefatigable spirit of its staff.

M3’s Brian Donarski, who serves on Porchlight’s board of directors, says that Porchlight’s philosophy of “A helping hand, not a handout” is what makes the organization so important. “When we contribute to Porchlight, I know we’re helping to solve the problem of homelessness through education and opportunity, not just providing a temporary fix.”

Other M3 staff that volunteer their time to Porchlight include Judy Zimmer and Abigail Nadler. For them, the organization is important because homelessness doesn’t always just happen because of bad choices. “We have to remember that people, especially kids, are not all given the same opportunities. Many are often doing the best they can with what they have. And sometimes that’s just not enough,” says Abigail.

Porchlight is proud to partner with M3 Insurance. They provide excellent service to us as a customer and boldly stand behind our mission. The leadership at M3 strongly supports and encourages all employees to make a difference in our community through financial giving, direct volunteering, and sharing skills and expertise on the boards of local non-profits. Porchlight and M3 make an incredible team!

— Karla Thennes
Executive Director | Porchlight

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