Family Promise Launches New Chapter to Combat Family Homelessness in York PA

(York, PA) The national non-profit Family Promise announced formation of a new affiliate designed to help combat growing family homelessness in York, Pennsylvania.  The new chapter lead by Chris Hamme aims to reduce the number of homeless families with children by providing emergency short term housing and transitioning families into permanent housing solutions.

Family Promise has received widespread acclaim for its highly effective intervention model which relies predominantly on volunteer support from local faith based communities.  Each affiliate enlists a minimum of thirteen local congregations committed to housing between 3 to 5 families for one week periods at least four times a year.  A centralized day center allows family members to connect with social service providers, seek employment and offers educational assistance to youth.  The organization provides transportation to and from the day center and host congregations.

The national website indicates that 80% of Family Promise constituents are placed in permanent housing within eight weeks.  Due to its reliance on local volunteers Family Promise affiliates effectively mitigate local homelessness without the need for additional capital investment.

The new York affiliate is currently in development and is seeking build support for its programming.  The goal of new affiliates is to become financially self-sustaining within a three year period.

Carmelite Sisters of the Divine Heart of Jesus Announce Ministry of St. Teresa

For over a century the Carmelite Sisters of the Divine Heart of Jesus have served residents of Southeastern Wisconsin.  Today the Sisters announced a new chapter in their ministry, the formation of the Carmelite Ministry of St. Teresa (CMST).  The CMST is a women’s family style residential center offering live in support and programming to adult women with disabilities.  The residential center will offer sixteen apartment style homes, community center, cafeteria and classroom space.  The Formation and Enrichment Center (FEC) will provide programming to residents and the community at large.

Sr. Immaculata, Provincial, says local service providers indicated a substantial gap in services within the disabled community.  Specifically programming on nights and weekends is very limited.  Further there is no housing dedicated to women with special needs in Southeastern Wisconsin.

The Carmelite Sisters of the Divine Heart of Jesus is a religious congregation with headquarters in Europe and Regional Provinces in the United States. The sisters have opened their doors to provide a home for the poor, originally with orphanages that served thousands of individuals in a family-like atmosphere. In more current times they have served other needy populations, such as the sick and elderly, and mothers and children who need services and care.

The Sisters have served the poor in Wauwatosa Wisconsin for more than 100 years. After many years of service to young delinquent boys at the Carmelite Home for Boys in Wauwatosa Wisconsin, the Sisters have closed that Treatment Center. As a response to the changing landscape for affordable living spaces and programs for this needy population, the Sisters are creating a new Ministry to adult women with Developmental Disabilities who are independent and ambulatory.

Waukesha Civic Theatre Announces Magic of Theatre Raffle Winners




(Waukesha, WI) Waukesha Civic Theatre confirmed final official results of the “Magic of Theater Raffle” featuring a grand prize vacation package to Walt Disney World Orlando. The grand prize includes twelve (12) theme park tickets, hotel and airfare voucher. Congratulations to Mr. Dean and Mrs. Bonita Danner our 2019 grand prize winners.

“The annual Magic of Theater raffle proceeds benefit the Academy at Civic Theatre program” explained Rhonda Schmidt. “Our goal is to raise money for the ACT program. ACT currently serves over 1000 students across Southeastern Wisconsin. We are thrilled with the success of this years raffle and pleased to award the Disney vacation to Bonita & Dean Danner.”

In addition to the grand prize, the following additional prize winners were also announced:

  • Mary Beth Esser has won four (4) park hopper passes to Walt Disney World Orlando,

  • Asta Blanchar has won a 90 day membership to the Wisconsin Athletic Club,

  • Missy Holzman has won an autographed Green Bay Packers football,

  • Amanda Sonneman is the lucky winner of a Cooper’s Hawk Wine tasting,

  • Rosemary Crawford has won a Lake Geneva Boat Tour,

  • Kandice Bannville is the sixth prize winner, receiving an Adventure Rock gift certificate,

  • Sara Geuder has won a pair of Florentine Opera tickets,

  • Bill & Marlene Culver are the lucky winners of a pair of Bel Canto Chorus tickets,

  • Kelsey Landry has won two (2) Waukesha Civic Theatre Flex Pack vouchers, and

  • Josh Anders has won a $150.00 ACT Tuition Voucher.

All prizes will be available at the Waukesha Civic Theatre Box Office during regular Box Office hours beginning Monday October 28th. Winners must present a valid photo ID. A completed claim and release form will be required for certain prize winners. Be advised a publicity photo will be taken at prize pick-up.

Waukesha Civic Theatre is one of Wisconsin’s oldest, largest and most successful theater organizations. Since 1957 the Theatre has provided quality entertainment, education and enrichment to nearly 500,000 residents. Now in our 63rd season, Waukesha Civic Theatre is pleased to celebrate the arrival of our new Managing Artistic Director, Rhonda Schmidt. Details about Ms. Schmidt, and the remaining Mainstage schedule for the 63rd season are available on the website.

Waukesha Civic Theatre extends our gratitude to all our volunteers and patrons including: WE Energies, Walmart, Walt Disney World, the Green Bay Packers, Cooper’s Hawk, the Milwaukee Brewers, the Wisconsin Athletic Club, Adventure Rock, Lake Geneva Tours, the Milwaukee Admirals and many other supporters.

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iChoose Foundation Launches Announcing Mission to Inspire Youth

(Tampa, FL) Michael Campo, award winning documentary film producer and director, announced today the launch of the iChoose Foundation.  The foundations mission will be to empower individuals one choice at a time.  Michael’s nearly fifteen years of documentary film experience lead him to begin hosting a series of conversations with remarkable and inspiring individuals he’s met over the years.  The iChoose series which includes Facebook live and instagram broadcasts quickly became an internet hit gaining a cult following across the country.

“I started getting emails and notes from folks all over the country saying ‘hey, I heard that broadcast and I wanted to let you know it really helped me’ so I started thinking how could I organize this to become more effective”, said Campo, “that’s basically how the foundation started.”

Campo says the foundation will continue its live weekly social media broadcasts but also plans to release periodic short films adding depth to the stories of particularly powerful speakers.  The first film #iChooseHOPE is available online.  Michael says he’s got a long list of celebrities and individuals from all around the world ready to share their stories.  He hopes the foundation will be able to collaborate with local and regional non-profits, sharing inspirational stories that can benefit local charities.

Learn more about iChoose by visiting the foundation website here.

South Side Law Offices Open New Madison Branch – Blue Sky Law

(Cudahy, WI) South Side Law Offices announced the opening of a new Madison based practice which will be called “Blue Sky Law Office.”  Located just minutes from the Madison airport, firm Managing Director Mick Ademi says he hopes to offer assistance to new clients throughout the City of Madison.

Symphony Advancement will assist Blue Sky in the development of its new website targeting customers throughout the Madison area.

Blair Elementary School Recommended for WAB Funding

(Waukesha, WI) The Wisconsin Arts Board announced on April 5, 2019 that Waukesha Blair Elementary School has been recommended to receive funding for the creation of a Latino Arts Education after school program. The project must still receive final approval during the State budget process.  If funded the Latino Arts Education program will create a bilingual arts education intervention featuring Latino artists, writers and theater subject matter.

“The impact of Arts Education programming is widely recognized today,” said Symphony Managing Director Jeffrey Robb, “there is a notable gap in services, however when it comes to finding arts education programs specifically suited to a Latino audience.”

Blair hopes that by modeling the highly successful Academy at Civic Theatre (ACT) program offered by Waukesha Civic Theatre, the new Latino Arts project will attract and engage bilingual and Spanish speaking students.  The project is a collaboration with Waukesha Civic Theatre.


Waukesha Whittier Elementary Awarded $25,000 Grant

(Waukesha, WI) Whittier Elementary School located in Waukesha Wisconsin was awarded a GE Healthcare “Big Ideas” grant in the amount of $25,000.  The announcement was made Friday April 12, 2019.  A check presentation ceremony will be held on May 2, 2019 at 7:45am at the school.

Principal Tahereh DeLeon stated she was excited and overwhelmed to hear the good news.  Funding will support the creation of a special “makers space” at the school.  The proposed new makers space will include several distinct lab areas and collaboration spaces including: an online learning lab, arts space, outdoor gardens and technology lab.  The center will be named the GE Healthcare Learning For Life Center at Whittier Elementary.

Work on the new center is scheduled to begin this summer.  The project is expected to require several years to complete.  Additional funding is currently being sought to aid in equipment purchases, construction and renovation costs.

Symphony congratulates Waukesha Whittier on this exciting new project.




Catholic School – First in State to Receive $500,000 Federal Grant

Symphony Advancement congratulates Messmer Catholic Schools on the award of a $500,000 Department of Education grant to provide after school programming to low income students in Milwaukee.

The LEADERS program is designed to supplement daytime instruction targeting transfer students and individuals with persistently low proficiency scores.  The extended day program includes tutoring, mentoring, recreational activities, student clubs and a robotics program.  Symphony Advancement assisted in the overall design of the program based on national best practices and managed the grant application process.

“Thanks to this award, Messmer will be able to offer up to 300 students the additional homework help, tutoring and support they need,” said Jeffrey Robb, Symphony Managing Director.

Messmer Catholic Schools is a pioneer in urban Catholic education.  The school officially closed in the 1990’s until parents and community members rallied showing their support, managing to reopen the school within days.  One alumnus actually mortgaged his home to ensure the school had sufficient operating cash.  Not long after reopening, Messmer became the first private religious school in the nation to accept parental vouchers.  Parental vouchers essentially offer parents a partial credit based on state tuition which parents can address to a school of their choice.  The program has been well received among low-income parents with limited educational options for their children.  Through the use of vouchers parents can elect to send their children to high performing private schools if they wish.

Opening it’s doors to serve low-income students Messmer enrollment steadily began increasing.  With one of the highest graduation rates in the state and ACT scores well above average Messmer continues to attract minority students seeking a high quality education.  Today Messmer operates three schools serving nearly 1700 students in grades K4 -12.

If your organization is interested in exploring federal funding opportunities including grants and financing please contact Symphony today.

Casting Nets Featured on EWTN’s Life On The Rock

Casting Nets Ministry an apostolate of the New Evangelization was featured on EWTN’s “Life on the Rock.”  The program explored the work of Casting Nets co-founders Chris Stewart and Tony Brandt including their summer institute, speaking series and youth ministry.

Stewart and Brandt, both former high school theology teachers recognized the need nationwide for well-formed youth ready to serve the Church.  What began as informal weekend talks to youth groups throughout the Midwest soon blossomed into a robust national ministry.  Stewart and Brandt now present at more than seventy parishes and schools every year, reaching thousands with their powerful faith sharing tips and tactics.

The summer Casting Nets Institute offers up to one practicing Catholic youth the opportunity to further hone their evangelization skills through one-on-one coaching and presentations by nationally recognized Catholic apologists.

Now working full time in the Ministry, Chris has recently completed his second book published by Our Sunday Visitor.  Symphony Advancement is proud to have assisted Tony and Chris with the establishment of their ministry as a tax exempt 501c3 organization and several appeal efforts.

If your ministry is interested in formal IRS recognition or would like assistance in preparing your annual appeal please feel free to contact us today.

Proposed Tax Bill Keeps Charitable Deductions – Saves Middle Class Families Money

The proposed 2017 tax bill keeps charitable deductions and includes several other measures business owners and nonprofits should pay close attention to. While not yet approved, draft language in the 2017 Jobs & Tax Act includes a number of measures designed to stimulate the economy, save middle class families money and ensure non-profits continue to benefit from American generosity.

Of note, the 2017 tax act:

  • Keeps the highly popular 401(k) savings plan program, allowing individuals and families to deduct pre-tax income for retirement savings.
  • The proposal doubles the standard deduction.
  • Keeps charitable deductions for qualified non-profit gifts.
  • Increases the Child tax credit to $1600. 
  • Reduces the number of tax brackets to four capping individual taxes at 39.5% for the wealthiest Americans and reducing the remaining three tax brackets.
  • Simplifies the income tax reporting process, such that most Americans will require little more than a post card to complete their annual return.
  • Maintains mortgage deductions on houses up to $1 million.

The tax act remains controversial however as it eliminates the State income tax deduction viewed as critical by big spending states like Illinois, New York and California.  Without the ability to deduct State income tax, these states will face pressure from constituents to re-evaluate government spending.