Celebrating Neighborhood House - Madison's oldest community Center!

Not everyone knows what a community center is or does.

Thinking of community centers might conjure up some vague imagery involving squeaky hardwood floors, the smell of craft supplies, or weekly fitness classes.

In truth, it’s right there in the name - community centers exist for the benefit of the entire community and they are both a physical location that community members can access for events, gatherings, meetings, rehearsals, or almost any other purpose you can dream of - and a one-stop source for programming, classes, events, or celebrations that community members want to share in together.

SSE’s #tinyboss caught up with Ben Tolle and Nikki Novoselsky from Neighborhood House to learn more about Madison’s oldest community center (101 years!).

Tell us a little bit about the history of Neighborhood House!

In 1916, a UW student wrote an undergraduate thesis proposing the creation of Neighborhood House to meet the needs of the growing Greenbush community.

The late 1800’s saw a wave of new immigrants coming to America, and the City of Madison experienced an upswell of Jewish and Italian immigrants who were shuttled into a swampy, run-down area of the city with dilapidated housing and inadequate infrastructure - what we now know as the Greenbush neighborhood. University of Wisconsin student Henry Barnbrock Jr. wrote a 72-page paper documenting the list of social problems stemming from this influx of new immigrants which sparked the initial efforts to establish a settlement house - and thus, Neighborhood House began as a resource for new Americans to acclimate to their new environment, learn English, connect with others, and find community.

101 years later, Neighborhood House is in its third location in the Greenbush/Vilas neighborhood, currently situated south of Regent Street at 29 S. Mills Street. Over the years and generations the focus has shifted and broadened. No longer an exclusive resource for new immigrants, Neighborhood House has developed into a resource and social hub that stretches beyond neighborhood boundaries into a center that serves the entire Madison community.

What is the mission of Neighborhood House?

Our official mission is to provide high quality programming and social services that facilitate the growth of a diverse, responsible, and welcoming community… and we keep it broad enough to address anything that assists in the overall health and betterment of our community.

What’s beautiful about Neighborhood House is the amount of diversity we see in both the people we serve, their interests, and the different connections they make alongside us. We also believe it’s important to have a physical location where people can connect face-to-face, without technology or screens, and enjoy spending time together in person.

What is an aspect of your work that others might find surprising or unexpected?

There’s a little disconnect in where we are currently located. A lot of people are surprised that a lot of people who fund Neighborhood House aren’t necessarily the people utilizing our services. We’re not currently situated in a low-income neighborhood, however more that half the people who participate in our programming do come from low-income families.

There’s also a misconception where people think they have to live close to us in order to access our services and programming. That’s not true! We serve the entire Madison community and anyone wanting to use our space or enjoy our services and programming is welcome!

What do you wish that people knew about community centers?

We really wish that everyone understood that community centers are for you - the community!

Think about it - how do all good ideas start? They start with people coming together and discussing whatever it is that they need. And if enough people think that something is important, those ideas can become reality.

Essentially, community centers can offer whatever it is that the public wants so long as there is enough demand for it. We host groups with all sorts of interests - medieval sword fighting, Spanish classes, hip-hop groups, Brazilian dance… and good ideas can be shared activities like those, or something as simple as wanting to get together with friends on a Friday evening.

What do you find most rewarding about your work?

At Neighborhood House we get to work with people of all different backgrounds, ages, interests, etc., and hear a multitude of stories. The opportunity to regularly cross paths with others who are really different from you also forces you to realize that we are not so different from one another at all.

It’s also wonderful to hear stories about Neighborhood House from members of the community, considering we are the oldest community center in Madison. We’ve heard stories from across many generations - whether events or programs people have enjoyed over the years, activities they’ve created with others, or life moments that they’ve shared with us. All moments of life are recognized here and hearing how much Neighborhood House means to others is really rewarding.

How can others get involved?

Neighborhood House is always looking for volunteers - whether that’s for college students interested in getting involved with our twice-a-week mentoring program, one-time events such as community meals or fundraisers, our summer camp, or small projects that help us keep our space in good condition for everyone to enjoy.

At the moment we’re also hosting a Valentine’s Day fundraiser where people can stop by our website and send either flowers or Gail Ambrosius chocolate to someone special. We will wrap each selection for you and deliver it on Valentine’s Day, and a portion of proceeds will return to us - in order to help keep spreading joy and love throughout our community!

Another nice opportunity to get to know us with less pressure is to stop by one of our community dinners. Throughout the year, Neighborhood House hosts community meals which provide a nice, informal opportunity to get to know others without needing to make a commitment. We hope you’ll drop by!




Sustain Dane - Madison's one stop shop for all things sustainable!

Everyone has resolutions.

Whether they’re for the New Year, in response to current events, part of a promise to honor social or environmental movements, or simply for personal growth - many of us can identify with wanting to improve our lives for the better.

What most of us might not consider is whether or not we’re interested in pursuing sustainable changes… BUT, before you sell yourself short - you might be surprised to learn that, more often than not, you’re already on the right track!

To ring in the new year, SSE was thrilled to start out 2018 by learning from our wonderful organization of the month, Sustain Dane! We chatted with Lucille Marshall to learn more about how Sustain Dane serves as a resource for all sustainability efforts throughout Madison - both large and small - and how we can incorporate many of those practices into our own resolutions for the future!


So, what is “sustainability” anyway?

Something exciting about sustainability work is that it has the ability to bring lots of people together. It’s about transforming our community for the better to strive for a shared future in which we are all healthy and thriving.

You can think of sustainability as a three-legged stool -- supported by social, economic, and environmental efforts throughout our local community. The first addresses the need for strong connections with others by working towards an equitable society and fostering a sense of belonging amongst all corners of the community. The second supports livable wages, affordable housing, and just economic practices. And the third ensures access to a beautiful and healthy environment including clean air, water, and food for all.


What is the history and mission of Sustain Dane?

Sustain Dane began in the 1990’s as a grassroots initiative by a group of local neighbors. What began as a place to hold discussion circles and learn about incorporating sustainable changes into everyday life eventually blossomed into a fully-fledged nonprofit organization with 501(c)(3) status that now addresses the needs of the entire Madison community.

Sustain Dane believes that change happens when inspired people take action. They partner with sustainability champions and community leaders throughout Dane County to support existing sustainability efforts, provide visibility and a platform for other organizations to communicate their own initiatives, and aim to be a resource for all Madisonians looking to become partners in improving our community -- on any level.  


How does that work in practice?

Every year, Sustain Dane hosts an annual conference called the Badger Bioneers. Over the course of one uplifting day, Sustain Dane brings together youth, professionals, neighbors, community activists, educators, and volunteers to connect with one another and learn how to create local sustainable movements for change.

They have also created the Sustainable Business Network and the MPower Business Champion program for successful business leaders who believe in building a just economy, and harnessing the power of the business sector to create change.

For those looking to create change on the individual level, be sure to look at their Take Action checklist with ideas to incorporate into your daily life, or consider signing up for the 21-Day Eco-Equity Challenge to learn more about the various pathways within sustainability work, ideas to bring to your local communities, and more opportunities to consider sustainable practices in your daily life.


What is one facet of Sustain Dane’s work that might be surprising to others?

One of Sustain Dane’s newest initiatives is a storytelling project called The Megaphone. The Megaphone aims to be a powerful community platform that provides the space and tools to craft and share our stories; people from different backgrounds, races, age, gender and geographies that are working on and want to inspire others to build a more sustainable and inclusive community.

To kick off this new initiative, community members have been invited to participate in two Megaphone Storytelling Workshops and a StorySlam. Participants will craft and share their stories with fellow neighbors, learning about the art of storytelling that empowers and transforms. The Storytelling Workshops will be facilitated by Jen Rubin, co-producer of The Moth and Takeyla Benton, co-producer of Listen to Your Mother.


So, how do we get involved?

  • For those with less time but looking to make small changes to your daily life or environment, throw Sustain Dane a like on Facebook or Twitter! Social media is a great way to stay in the know regarding Sustain Dane’s many community partners and to receive updates about upcoming events and volunteer opportunities!

  • Those interested in joining through their workhat should definitely check out the Sustainable Business Network, which provides a breadth and depth of resources — including an online resources hub, ideas for new sustainability trends to incorporate into your own workplace, resource events, and quarterly meetings where participants have the opportunity to network, connect, and listen to speakers on an array of different topics tailored for the business sector.

  • To learn more about leaders within our own community, Sustain Dane has launched a new Facebook group dedicated to The Megaphone itself where folks can join in the conversation and share their own sustainability stories! Feel free to drop a hashtag with #themegaphone to help amplify your own sustainability work to inspire others in your community!







Nehemiah empowering Madison's black community since 1992

Have you heard?? Nehemiah celebrated their 25 YEAR anniversary this month! That’s 25 years of empowering the black community in Madison. Read more about this incredible accomplishment HERE.

For this reason (and many more) we are so proud to be supporting Nehemiah as our local Organization of the Month (OTM) in November. This deserving OTM will receive percentage of our November sales--which means simply by eating Short Stack in November you are supporting this incredible organization. Reverend Alex Gee recently stopped in for some breakfast at SSE. Check out this Facebook Live video here where he invites the community to dine with him at Short Stack on Wednesday Nov 29th at 11:00am.

What is Nehemiah’s mission?
Nehemiah engages the greater Madison community to empower African American individuals, families, and communities to bring about hope, transformation, and justice.

What areas does Nehemiah focus on?

Youth Education and Leadership: From elementary to high school, Nehemiah has several programs that tackle race equity issues in Madison’s youth. With these programs Nehemiah has helped students improve their attendance and performance in schools and beyond

Reentry Services: This programming focuses on African American men that leave jail or prison and re-enter Dane County are at high risk of homelessness and the stark reality of recidivism. Through advocacy, mentorship, housing and employment opportunities, Nehemiah has helped hundreds of men through the reentry process.

Family and Community Wellness: According to their website, “the Chaplain’s work involves developing indigenous leaders, serving as a liaison with human service agencies, and connecting those in need with resources and planning.”

Economic Development: This area involves so many things including affordable housing and living wage jobs, loan development and supporting businesses run by African Americans.

Leadership and Capacity Development: Transforming the face of leadership through several intensive programs and internship opportunities throughout the year.

What is the Race to Equity Report and why is it significant?
Released in 2013, this report proved what many already knew to be true--African Americans are disproportionately underserved in every realm of life in Dane County. From high school graduation rates and health outcomes to incarceration rates and unemployment, African Americans are systematically and historically disadvantaged. It has been stated that both Madison and Wisconsin as a whole have some of the worst racial disparities in the nation and that it is simultaneously the best place to raise a family (if you’re white) and the worst place to live (if you’re black).

But years before this report was released, Nehemiah was working to address these issues in the Madison community. This report shed light on the severity of the injustices still present in Dane County, and ignited further momentum for programs and movements to address these issues.

What is Justified Anger (JA) Coalition?
The Justified Anger Coalition was created in 2013 and Our Madison Plan was released in 2015, both addressing the fact that Wisconsin routinely ranks as the worst state for social, economic, educational and health disparities among African American children and families. JA works for systemic solutions and mobilized allies to reduce racial disparities in greater Madison.

Justified Anger offers an incredible 10 week African American History Course for non-black people to learn the history they likely didn’t learn growing up in school.

The JA blog continually has relevant content. For example, check out this incredible article about how to be a white ally on Thanksgiving.

So how can I get involved with Nehemiah or Justified Anger?

-Donate directly to the cause!

-Volunteer in one of the many focus areas

-Get involved with Justified Anger and stay up to date with events and happenings with Nehemiah and Justified Anger





October is Domestic Abuse Awareness Month, and as such we has chosen Domestic Abuse Intervention Services (DAIS) of Dane County as our Organization of the Month.


On Thursday 10/5 restaurants throughout Dane County come together for DAIS’ annual Dine Out for DAIS event, where 10% of sales go directly to DAIS.

What is the mission of DAIS?

DAIS’ Mission is to empower those affected by domestic violence and advocate for social change through support, education, and outreach. The mission hasn’t changed so much as we’ve simply increased the emphasis on Empowerment in our service model. Empowering DV victims to make their own decisions is critical in not repeating the dynamic of power and control that they experienced with their abuser.

What does DAIS do that may be lesser known?

While many people who’ve heard of DAIS likely know about the 24-7 Helpline and Emergency Shelter, they may not know that DAIS has a strong Prevention, Education and Training program which brings information about DV into schools, churches, businesses, community centers, and more. Anyone can request a speaker or trainer to come out and give a presentation. Learn more here:

What are Community Support Services at DAIS?

DAIS staff and volunteers are available to meet with clients throughout Dane County, not only at the DAIS location. Legal Advocacy is one aspect of Community Support where advocates (who are not attorneys and do not provide legal advice) can sit with victims during court appearances, answer questions about legal processes, and assist in completing paperwork for things like restraining orders. DAIS has several bilingual advocates and also use a translation service as needed so that language is not a barrier for those seeking support.

How can I support DAIS?
If you have a little time
Learn more about the issue, and then share what you learn with others.

→ Starting a conversation brings the issue out of the shadows, raises awareness, and improves outcomes for our communities.

If you have more time
DAIS has an extensive volunteer program with numerous roles and ways to help.

→ Visit the DAIS website for more information and to get started

How does DAIS reflect community values?

DAIS has four core values, which they feel reflect the values of our community. In their words:

Mutual Respect We believe the basis for our effective working relationships, within the organization and with our external stakeholders, is a shared knowledge and appreciation for individual differences. We believe individuals have the right to make their own choices concerning personal safety and how they live their lives. We strive to create and foster relationships based in understanding and appreciation for both self and others.

Openness We believe that in serving the community and each other, we benefit from being receptive and responsive to ideas, behaviors, cultures, peoples, environments and experiences. We are accountable not only to our funders and donors, but also to each other as well as the people we serve and the community as a whole. We strive to foster an environment where people feel at ease to share opinions and to question.

Collaboration We believe in the equal distribution of power and privilege throughout society and believe that by working together with each other and with our community partners, we can achieve more than working independently. We strive to create an environment where people exchange strengths and complement others weaknesses without judgment and with a shared commitment to the purpose.

Shared Responsibility Domestic abuse is a community issue. All members of the community, including abusers, must take responsibility. We work with volunteers, individuals, co-workers, community groups and systems to fulfill our mission and strive toward our vision. We believe that we all have a part to play in creating a safe and peaceful community.

How can I support DAIS as a business or community group?

Businesses and other groups in the community can help in the following ways: post DAIS information for others to access, host a drive for in-kind donations or funds, host a tabling event where DAIS volunteers bring materials about DV, volunteer as a service group to assist with projects at the DAIS facility, sponsor DAIS events or programs with financial support, pledge employer matches to a workplace giving campaign, or suggest new ideas!

What does the future for DAIS look like in terms of goals short and long term?

DAIS sets annual strategic goals to ensure continued forward progress on our mission. Several current short term goals revolve around our commitment to Cultural Competence, both as an employer and a service provider. The more we understand about diversity in our community, the better prepared we are to provide services which honor that diversity and meet the specific needs of clients. Many long term goals revolve around improving the systems in our community which can work together to support victims and address DV at its root.

How and when did the annual fundraiser Dine Out for DAIS begin?

Dine Out for DAIS began in 2010. The inspiration was to use our community’s love of local food as a point around which to gather, raise awareness about DV, and also raise funds to support our programs. It’s an easy way for businesses and individuals alike to learn about the issue and participate in making a difference.



#BlackWomanHeal with Lilada's Livingroom in Madison

We are honored to be supporting Lilada’s Livingroom for the month of September at SSE. If you haven’t heard of Lilada’s Livingroom and/or want to know more, READ ON! We recently had the privilege of interviewing Lilada Gee (Executive Director & Founder of Lilada’s Livingroom) to find out more about the important work she is doing in Madison and beyond. Lilada also taught us a thing or two about Facebook live when she visited us at the Stack last week!


I asked Lilada how Lilada’s Livingroom reflects community values and goals, to which Lilada had the following to say:
“With Madison and Dane County being found to be the worst city for Black people in the nation, I question what our community truly values when it comes to its Black citizens.”

Lilada is spot on with this statement, making the work she is doing all the more important. Madison does not ensure that all livelihoods are equal for all people. Being Black in Madison does not look the same as being white in Madison. Madison is a city of stark contrast and Lilada’s Livingroom sheds light on these issues in a very real and profound way. 

So what does Lilada’s Livingroom do?
Lilada's Livingroom creates a safe place to heal for survivors of sexual abuse.

What should the greater community and the world to know about #BlackWomanHeal?
The community should know that there is a deep need for healing of Black women and girls that has been overlooked, causing the elongation of pain. Culturally affirming safe space is needed to help them move forward in their healing process.

What is something Lilada's Livingroom does that few people know about?
Lilada’s Livingroom works with Black girls to reduce the incidence of suicide which is at an alarming all time high.

What programs with Lilada’s Livingroom need more awareness?
Suicide reduction, which is greatly tired to girls who have also been sexually abused and unhealed.

How can someone get involved if they only have a little bit of time?
You can join the quarterly Lilada’s Livingroom giving circle meeting which offers a unique opportunity to have authentic cross-cultural conversations. You can also get updates on the work of Lilada’s Livingroom including other ways to get involved.

If someone has a little more time and wants to become more engaged with the work Lilada’s Livingroom is doing, what are some areas they can help with?
Lilada’s Livingroom needs help with marketing, social media, website development, graphic designs, videography.

What do short and long term goals look like for the organization in future years?
Building momentum for a healing movement for that will reverberate from Madison throughout the African Diaspora.

What is the greatest need of Lilada's Livingroom right now?
Financial support to continue and expand our healing work.

Describe the vision behind #BlackWomanHeal and how it has grown since it began.
The vision is to spark a healing movement to inspire women and girls to heal from present day and historic sexual trauma. As the veils of secrecy are removed, it creates a pathway for healing. It has grown from a local work to an international movement. This has never be done!






As summer is winding down and the beginning of the school year approaches, we are excited to be supporting an invaluable organization in Dane County for the month of August. Our August Organization of the Month is the Boys and Girls Club of Dane County (BGCDC)--an organization that has transformed and continues to positively impact the lives of thousands of kids of all ages.


So what does the Boys and Girls Club of Dane County do?

BGCDC is a leader in youth development programs in Dane County through their partnerships throughout the community. Through these programs we will ensure positive outcomes for young people, families and communities.


What is something the BGCDC does that few people or less people know about?

Many people are familiar with BGCDC in terms of what happens at the clubs and all of the great work that the staff does with the kids. What they don’t see is the planning and care that BGCDC staff puts into each day, program, and child that they serve. They are constantly working to ensure great futures for each and every young person. Through securing scholarships, jobs, internships, helping them enter college, providing support throughout their college experience, BGCDC staff is dedicated to ensuring each young person will reach their full potential.


How can I get involved with BGCDC?

There are so many routes to becoming involved with BGCDC. They constantly have events where volunteer help is much appreciated. You could also become a mentor to students in the AVID/TOPS program. Raising money and donating funds or items when needed are also a huge help. For example, this month they have their 2nd Annual Back2School Backpack Giveaway. They are planning on giving away 3000 backpacks and school supplies to those young people in our community that need it. BGCDC is working hard to secure all those items and look toward community members for support in donating these goods.


How can community groups and businesses partner with BGCDC in a meaningful way?

There are numerous opportunities for community groups and businesses to partner with BGCDC. This can take the form of sponsoring events, having employees volunteer, or having internships available for BGCDC club members. BGCDC actively looks for partners in the community to create new programs or add to existing programs to benefit their members. That being said, businesses and community groups don’t need to wait for BGCDC to contact them! If you’d like to partner, reach out and they will help direct you to the right person.


How does the AVID/TOPS program achieve such an incredible results?

The high intensity partnership that BGCDC has with MMSD definitely helps. This really allows BGCDC to define goals and create collaborative efforts where all parties can achieve their goals. By being able to be in the schools directly working with the students during their class time, BGCDC is able to more effectively assist them in their daily needs. The AVID/TOPS programming has proven to be successful through multiple credible studies in improving GPA, graduation rates, and other statistics. The commitment of BGCDC staff and teachers is a crucial factor in how great this program is. The dedication they have to seeing these students succeed is unparalleled and this program really couldn’t succeed without them.


What is Star Credit Union and how does it connect with the vision of the BGCDC?

STAR Credit Union was created in 2005 with the mission to instill financial literacy and responsibility in their members by providing access to financial services and the opportunity to participate in the development and operation of the credit union. Members learn the importance of savings, earn great incentives and participate in programs that teach everything from budgeting to investing to entrepreneurship. It is a wonderful resource for BGCDC members and an incredible tool for young people to learn from.


What do short and long term goals look like for the organization in future years?

In the short term, BGCDC looks to continue their work in improving the lives of those in our community and securing bright futures for young people. In the long term, they have set a goal of transforming the lives of 10,000 young people annually by 2021 with 90% of their active members on track to graduate from high school and prepared for post-secondary opportunities. They will accomplish this through a number of strategic priorities such as fostering value-added partnerships to connect members to meaningful opportunities.


What is the greatest need of the BGCDC right now?

BGCDC is always looking to form new partnerships throughout the community. They are also looking to find new financial resources to create quality experiences for new members as well as to improve existing programs. BGCDC is also looking for opportunities to expand throughout Dane County so they can truly help as many people as possible.


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FairShare CSA shares love for farm fresh food for all

July is the heart of the growing season in Wisconsin and as such we chose FairShare CSA Coalition as our Organization of the Month. FairShare is a coalition of 53 organic farms throughout the state that are committed to providing fresh, local food to as many people as possible.

Short Stack also had the privilege of sponsoring FairShare CSA at the first Madison Night Market earlier this year in May.

So what does CSA stand for and what does Fairshare CSA do?
CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture, and is dedicated to getting people food from local farms. Members buy shares for the growing season and each week they can pick up their box of fresh produce (usually at a pick-up location) from their chosen local farm.

FairShare CSA is committed to connecting growers and eaters while working towards all-inclusive access to locally grown, organic, quality foods in all communities. FairShare has been around for almost 25 years, and has inspired other individuals to start programs similar to theirs. Their mission is to connect eaters and growers by teaching where our food comes from and what the process looks like. This is their website where you can learn more!


How can I get involved?
There are many ways to get involved! Volunteering, joining a committee or even just attending some of the many activities that are held by Fairshare CSA are great ways to get involved! Bike The Barns is the biggest fundraiser for  they hold each year, but there is also the CSA open house in spring, farmers markets, and many other events.

An easy and incredibly practical way to get involved is by buying a CSA share for the season. FairShare makes this process so easy by helping you through the process on their website.


What is Bike The Barns?
Bike The Barns is a recreational bike tour intended to raise money so more people can get fresh foods and local farmers can have more funds to keep going. All of the proceeds go directly to Fairshare CSA, and nowhere else. This year it will be held on Sunday September 17th and will include biking to different local farms in the area, trying many delicious foods from the farms and local area, and getting to know more about what the program is about.

New this year, they are adding Bus The Barns to reach out to those that don’t or can’t bike the 30+ miles for the tour. But those on the bus will still get to enjoy the amazing food and company. You can get more information here.


What are some other things they do?
FairShare works hard to sustain its Partner Shares program. This important program helps everyone acquire fresh foods by offering scholarships of up to 50% of a share for the CSA program if people cannot afford a full share. Bike The Barns is the primary source of funding for this program.

Through their ever-growing initiatives and expanding programming, FairShare continuously supports communities throughout Wisconsin. The work they do is important for maintaining healthier and more fair communities and livelihoods, and their encouragement of organic farm practices contributes to a better environment overall.




Eat Ribs, Fight Alzheimer's & Learn More!

Did you know that June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Health Awareness month? For this reason (and many more) we chose the Alzheimer’s Association as our Organization of the Month for June. To keep funds as local as possible, one percent of our June sales will go directly to the South Central Wisconsin chapter specifically. We are also hosting a BBQ Rib Battle on June 21st to benefit this chapter. Talk about #SSEdoingcoolshit ! By attending this event your money will go directly towards fighting Alzheimer’s—and you’ll get to enjoy yummy ribs, sides, and drinks in the meantime!

Five million people are currently living with Alzheimer’s in the United States. That means that millions more are directly or indirectly affected by this devastating disease. We have been personally touched in our families, friend circles, and community. We have lost loved ones and are doing what we can to ensure that future loved ones are not lost to Alzheimer’s. There is currently no treatment and no cure for Alzheimer’s—so the battle continues. We recently got in touch with Special Events Coordinator Sara Neumann of the South Central Wisconsin chapter to gain some important insight about Alzheimer’s.

So what does the Alzheimer’s Association do?
The Alzheimer's Association is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s care, support and research. Their mission is to eliminate Alzheimer’s disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health.

What does the Alzheimer’s Association do that many people may not realize?
Every donation and dollar raised for the Alzheimer’s Association helps support local chapters by providing free educational programs and workshops to increase knowledge and support those facing the disease. The Alzheimer’s Association uses donated funds to offer a free nationwide 24/7 Helpline (800.272.3900) and online messages boards through ALZConnected to allow those with the disease and their caregivers to exchange information and build relationships with others. They also use donated funds for innovative projects in critical global research that hold the most potential to change the devastating trajectory of the disease.

Alzheimer’s is currently touching me in some way. Where do I go for support?
The South Central Wisconsin chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association can assist you greatly. They can assist anyone that needs care and support for Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. They provide free educational programs, support groups and other services to the community; many people have said to them, “Wow, I wish I would have known about the Alzheimer’s Association in this area sooner!” For more information go to the chapter’s website.

In what ways can people best support individuals with Alzheimer’s?
Supporting individuals with Alzheimer’s disease may be challenging and stressful. The Alzheimer’s Association has a wide range of resources for caregivers. You can meet with Alzheimer’s Association representatives in person and talk about your family’s individual needs, visit for online support, or call the 24/7 Helpline staffed by specialist and master’s-level clinicians who provide support, offer information and suggest referrals—all day, every day.

I want to get involved to help fight Alzheimer’s. How can I do this locally? 
There are many ways to get involved on a local level. We’ve listed a few below:
-Volunteer: become a committee member, help at a special event, or help with community outreach.
-Participate in any Alzheimer’s Association special events including the Longest Day
-Even simple steps like changing your Facebook profile’s to the “Go Purple for Alz” photo frame can help. You can make a difference just by posting on social media. Use the hashtags #TheLongestDay and #ENDALZ to spread your message!
-Attend any Alzheimer’s Association program and/or use a service and share the love.

So what is The Longest Day?
The Longest Day is a nationwide campaign that is all about love for those affected by Alzheimer’s. It’s the longest day of the year, which means there is more than enough daylight to make a difference! Organize an activity or join one that is already happening in your area. Participants create their own unique tribute that rallies people together around the cause. Together, we will raise funds and awareness for care and support while advancing research toward the first survivor of Alzheimer’s. We’re participating in this special day with our very own BBQ Rib Battle at Short Stack—an easy and fun way to chow down and make a difference in the lives of so many!

What is the difference between dementia and Alzheimer’s?
Sara likes to explain it this way: Look at dementia as an overall term that describes a set of symptoms associated with the decline in memory; Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 60-80% of these cases, and is the most common form of dementia. Many people think this is just a part of aging and that it is normal. But it is a disease process and can impact someone’s ability in every facet of the individual’s independence, not just in short-term memory. Everyone will need 24/7 care in the mid to late stages of the disease and is fatal in every situation. We hope to change the future for millions and find a breakthrough in research to keep our brains healthier and disease free.

This vision to end to Alzheimer’s is one shared by the millions affected. Ellen Fish (married to one of our BBQ Rib Battle chefs, Brett Fish) lost her father as well as other family members to Alzheimer’s, and is all too aware of how devastating this disease is. In the wake of this loss, she has stayed involved with the Alzheimer’s Association through their newsletters, social media, the Alzheimer’s walk, and her support this year with the BBQ Rib Battle. She is a shining example of how individuals can make a huge difference in fighting Alzheimer’s. While Ellen has experienced the devastating effects of Alzheimer’s with a loved one firsthand, she maintains hope for the future.

“While we can't yet control the outcome of this disease or who is going to be diagnosed with this disease or who is going to eventually be a caregiver for someone with this disease, we can do this,” she said. “We can fight, we can fund, we can laugh and gather and eat. And someday we can win."




Wisconsin Bike Fed riding on success

May is National Bike Month and as such, we're supporting the Wisconsin Bike Fed (BFW) as our Organization of the Month! With Bike to Work week kicking off this week, we couldn't think of a better organization to 1% of our May sales to. BFW is doing incredible work in Madison, Milwaukee and throughout the state of Wisconsin in terms of bike infrastructure, education, and training. As we move forward with our own Bike to Brunch movement at Short Stack, we couldn't be more excited to build a partnership with such an inspiring bike-friendly organization.

What is the Wisconsin Bike Fed?
According to their website, “The Wisconsin Bike Fed is the country's largest, statewide bicycle organization. We work with people from all around Wisconsin to make bicycling convenient, safe, accessible and fun.”

Besides WI Bike Week and riding in general, how can the community stay involved with BFW throughout the year?
BFW has tons of events including the fun Polish Moon Ride in Milwaukee, the challenging ride across Wisconsin in August, and the Saris Gala in October. To find out more, find BFW on social media for frequent updates and event listings.

So what is Wisconsin Bike Week?
Though May is recognized as National Bike Month with Bike to Work week in the middle of it, BFW promotes an incredible Wisconsin Bike Week in June to capitalize on the nicer weather in Wisconsin. This year, WI Bike Week will be June 3-11 and will be filled with bike rides, commuter stations, events, and more! If you’ve never tried to bike to work, bike to the grocery store, or bike at all, this week is great opportunity to get inspired en masse. Short Stack is partnering with BFW for this week as well—so stay tuned for how you can easily participate at SSE during this incredible week.

What’s the Wisconsin Bike Summit?
Each year, the Bike Fed puts on a Bike Summit at a different city in Wisconsin. This summit is a full day of learning: about advocacy, equity and cycling. This year’s Bike Summit was on Thursday May 4th, and Short Stack was fortunate enough to send four staff members to the summit. There were lectures by powerful leaders in the cycling community both in Wisconsin and beyond, raising questions and issues about cycling access and inclusivity, who is included (and more importantly excluded) and how advocacy groups throughout the state are actively working to change those realities. Stay tuned for next year's summit for your opportunity to attend!

What is the greatest need of BFW right now?
More members! Though BFW is already the biggest statewide bike advocacy group in the nation, bigger is definitely better. BFW currently has 7,000 members but are looking to hit a goal of 20,000!

Okay, I want to become a member. How do I join?
You can join here for only $35 which will get you a great magazine, discounts at bike stores and other cool shops (including SSE!) and the deep satisfaction of knowing that you’re making everyone’s ride happier and safer. If you’re interested in a lifetime membership or an organization membership, they have options for any/all of your needs as well.

What is something that BFW does that many may not know about?
Free Bike for Kids! The Bike Fed is partnering with Bike for Kids to get bikes in the hands of kids in the Madison area who might not otherwise be able to afford them. But they won’t stop there. Given the theory that if you give a kid a bike they will ride for a day but if you teach a kid how to fix a bike, they will ride forever, BFW is piloting a mobile bike repair program to under-bike-served neighborhoods around the community.

What are some goals of BFW and how can people get involved to achieve those goals?
The number one goal of BFW is just to get more people on bikes. BFW does that by creating better, safer, happier places—and a more congenial environment—in which to ride a bike. BFW is all about creating and nurturing a community of cyclists to make that happen. So get out there and ride, and invite others to join you. Strength in numbers, people. Ask your workplace to consider making changes to become a Bicycle Friendly Business or provide resources to cycle safely. You can also donate or volunteer to get involved directly.

**Huge thank you to Martha Laugen and Dave Cieslewicz for taking the time to collaborate with us and expand the energy of the Wisconsin Bike Fed to the greater community of Madison, Wisconsin, and the world.



Rape Crisis Center of Dane County - what you need to know


Rape Crisis Center of Dane County - what you need to know

April is Sexual Assault Awareness month and because of this we chose the Rape Crisis Center (RCC) of Dane County as our Organization of the Month. We will be donating 1% of our April sales to RCC to support the important work are doing in Dane County. This incredible organization does so much to provide resources to victims of sexual assault, as well as resources for their family and friends. Spreading awareness about sexual assault is critical and April has been filled with community events and fundraisers to do just that.


According to their website, RCC has been in Dane County since 1973 and “provides services to the survivors (and their family and friends) of all forms of sexual violence, including recent sexual assault, past sexual assault, incest, sexual harassment, and sexual exploitation.” But after sitting down to chat with two leaders from within the organization, we realized this is just the beginning of what RCC is facilitating in our community.


How is RCC working to make services accessible to all people in Dane County?

If you look at the RCC website, a striking feature is the access that comes with hosting a completely Spanish version of the website. Having this information available in Spanish is a critical piece to furthering access in our community. Additionally, RCC is spearheading brand new initiatives to increase access for African American women in Dane County; these projects include a book club and movie nights to encourage conversation about sexual assault.


What is something the community may not know about RCC?

The sheer number of programs RCC has and the amount of community outreach that RCC does is incredible and something that most may not know about.. From their 24-hour helpline to the outreach that happens within high schools every day, the chimera self defense courses and Safer Bar certification, RCC is infiltrating numerous avenues to spread their message and support of those impacted by rape and sexual assault.


What presence does RCC have in Dane County schools and why is this important?

With the normalization of sexual assault in society at large, RCC is working to eliminate stigma and victim blaming, breaking the myths that start early in life. They believe that this cultural shift needs to happen through education, and that education can and should start in schools. They have counselors available in high schools to facilitate change and work with students that need sexual assault resources. They also challenge policies such as dress codes that perpetuate a societal belief that the way that girls/women dress sexually provokes and distracts boys/men that can’t constrain themselves. The Game Changers program is another incredible movement promoting education in high schools. Check out this snazzy PSA about consent written and produced by high schoolers!


What presence does RCC have on college campuses in Madison?

Sexual assault is embedded in society and on college campuses specifically, which is why RCC is putting forth every effort to be present in the spaces where students need them most. In addition to affiliations and a campus office at UW Madison, RCC now has offices at Edgewood and Madison College as well. These offices have counselors and services that help student victims through what they are experiencing regarding rape and/or sexual assault and specialize in services specific to what college students experience. An example of this is having an advocate that will ensure the victim does not have to be in a classroom with their perpetrator, as well as having a counselor available for the victim at the hospital to help the student navigate decision making processes.


Where does prevention fit into the equation?

Because of the ongoing and current climate in regards to sexual assault and rape culture, much of what RCC does is reactionary. But prevention is an ever-increasing part of the dialogue and action as RCC is trying to also focus on prevention through education in schools and beyond. This includes classes, conversations, and general advocacy to get the word out about sexual assault. Have you seen these impactful billboards around the city? The hope and goal is that one day prevention will be the solution rather than a part of the solution.


What is Bystander Intervention and Training?

Bystander Intervention Training is educational programming that equips people to stand up and stand in, teaching how to respond to physical and verbal violence and in turn try to stop an attack.” There are several opportunities for this training through RCC including various chimera classes for different identities and Safer Bar Bystander Intervention for bar staff. These critical intervention classes pave the way for greater awareness and education within our community.


Apart from the suggestions on your website, what can people do on an individual or company level to support RCC?

Participating in events that spread awareness and raise money for sexual assault services. Challenge rape culture and the normalization of sexual assault. Train to become a helpline counselor. Participate in chimera classes to protect yourself and others. Check out the RCC website for more ideas about how you can get involved.



Don't forget to Be RAAD!


We are very excited for the upcoming month at Short Stack Eatery! This excitement stems primarily from our support of the Madison Chapter of Project HEAL as our Organization of the Month for March. One percent of March proceeds will go directly to this incredible new student organization on campus.


MARK YOUR CALENDARS! On Wednesday, March 29th, ringleader and founder of UW-Madison’s Project HEAL Hillary Dadio-Perrone (a Short Stack Eatery team member) is partnering with Kyira Hauer of the Reclaim Beauty project for an event you do not want to miss! A RAAD Night is an evening of discussion and awareness around eating and body image disorders. 


So what is Project HEAL?

Project HEAL at UW is a chapter of the national organization that raises awareness and provides financial assistance for eating disorder recovery. Project HEAL focuses on three basic concepts that support their mission, these being eating disorder recovery, body positivity, and empowerment. Project HEAL strives to help people feel like they are not the only ones fighting their kind of battle.

How does the Madison chapter of Project HEAL fit in?

The UW-Madison chapter of Project HEAL is brand new as of fall 2016, so in many ways they are still getting their feet off the ground. They have held several successful coloring nights where people are invited to color, de-stress, and engage in the sometimes challenging but important conversations about eating disorders and body image. Because Project HEAL is still relatively new to UW, they are still working to grow their membership base and get the word out about their mission.


Who can be a part of Project HEAL?

Project HEAL at UW is open to any student dealing with and anyone who knows someone dealing with an eating disorder. The main initiative is to be able to educate and talk about eating disorders and eradicate the taboo and stigma associated with them.


How can I get involved with Project HEAL?

As Project HEAL is still gaining momentum, simply passing on the information of Project HEAL is a great first step to participation. If you are a student, you can join the organization! Find out more about membership by emailing Hillary at Lastly, you don't have to be a student to  attend upcoming events such as the Inner Fire yoga fundraiser on March 7th as well as A RAAD Night on March 29th at Short Stack! 


How does my own life and experience fit in to Project HEAL?

Even if you don’t personally know someone with an eating disorder, knowledge and education proves to only be a positive thing. At some point in life, every person encounters the hard work required for maintaining body positivity, self-care, and self-esteem, and Project HEAL promotes all of those important aspects of being human.


What should I know about the upcoming event, A RAAD Night?

ProjectHEAL-Madison Chapter is partnering with Kinda Kreative and founder of the #reclaimbeauty project to bring you a RAAD evening of self-appreciation and stigma-stopping conversation. The night will feature our Not Photoshopped gallery and reception followed by some 'food for thought' conversation about relationships with food, the media, and self-care.

Enjoy cocktails and complimentary appetizers as we discuss the pillars of RAADReach out, Approach, Accept, and Describe in a small group settings. Be part of the movement that will break down the stigma and barriers in communication that exist around eating disorders, body image, and self-esteem.

What’s next for Project HEAL here in Madison?

While Hillary is a soon-to-be graduate, she has great visions for the future of the organization, both within the UW community and Dane county. It is her hope that student interest grows and that they are able to make ties within the Madison community, opening up the conversation further. She also hopes to establish more finite programming throughout the school year, in addition to the coloring nights that have already been established. Lastly, she wants to make resources more readily available to people by providing hard copies or 'toolkits' of community resources for anyone who may need them.




Show you care with Community Shares!

We know you feel it—the pressure to DO SOMETHING and MAKE POSITIVE CHANGE—now more than ever. But it can be more than a little overwhelming to try to figure out 1) what causes you care most about and 2) where your dollars will make the greatest possible impact.


For the month of February, we are certain we’ve found our personal answer to those tough questions. One percent of our February sales will go directly to Community Shares of Wisconsin (CSW)—just in time for their BIG SHARE on Tuesday March 7th!

We recently had the opportunity to sit down with Campaign Coordinator Victoria Boucher and Communications and Marketing Director Emily Winecke to get the inside scoop about what Community Shares provides for the Wisconsin community.


So what is Community Shares exactly?

Community Shares of Wisconsin is a coalition of non-profits that exist to find innovative solutions to advance social and environmental change in a sustainable way. Think of it as a one-stop shop where you can donate to 65 handpicked nonprofits in Wisconsin. If you want your donations to go to specific CSW members, you can do that too.


How do nonprofits become CSW members?

Great question! Community Shares does not restrict the number of members it has. Members are a combination of service providers (i.e. the Rape Crisis Center) and advocacy groups working towards a common goal of social justice and equity. Members must have an office in Wisconsin, but can be part of national organizations as well.



How does CSW get funded?

CSW receives donations through various fundraising campaigns. These include the Big Share as well as individual donations and private workplace campaigns. Workplace campaigns contribute significantly to the total funds given to CSW. Learn more about workplace campaigns here.


“Community Shares” sounds familiar. Have I heard this name before?

If you’ve gotten groceries at the Willy Street Co-Op or Capital Centre Market, you have probably been asked if you wanted to “CHIP” or “Round-Up” for Community Shares. At the Co-Op, this means adding 1% of your total purchase amount to be donated directly to CSW. While this would be just 30 cents for a $30 purchase, these amounts truly add up! Last year the CHIP program raised almost $240,000! At Cap Centre, this means rounding up to the next dollar, with that round-up amount going to CSW. Last year this program raised over $34,000.


What is the Big Share?

The Big Share is an online day of giving hosted by Community Shares of Wisconsin for nearly 70 local nonprofits dedicated to building an equitable, just community and protecting our environment. The Big Share is a fun, easy and flexible way to donate to and to learn more about organizations that help our community. In two years, The Big Share has raised over $500,000 from thousands of individual donors. Whether it’s making a donation, or sharing your support for social and environmental justice, The Big Share gives everyone the chance to build an equitable, sustainable community where all of our neighbors can thrive. Now more than ever, we believe The Big Share is an essential tool for making your voice heard.



The Big Share is Tuesday, March 7, 2017, 12:00 a.m.-11:59 p.m. Mark your calendars for an incredible day of generosity, partnership, and community building. Visit and check out #cswbigshare for more information.


Feeling inspired? Check out just some of the recent results of CSW to learn more about the incredible impact of CSW campaigns. Then hop on board with the Big Share on March 7th, tell everyone you know, and share this awesome video on your social media outlets!



Our January pick: Habitat for Humanity

Our Organization of the Month for January was Habitat for Humanity. While many have heard of this organization, few may know the extent of their community impact.

So what is Habitat for Humanity?

Habitat for Humanity of Dane County exists to build and rehabilitate houses with the goal of providing affordable housing in West Madison, Sun Prairie, Fitchburg, and Oregon. It is part of a larger international organization by the same name—each with the intent to disrupt the cycle of poverty housing.

How can I help out Habitat for Humanity?

We are donating 1% of our proceeds from January to this deserving organization. Donations for Habitat for Humanity will help to build houses and therefore build stronger communities in Dane Country. But monetary donations are just part of the bigger picture that makes Habitat for Humanity an operational non-profit. The organization is dependent on the generosity of volunteers that collectively put thousands of hours of physical labor into the construction sites. In 2016, Habitat for Humanity of Dane County logged over 65,000 volunteer hours. To give you some perspective, that’s over 2,000 days worth of hours—in just one year!

That sounds awesome and I want to help. How do I sign up?

Looking to have a hands-on impact in our community? We feel you! Habitat for Humanity makes it easy for individuals and groups alike to volunteer. There are often specific volunteer opportunities for the construction sites—many of which are coming up soon! So grab some teammates and help to (literally) build your community.

Short Stack had the great pleasure of joining forces with this inspiring organization for a day in fall 2015. You’ll find some photos of us below.

What other cool things does Habitat for Humanity do?

If you haven’t been to either of the ReStore locations (Odana Road or Monona Drive in Madison), you should check them out! ReStore sells new and used building items for discounted prices—with all proceeds from the stores benefitting Habitat for Humanity. They are also increasing their positive impact by decreasing their environmental impact through the brilliantly conscious Deconstruction Services. It’s basically recycling for the home—where your trash just might be someone else’s treasure. Pretty neat, huh?




At Short Stack we find it important to give back to the community in any way we can—and so our “Organization of the Month” philanthropy project was birthed. This project allows us to give 1% of our sales each month to an awesome local organization that we strongly support for their amazing work in our community. Planned Parenthood WI was our chosen beneficiary for the month of December and we were able to get the inside scoop about some of the greatest needs of the organization (thanks Lori!). Inform and be informed. Continue reading below for more info about Planned Parenthood in Wisconsin.

What are the greatest needs of Planned Parenthood right now? Early in January Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) announced a proposal to end federal funding for patients accessing high quality preventive and essential care at Planned Parenthood health centers in Wisconsin and across the country. This ‘defunding’ proposal is a component of a larger effort to repeal Obamacare in a special budget bill that is to be in Congress before February 21. Contact Speaker Ryan’s office to tell him that the public needs and supports Planned Parenthood. Visit to learn how to take action on this important issue.

What services do you offer that people may not know about? We provide sex education for youth and also work with parents to help them feel more comfortable and confident when talking to their children about sex and relationships. We also reach out to Latino youth and adults through “home health parties,” which encourage families to discuss sexuality and healthy relationships.

What makes Planned Parenthood a community asset in Madison specifically? We want everyone to have the knowledge, skills, and support necessary to make smart choices about their sexual and reproductive health so they can lead healthy, productive lives.

What can individuals do to support Planned Parenthood's mission? BE VISIBLE! Support us however you can – financially and/or take action, online or at local rallies.  #StandwithPP #WeWontGoBack. Write letters to the editor and contact your local elected officials and let them know you support PP.

Are current politics a threat to Planned Parenthood and if so, how can people make sure this potential threat is eliminated? By calling and emailing your elected officials that you are not supportive of defunding Planned Parenthood. Post your support of Planned Parenthood on your social media accounts. Speak Out Against Hate: Planned Parenthood’s patients are from all walks of life—immigrants, Black, Latinx, and LGBTQ –and all deserve access to health care in a safe and welcoming place. Wherever you are, declare your rejection of hate and show that you believe every single person is deserving of respect, dignity, and equal rights under the law.

Is there anything else you would like to share?  We will never back down and we will never stop fighting to protect access to care that so many people depend on. That includes essential reproductive health care, abortion care and education.




Don’t miss our first Wednesday brunch on December 21. You read that correctly—Short Stack will now be OPEN on Wednesdays from 6am-3pm.

In response to customers asking for more brunch time action, we are adding Wednesday to our all-day breakfast repertoire. The New Year will bring more new hours for SSE. We are giving our late night crew a much-deserved break from graveyard shifts on Thursdays and Fridays but we will continue to serve breakfast all through the night on Saturdays.

New Hours starting in 2017:
Wednesday 6am-3pm
Thursday & Friday 6am-midnight
Saturday 6am until Sunday 9pm (yes, the whole time!) 

Check Facebook for special Holiday Hours to finish off the year. We look forward to having you join us each and every Hump Day.



Delectable for DAIS: Buy Your Tickets Now!

As part of our continued commitment to support and invest in non-profits in our community, we are hosting an intimate four-course dinner with wine and cocktail pairings to benefit DAIS: Domestic Abuse Intervention Services.

Since 1977, DAIS has worked passionately and effectively to ensure the safety and well-being of domestic violence survivors and their families. DAIS helps to change societal attitudes that perpetuate violence and the abuse of power. Learn more about the organization that works to make Dane County a safer, more just, more equitable place for people who have experienced domestic violence, their children, and the people who love them.

Our four courses will be entirely market-driven, so we won’t know our full menu until closer to the event. If you’re able to attend, we encourage you to bring items from the DAIS Wish List to help keep the shelter running and make a huge difference in the lives of adults and children affected by domestic violence. For every item donated, guests will score a free raffle ticket and the chance to win great prizes.

If you’re a fellow business owner who wants to help us do some good in Dane County, learn more about corporate sponsorship opportunities. If you’re unable to join us on December 13 but still want to do some good, consider paying it forward and treat your family and friends to a night on the town by buying them a ticket. We hope to see you – don't forget to score your tickets here.




MAY 2016: Shaking up breakfast routines with

How does Short Stack Eatery stack up against its breakfast competition in Madison?

Very favorably.

Short Stack, which opened March 28 Downtown, offers a supremely cheerful and pleasant environment, and has a well-conceived, well-executed menu. Although the order-at-the-counter, find-your-own-table concept may not work well enough at busy times or if you have a large group.

Fortunately, on my recent visit, at noon on a Friday, there were only two of us and it was a cinch getting a table. The line was just long enough for us to make up our minds about a menu on which most everything calls your name. More here.



May 2014 Capital Times Review

Short Stack Eatery, a breakfast-centric place open for just a month in the triangle of Johnson, Henry and State streets, celebrates simple pleasures.

Last weekend, a quote on the chalkboard above the circular bar quoted "Parks and Recreation's" Ron Swanson: "I'm a simple man. I like pretty, dark-haired women and breakfast food."

Swanson would probably object to the dearth of red meat on Short Stack's relatively short menu, but he'd certainly approve of the portions. And Leslie Knope would be all over the fresh whipped cream on the pancakes. More here.



2014 Feature

An all-night breakfast spot is poised to go into the old Fontana location at the intersection of State and Johnson streets where first T. Sushi, then Chi used to be.

"We're super excited about it," said Sinéad McHugh, who plans to open Short Stack Eatery with business partner Alex Lindenmeyer by mid- to late February.

McHugh and Lindenmeyer, both 25, came up with the idea more than three years ago. In visiting other college towns, the high school friends found that nearly every one of them had a late night breakfast joint, McHugh said. More here.