Lisa Humenik has lived in five different cities throughout her life, and says while her husband, John, “got the career ladder, I got the jungle gym.”
The Waunakee Neighborhood Connection Executive Director for the past six months, Lisa gave her classification talk at the Feb. 14 Waunakee Rotary Club meeting, where she is a transfer member from the Madison Club.
John is the vice president of content with Lee Enterprises, and before joining that company, was with Gannett.
Lisa grew up in Chicago, and met John in college. Both were involved in Greek life, he in a fraternity and she in a sorority.
They’ve lived in Chicago, Cincinnati, Davenport, Tucson and now Madison, although they’ll soon be moving to the Community of Bishop’s Bay.
In many of the cities, Lisa has been a director of volunteer services at hospitals and at a hospice. She also worked at United Way in Tucson. She began consulting more and more, and did so when the couple moved to Madison five years ago. She was missing being part of the day-to-day operations, as while helping at Schumacher Farm Park, she learned of the executive director opening at Waunakee Neighborhood Connection.
WNC has been a nonprofit for 12 years; they attained that status Feb. 14, 2007. Lisa said when she tells people what she does, they’re surprised that Waunakee has families in need.
While statewide, 11.7 percent of the population lives below the poverty line, Lisa explained that several live below the Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed (ALICE) threshold. They are working but earning too little to afford their basic needs.
In Waunakee, just over 4 percent of the population lives below the poverty line, but 15 percent lives below the ALICE threshold, with 6.5 percent of students being economically disadvantaged.
“There is need. A lot of families are living paycheck to paycheck,” she said, and if one spouse becomes unemployed or becomes ill, help may be needed for a short time.
WNC’s biggest program is the free store at S. Century Avenue, but many of its other programs help families in other ways. One new one coming will be Neighbor-to-Neighbor, an emergency response program.
Some of the strategic priorities will be first, attaining financial sustainability. The previous executive director did an exceptional job with the capital campaign, but the challenge has been on the operational side, Lisa said.
Lisa also sees an opportunity to serve more families; WNC now helps 117 families, up from 66 the previous year. At one time it served over 300 families.
Finally, the goal is to increase volunteer opportunities.
Other News:
-Committee chairs also gave updates during the club assembly, as follows:
-Fellowship events are being planned during the basketball tournaments, a spring outing, concerts at the park and possibly getting together for trivia night at one Waunakee establishment. The steak fry will be in  June, along with a boating event.
-Three people attended the grant management seminar. If you’d like to get involved with the New Mexico Friendship Exchange, let Linda Olson know.
-Scholarship applications are due April 11.
-Speakers are booked for the next 5 months. Take those little slips with you when you leave meetings – they can be used to invite guests.
-Fundraising is looking for an event to replace Super Bowl Sunday.
-Elections for the president-elect treasurer and one director spot will be held.
-The Easter Egg Hunt is planned for April 13, and it’s moved to Village Park this year.
Guests: David Hogg, guest of Todd Schmidt.
Visiting Rotarians: None.
Birthdays: Feb. 24, Danny Paul; March 1, Rex Endres.
Anniversaries: None.
Greeters: Feb. 21, Lisa Humenik and Roxanne Johnson; Feb. 28, Jim Kattner and Kevin Kearney; March 7, Tom Kennedy and Chris Kenney.