Community First offers boost to Pillars’ Keys to Hope fundraiser

Pillars Inc Keys to hope.Community First Credit Union played a key role in the Nov. 27 Keys to Hope fundraiser that far exceeded expectations for Pillars in its fight again homelessness in the Fox Cities region.
The inaugural event raised over $141,000, against a stretch goal of $125,000.
“It was phenomenal,” said Tim Hoff, Senior Vice President Business Services for Community First, who has been on the Pillars board since last fall. “The name was Keys to Hope so it was connecting the whole concept of shelter and the housing continuum that Pillars represents. The (symbolic) key was that connecting point for somebody to have shelter and safety.”
The event brought together 334 community members to enjoy the N.E.W. Piano Guys. The community stepped up in a big way pledging $50,300 during a Fund-A-Need Auction that was matched up to $30,000 by the J.J. Keller Foundation. Another $8,000 was raised through a raffle, wine & chocolate sales and a silent auction.
Besides being a presenting sponsor, Community First employees also served on the event planning committee and volunteered in a variety of roles that assisted in its success.
Pillars was formed in the fall of 2018 by the merger of three long-standing agencies – Homeless Connections, The Housing Partnership and Fox Valley Warming Shelter. For years, Community First had supported all three of those organizations, providing volunteers, donations and financing.
In 2019, Pillars provided:
  • Safe, temporary shelter to 1,150 men, women and children.
  • Alternatives to shelter for 366 individuals.
  • Safe and affordable housing programs to another 484 men, women and children.
  • Safe and productive space for 520 individuals who were at-risk or experiencing homelessness.


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