EAU CLAIRE Wis. (WLAX/WEUX) – A non-profit in Eau Claire has been working to take on some of the biggest social issues impacting the community for years. Community members are coming together to raise money for JONAH, a non-profit tackling many social issues. Its name stands for Joining Our Neighbors Advancing Hope.

“We partner with our congregations, the community, and a number of other organizations, and it just takes a lot of a lot of effort to keep people doing this work.”

Lynn Buske says that effort to tackle issues like environmental problems, affordable housing, and even the criminal justice system, starts with setting differences aside.

“We don’t get involved in social justice work because of partisan beliefs or because of individual preferences. The whole goal is to bring people together around a value that’s bigger than themselves so that we can work together despite any disagreements we have, and work toward that larger goal.”

JONAH works as the Chippewa Valley chapter of a bigger non-profit.

“We were founded 15 years ago by our parent organization called Wisdom out of Milwaukee, and they’ve been around for a lot longer, and they needed some social justice work in this area.”

And Julia Bennker says it was important to put this fundraiser together to ensure that work continues.

“We decided that the most important thing was to get a goal for the event, which is to highlight the changes we’ve been making and the changes we’d like to see happening.”

She says a hundred forty people are expected at the fundraiser.

“Ticket sales alone have been over $4,000.”

And Buske says this year it’s different.

“Our last two fundraisers and the last two years, we had virtual fundraisers and it really wasn’t the same. We’re a relationship-based organization, so that relationship feeling wasn’t there. And we honestly didn’t raise as much money either.”

The non-profit says it always welcomes new members to help continue its work.