WIPPS continues its mission amid challenges, loss of UW funding

The loss of all UW funding on July 1 was not a surprise to the WIPPS organization. Executive Director Eric Giordano said it’s been a gradual process preparing for the loss of support, which accounts for nearly 50 percent of WIPPS’ total budget.

WIPPS has been working to modify its business model, reducing the amount of programs and events to core areas – such as the Public Issues Series and the Veninga Religion and Lecture Series – as well as fundraising programs that generate a positive cash flow.

“We will also work to expand our Wisconsin Center for Consultative Services (WiCCS),” Giordano said. “WiCCS provides a convenient, one-stop shop for government, business and nonprofit research and consulting – everything from survey research to market analysis to soft skills development and training.”

While the funding loss is significant, WIPPS is continuing to seek support from individual donors, companies and charitable foundations that are committed to our mission of promoting civic engagement, informing the public on key issues and encouraging youth involvement in politics – all the while emphasizing an environment of civil, nonpartisan civic dialogue.

“We feel affirmed that many individuals, foundations and companies are actively supporting WIPPS,” said Aaron Zitzelsberger, WIPPS state development director. “These generous donors share our vision of giving the public accurate and unbiased information, promoting civic engagement and having a safe space for civil discussion.”

WIPPS Health Policy Fellow and Wausau physician Dr. Corrie Norrbom believes civic engagement is at the heart of healthy, vibrant communities.

“People have to feel as though they are part of a community to care enough to learn about issues or want to get involved in any type of action,” she said. That’s why Dr. Norrbom has been involved for the past three years on WIPPS’ programming aimed at the health and vibrancy of communities.

From a 2013 program on health insurance (The Federal Health Insurance Marketplace: A View from Wisconsin) through this spring’s partnership with business leaders on parenting/work balance (Baby Business: The Dollars and Sense of Investing in Working Parents), she sees how businesses, government, individuals and organizations can work together on a shared vision. “We are fortunate to have WIPPS in Wisconsin, not only to carry out this work in local communities, but to link communities with state and national leaders.”

“We intend to continue offering the public programs on issues that matter to communities, as well as helping foster and encourage young people to become involved in the political process,” Giordano said. “We believe in our mission, and it is truly making a difference.”

To learn more about WIPPS or to make a donation, please visit www.wipps.org.