History of LEAVEN, Inc.


LEAVEN was created in 1986 and opened its doors on January 1, 1987. The founders were local clergy, businesspeople, and community leaders. They were concerned about low income people not having emergency access to the basic necessities of life, not knowing where to turn for help, and the number of individuals who were going from place to place (particularly to churches) seeking assistance. Duplications of effort, and the real possibility of a few taking advantage of the charity of others, were also of great concern.


The agency began with a tiny budget, a few volunteers, and a very part-time staff person. Since 1987, the agency has grown in budget, staff, and number of volunteers. There are currently over 200 volunteers that donate over 17,000 hours each year. This is equivalent to 8.3 full time employees and 67% of all hours worked. It has grown tremendously in its capacity for effective administration, raising money, growing endowments, and caring for the less fortunate in the Fox Valley Area.


On October 4, 2002, LEAVEN proudly opened its new service center at 1475 Opportunity Way in Menasha. The center was paid for by generous Fox Valley philanthropists through a successful capital campaign in 2002. The building was the answer to the problem created by increased numbers of people requesting help for emergencies. Finally there is adequate space to interview more clients in a timely manner, sound proof interview rooms to privately share their stories, and more space for the volunteers to complete the casework required for each of the cases. The new center is located in the Midway Outreach Community in Menasha, next to the Community Clothes Closet and St. Joseph’s Food Pantry. This enables clients to seek assistance for food, clothing, and shelter all in one stop.