Newcap was founded in November 1965 in Wisconsin, as a Wisconsin non-profit corporation and as part of the establishment of the community action network. The network was founded as President Johnson’s first salvo on the War on Poverty. Newcap used to be an acronym standing for Northeast Wisconsin Community Action Program, but since 1973, we have been simply: Newcap, Inc.
President Johnson, and the Congress of 1965, understood that while we have national poverty statistics, all reasons for poverty are local and all answers are local. We have spent the last 55 years helping those living with the conditions of poverty have better lives while helping them find opportunities to improve their lives for the futures of themselves, their families, and their communities.
Newcap has the largest physical footprint of any community action agency in Wisconsin, fully operating in 10 counties. Nearly 15,000 square miles in total. We are the third-largest in population size we serve – over a half million lives!
In addition to our 36 programs, we work with partners in government and private organizations all across our service region to maximize the ability to serve residents in our area.
Governed by 30 member board of directors, our board structure is the first thing that makes community action agencies unusual in the nonprofit world. Since the time of our founding, from the original two counties through the eventual ten counties we now serve, we have had one representative appointed to our board from each of our “capped” counties. The second third of our board is made up of private representation across the broad spectrum of our communities ensuring we have voices from every sector at the table when we are strategizing solutions and understanding problems.
But, the single thing that makes community action agencies unique is the one-third of our board who are low-income consumers themselves. From the beginning days of community action, the concept of “maximum feasible participation,” has been engrained in our work. We don’t look at people who are living with the conditions of poverty and talk to them about what we view as the answers for the problems they are facing; We actively engage them at the table in the governance and strategic decision-making process to design strategies to meet those needs to their needs. These board members are democratically selected from among their peers. We are constantly seeking to maintain a pool of ready board members for the seats. If you would like to be considered please contact our offices to get an application for the next round of elections.
In addition to our volunteer board of directors, our agency is managed by a professional leadership executive team. We have 10 individuals, the majority of whom themselves either grew up in limited economic means or faced challenges in their lives as well. While we don’t claim to know everything our participants are going through, most of us have been there and have both empathy and understanding. We also have an almost pathological need to make a difference.
Our staff of over 100 highly motivated, deeply committed individuals work every day to help those that we serve.
Whether you are visiting our website as a potential participant, a current participant, seeking information on behalf of another, wanting to volunteer or looking for a way to help people in our communities – we hope you will find all of the initial information that you need. Please reach out to any of us for additional information when you need.