GOLD2024

We Raise Foundation

Generosity Multiplied

aka formerly Wheat Ridge Ministries   |   Itasca, IL   |  http://www.weraise.org

Mission

Called by Christ to serve others, We Raise Foundation partners with Christian organizations to support and develop sustainable programs that help people thrive.

Ruling year info

1962

President and CEO

Mr. Paul Miles

Main address

One Pierce Place Suite 250E

Itasca, IL 60143 USA

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Formerly known as

Wheat Ridge Ministries

Wheat Ridge Foundation

Wheat Ridge Sanitorium

EIN

84-0404924

NTEE code info

Other Philanthropy, Voluntarism, and Grantmaking Foundations N.E.C. (T99)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Our vision is people free from poverty, violence, and inequality. These issues represent the critical obstacle to forming healthy communities, and the problem is growing faster than the solutions. Poverty and inequality are pervasive, particularly in communities of color, and violence is often an unfortunate byproduct. In the most advanced country on the planet, no child should be relegated to a lifetime of deprivation based on the zip code in which they are born.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Emerging Leader Grants

Emerging Leader Grants are an investment in the development of leaders between the ages of 20-35 at Christian organizations who are leading new programs at the intersection of poverty, violence, and inequality in the United States.
Emerging Leader grants are $15,000 over two years for new programs led by young adult leaders. Of the $15,000, $10,000 is designated for start-up expenses for the new program and $5,000 is designated exclusively for leadership development.

Population(s) Served
Adults

GrantsPlus is We Raise Foundation’s largest and most competitive grant program, partnering with Christian organizations in Chicago, St. Louis, Milwaukee, and Oakland/San Francisco that work at the intersection of poverty, violence, and inequality. These grants are particularly focused on education, workforce development, or criminal justice, and provide a total of $100,000 over a three-year term.
We Raise Foundation continues to serve primarily as a first investor for programs or organizations that are three years or younger, while also making invitation-only investments in existing programs or organizations that have proven to be highly effective in their field.
The intersection of poverty, violence, and inequality represents the critical obstacle to forming healthy communities and we believe organizations working through education, workforce development, and criminal justice, provide the most intuitive pathways to solutions.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Capacity building is an investment in the effectiveness and future sustainability of an organization. We Raise Foundation encourages Emerging Leader and GrantsPlus recipients to take advantage of We Raise team experts, as well as professional growth and networking opportunities to strengthen the program, the organization as a whole, and individual leadership skills. Through extensive conversation with our grantees and program partners, it has been overwhelmingly shared that the greatest need to ensure sustainability is fundraising and capacity building.
In response to this need, our strategic approach to being in partnership with our grantees includes educational support for resource development. In addition to each GrantsPlus financial award, We Raise will also provide a resource development assessment that includes an analysis of the grantee’s current fundraising plan, identification of opportunities for additional revenue streams, as well as an evaluation of operational efficiency.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Where we work

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

We Raise Foundation identifies innovative ideas, people, and programs that raise consciousness, community leadership, and capital. Motivated by our belief that freedom is grace in action, we provide grants and assistance with resource development to organizations that work at the intersection of poverty, violence, and inequality. We have a preference for solutions within the areas of education, workforce development, and criminal justice—funding non-profit, Christian organizations that predominantly serve communities of color.

We Raise provides grants and resource development to organizations working at the intersection of poverty, violence, and inequality. Our GrantsPlus grant recipients fall into three broad programming categories: education, workforce development, and criminal justice. To provide meaningful financial support that has long-term impact, the GrantsPlus program focuses on four geographic areas: Chicago, St. Louis, Milwaukee, and the San Francisco Bay area. These cities were selected following a rigorous review process in which need and potential for change was determined through a scoring process. We fund new initiatives – less than three years old. Where other foundations require a robust record of success, We Raise invests early because true change is only possible when people with fresh ideas and energy are empowered to challenge the status quo.

Access to high-quality education early in life is a determinant of lifelong success, and it is critical that we support programs which give children the opportunity to break intergenerational cycles of poverty. To do so, We Raise supports Christian schools, before and after school care, and tutoring programs for low-income children in kindergarten through eighth grade. With this support, the next generation to enter the workforce will be equipped with the skills and tools necessary to become contributing members of society.

Also critical to breaking the cycle of poverty is workforce development programming for parents, particularly mothers, which supports them as they seek the education, skills, and training to acquire living-wage jobs which provide them with a pathway to stability.

Finally, We Raise invests in programs that offer solutions to recidivism by providing inmates and ex-offenders with support and training to successfully re-enter society. We believe effective justice requires consequences for those who break the law, but every crime should not result in a lifetime sentence. Through programs that provide legal services to low-income individuals and those that offer prisoners and ex-offenders the tools necessary to re-integrate into society, including employment training, our communities will become more vibrant places for all.

In addition to the financial award, GrantsPlus grantees also receive:
• A resource development assessment that includes an analysis of their current fundraising plan and identification of opportunities
for additional revenue streams.
• An incentivized crowdfunding campaign, which could provide up to $20,000 in additional funding.
• Donor and foundation research

In addition to the financial award, Emerging Leader grantees receive:
• $5,000 for leadership development, which includes:
• Attendance at a Leadership Fundamentals conference through The Center for Creative Leadership
• Attendance at the Global Leadership Summit through satellite locations
• Individualized Leadership Coaching

We Raise Foundation currently operates with a $3M budget, 8 board members, 5 full-time employees, and dozens of volunteers. Our staff includes members with extensive experience managing grant programs, making and maintaining important connections with others in our field, communicating and marketing for our organization, and raising funds.

Through a series of conversations with our grantees and other non-profit leaders, it became clear that grant funding, while helpful, would be inadequate to truly support organizations with innovative ideas. So, in addition to monetary support available through each grant, We Raise also offers GrantsPlus awards tools and services to strengthen the capacity of grantees in fundraising, resource development, crowdfunding support, and access to donor and foundation research to accelerate their growth. By helping them become more effective at resource development, we are investing in a function critical to sustainability.

With this additional capacity building support, the value of a We Raise grant nearly doubles immediately but its true value is felt in the years after the award. This approach, combining significant financial support with capacity building services, is singular in its approach in the United States, and we believe will lead to results that could not be achieved otherwise.

We have made over 2,000 grants totaling more than $45M throughout our history, which has impacted over one million people. In 2018, we intentionally designed a three-year strategic plan that reflects our deep commitment to bring greater value to our grantees, but also allows for the fluid dynamic that is represented in the human service sector. Our core objective is to get more resources into the hands of the innovative leaders and organizations that are bringing solutions to the issues of poverty, violence, and inequality. We believe our value proposition—to help organizations be more effective at generating resources—uniquely positions us in the grantmaking community and we hope to inspire others to similar models of service. In short, we are evolving with the growing needs of our grantees.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, Feedback also fed directly into our strategic plan.

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

Financials

We Raise Foundation
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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lock

Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

We Raise Foundation

Board of directors
as of 02/18/2024
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Mr. Mark Duesenberg

Ferro Corporation

Term: 2023 - 2024

Mark Duesenberg

Ferro Corporation

Christine Messerschmidt

Thrivent Financial

Marcella Brown

Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry

Gerald Mansholt

Calvary Lutheran Church

Paul Schult

Redeemer Lutheran Church and School

Michael Wilson

American Veterinary Medical Association

Christine Zrinsky

Millennium Park Foundation

Amy Vie

Alimera Services

Bruce Laning

Wealthspire Advisors

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 1/29/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation

Disability

We do not display disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff.

Equity strategies

Last updated: 01/22/2021

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.