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What does Riverview Gardens do?

Riverview Gardens provides people in need the opportunity to be a part of their own solution by participating in ServiceWorks, our transformative job-training program focused on building and enhancing transferable work skills.

How did ServiceWorks job-training program start?

It started with a can of paint. Then Executive Director of COTS Transitional Homeless Shelter, Ms. Sahotsky sought to engage men and women experiencing homelessness who had little or no community involvement. She worked with a local home improvement store to donate paint, and otherwise-unengaged residents began painting the walls of their shelter. The transformation of attitudes was immediate. She expanded resident engagement, and ServiceWorks job-training program was born. In order to scale up the effectiveness and positive impact of our job-training program for our region, all ServiceWorks and all job-training functions were transferred from COTS to Riverview Gardens. Riverview Gardens was created in 2012 not only to respond to many of the community’s critical needs, but also to change the paradigm for addressing them. Riverview Gardens is transforming lives, land and non-profit ideas.

Why Riverview Gardens?

The seed for Riverview Gardens grew out of Executive Director Cindy Sahotsky’s participation in the inaugural class of the executive Social Innovation Leadership Experience (SILE) sponsored by Marquette University, the J. J. Keller Foundation and the U.S. Venture Fund for Basic Needs. Poverty and homelessness have many causes and cannot be resolved through shelter alone. Some source of income is required to be eligible for transitional housing, and it is often impossible to secure employment without a current address and recent work history.

How long has Riverview Gardens been around?

Riverview Gardens was founded in December 2011.

What services are offered at Riverview Gardens?

As a non-profit organization, Riverview Gardens provides job training and related programs to help people be a part of their own solution and get out of poverty for good.

How is Riverview Gardens different from other social service organizations?

Riverview Gardens seeks to be a supportive partner to other social service organizations and a new model for addressing social issues. Collaboration is essential to the success of our vision, other organizations’ goals, and the community at large.

Riverview Gardens will be a financially self-supporting venture. Riverview Gardens recognizes the key to sustainably pursuing its social goals rests in its ability to financially support itself. To be successful, Riverview Gardens will also help ensure other organizations with complementary goals are able to continue their pursuit.

Engaging people in community stewardship extends beyond the boundaries of the Riverview Gardens property. Working hard and working together cultivates personal and community growth.

What are Riverview Gardens’ social enterprises?

Riverview Gardens has five social enterprises that support unlimited job-training opportunities and provide revenue for mission support, including an urban farm, hydroponics greenhouse, community center and park space for events, bakery and downtown building.

With what organizations does Riverview Gardens collaborate?

Riverview Gardens collaborates with dozens of social service organizations to provide job training for their clients. We also collaborate with over 80 employers who hire ServiceWorks graduates.

Who owns the Riverview Gardens property?

Riverview Gardens, Inc., a non-profit organization owns the property.

What is Riverview Gardens’ tax status?

Riverview Gardens is a non–profit 501(c)3 organization and gifts are tax deductible in accordance with regulations.

Where does Riverview Gardens get its money?

As a non-profit social enterprise, Riverview Gardens is 100% privately funded; we do not participate in United Way funding or receive funding from state, local or federal government. Going forward, revenue generated from social enterprises, along with strategic grant funding for program enhancements, will fund daily operations.

What is Riverview Gardens’ relationship with Stone Cellar?

Stone Cellar at Riverview Gardens leases the Community Center to host private and public events. Stone Cellar hires ServiceWorks graduates, buys produce from farming operations and gives back to our mission.

How does someone apply for the programs at Riverview Gardens?

For more information about any of Riverview Gardens’ programs, please contact Kristen Reynolds at 920-840- 3336 or [email protected]

Does Riverview Gardens hire the people it serves?

With specific funding, Riverview Gardens hires ServiceWorks graduates as transitional employees in limited capacities to bridge the gap and provide a source of income for graduates as we assist them in obtaining employment with our community partners.

Does Riverview Gardens offer outside job placement?

We assist ServiceWorks graduates who need help in securing stable employment through the over 80 employers who partner with Riverview Gardens. These employers are from a variety of industries and hire ServiceWorks graduates for a variety of positions.

Does Riverview Gardens accept compost and yard waste as donation?

Unfortunately we do not accept general public compost and yard waste because we are USDA Certified Organic.

How are Riverview Gardens’ programs successful?

Riverview Gardens is unique among organizations serving people with barriers to stable employment. Addressing the basic needs and self-sufficiency of our marginalized community members is not only the right thing to do, but it enhances the vibrancy and accessibility of our community. There is dignity in work. It helps people stabilize, gain self-confidence and get them back on their feet. Finding and retaining employment may be the most important factor in reducing recidivism for previously incarcerated persons. We provide valuable transferable work skills in a trauma-informed, no fail setting that allows participants to work on building healthy workplace relationships.

What are the plans for the future?

We continue educating community members about the impact of ServiceWorks and work with local social service agencies to get their clients involved in our transformative programming. In addition, we are building out our social enterprises to provide long-term financial sustainability for our mission.