December 31, 2018 @ 12:00am

First Weber Foundation Impacting the Lives of Wisconsin Veterans in Need Through Partnership with KWW/CF and Heat and Housing for Heroes

United States’ military Veterans are among the least likely to come forward to ask for help in times of trouble, even when they find themselves facing life threatening situations. Pride is often the principle barrier for Veterans in receiving this much needed assistance. Recognizing this, Services, Inc. and the Keep Wisconsin Warm/Cool Fund launched its statewide Heat and Housing for Heroes Campaign a few years ago.

The First Weber Foundation has been a big supporter of the KWWCF/Heat and Housing for Heroes initiative since the very beginning. Jim Imhoff, chairman of the First Weber Foundation, is a Veteran himself and was very instrumental at the start of this campaign that is uniquely designed to avert life threatening energy related emergencies by helping struggling veterans keep their heat and power on while also providing adequate resource connections with other state, county and veteran services for optimal, long-term household stability.

“I know that it can sometimes be hard to find these Veterans that need help because they are so proud that they won’t ask. But that’s also why Heat for Heroes is so important and has had our support,” Imhoff says. “When this idea first came up, and we found out what it was all about, we were on board right away. How could we not be involved in a program like this?

“They have helped so many hundreds of Veterans. It’s amazing,” he adds. “You think about how many people this will help. And it’s not just the veterans but it is their families and kids.”

KWWCF/Heat and Housing for Heroes helps Veterans, who through no fault of their own, are facing an energy-related emergency, where other available resources are delayed, inadequate, or unavailable.

KWWCF/Heat and Housing for Heroes is just one of the many organizations that the First Weber Foundation supports. First Weber agents, managers, and staff are uniquely committed to bettering the lives of people and the communities throughout Wisconsin through First Weber Foundation, Inc. Since 2006, the First Weber Foundation has contributed over $2.5 million benefiting over 800 eligible non-profits.

“This is a self-funded foundation. Our agents and our managers and our staff contribute to it on a regular basis. Over 90 percent of our agents, for example, contribute something off every closing. We have managers contributing out of their salary. And the rest of the staff contributes out of their salary,” explains Imhoff. “First Weber also contributes a significant portion. What they have done is take the money that they used to budget in the community and they put that in the foundation now. “

The First Weber Foundation, through their processes, ends up giving needed money to various charities. In the by-laws of the foundation, it says that the First Weber Foundation can give money directly to any charity that is housing-related.

“So we’ve participated in contributing to the building of many Habitat for Humanity houses and we’ve also contributed to many shelters - women’s shelters, children’s shelters, things like that,” Imhoff says. “We encourage every office that we have to get involved in at least one or two charities around the state. So, this isn’t just Madison. We have 77 offices around the state and they get involved. “

The different offices raise money and the First Weber Foundation matches those funds – up to $2,500. How did First Weber Foundation get involved with Keep Wisconsin Warm/Cool Fund and Heat and Housing for Heroes?

“We got involved with Keep Wisconsin Warm/Cool Fund because it is a housing issue,” Imhoff says. “The minute Tim Bruer came to see me, I took it to the foundation and they approved the annual contribution of $5,000.

“It’s a basic need issue that all relates to shelter … that what it really is,” he adds. “When Keep Wisconsin Warm/Cool Fund was presented to the board of directors, it took maybe 15 seconds for them to approve it. And since then, it gets re-approved every year in about 5 seconds.”

On top of the money that First Weber Foundation commits to Keep Wisconsin Warm/Cool Fund and Heat and Housing for Heroes, they also commit money and staff to the organizations’ special events, especially the annual golf outing.

“We love what they do and we love the organization,” Imhoff says. “We’re looking forward to working with them in the future.”

“With all the special needs in the community and worthwhile charities we feel privileged that we are considered a priority in their annual giving. When the Keep Wisconsin Warm/Cool Fund and Heat and Housing for Heroes crisis campaigns were both envisioned, Jim, along with a handful of other community leaders, were the first to step in and give of themselves.

Clearly, today, we would not have ever experienced the level of success or been able to provide the lifeline for literally thousands of households struggling annually to stay in their homes without Jim and the First Weber agents who have made all of this possible,” said Tim Bruer, Energy Services, Inc. Executive Director and Keep Wisconsin Warm/Cool Fund and Heat and Housing for Heroes Founder.

The First Weber Foundation banner hanging proudly at the 17th Annual KWW/CF Charity Golf Classic at Geneva National in Lake Geneva, WI this past August.



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