Blog & News

Meta House Professional Looks Day a Success

Meta House Professional Looks Salon Day
Learning to Look and Feel Their Professional Best

From Meta House Career Specialist, Dawn Baldwin:

The Meta House Career Specialist, Dawn Baldwin, teamed up with Bottomless Closet’s Jeri Kavenaugh, Regency Beauty Institute’s Nancy L. Belau, and Robyn Vining Photographers with Help Portrait Milwaukee in January to provide a Professional Looks Salon Day for Meta House clients who are transitioning into the career world.  Some are returning to the career world, others are starting from scratch in their job readiness.  Many of the clients involved have never had the opportunity to walk into a salon.  It was an emotional day filled with excitement and tears.  All were grateful to have a day that they could relax and feel good about themselves.

Throughout the month of January, Meta House clients who are working on career transitions were given information about interviewing and dressing for success.  Clients were transported to Bottomless Closet, where they were allowed to shop for two full outfits that allow them to be career-ready.  Jeri Kavenaugh, who manages the Bottomless Closet, gave a workshop to the clients on how to pick out interview appropriate clothing.

On January 27, Regency Beauty Institute, with the help of Nancy L. Belau, allowed those clients to come in for career make-overs.  Robyn Vining Photography set up at the salon to take headshots and glamour photos of the women after their make-overs.  Clients wore their new career clothing from the Bottomless Closet.  Jersey Mikes, which is stationed next door to Regency Beauty Institute in Greenfield, provided free lunches for the event.

Meta House clients want to thank these institutions for helping them and giving them such an amazing experience.  Photos from this day will be used to create professional social media accounts and resumes with the clients.

2nd Annual Jan Rhodes Scholarship Application is Now Open!

The Jan Rhodes Scholarship is an opportunity for Meta House to recognize one client or graduate each calendar year who has made significant progress toward achieving economic self-sufficiency. Both academic achievements and/or recent employment would make a woman eligible for the Jan Rhodes Scholarship.

Who is eligible to apply? Current clients and women who have graduated within the past two years are eligible to apply. Applicants must currently be enrolled in school, be actively participating in classes to obtain a GED or have accepted a job offer / started a new job within the past three months.

One Jan Rhodes Scholar will be chosen each year. The winner will receive $250 toward qualifying educational expenses (like tuition or books) or in the form of a gift certificate to purchase work attire.

This application is due to Dawn Baldwin by Friday, March 27, 2015.

The scholarship was created in honor of Jan Rhodes, who dedicated 20 years of her life to volunteering and Board Service on behalf of the women and children served at Meta House.

Please click this link to download the fillable application form:  Jan Rhodes Scholarship Application.

If you have questions or would like to submit electronically, please contact Dawn Baldwin at (414) 977-5811 or email

Consumer Peer Program Enhances Client Experience

Meta House is grateful to receive support from the Greater Milwaukee Foundation (GMF) for our Consumer Peer Specialist program. Determined to be a best practice based on outcomes from a three-year pilot project, Families Come First, Consumer Peer Specialists are integral members of a woman’s treatment team.

As self-identified former users of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse, mental health or co-occurring services, Consumer Peers can uniquely relate to current program participants by sharing their own experiences and providing encouragement and inspiration. Personal experiences are fortified through formal training as a Wisconsin State Certified Peer Specialist.

Consumer Peers engage clients during intake and entrance into residential treatment. They help clients understand information and procedures and provide assurance to women and mothers that they will be treated with dignity and respect. They provide mentoring to help clients make healthy decisions and offer support and motivation to meet recovery goals, encouraging perseverance through residential treatment and continuation onto the outpatient program. In addition to supporting engagement in treatment, Consumer Peers act as advocates for client needs and interests, provide transportation and accompany clients to appointments.

Their companionship promotes stability, independence and confidence. By providing empathetic support and modeling successful recovery, Consumer Peers increase retention and engagement by women in Meta House’s treatment program. Research shows that the longer a woman stays in treatment, the greater her chances of maintaining long-term sobriety. Consumer Peers empower clients to get the treatment they need to attain long-lasting, successful recovery from substance abuse disorders.

Four Consumer Peers have been working in both the Residential and Outpatient programs to engage and support clients in their treatment. New this year are two Consumer Peer-led groups – a play group in the residential program and a group for participants in the Family Drug Treatment Court.

Clients have responded positively to the bond they develop with their Consumer Peer, making the program incredibly valuable for giving women the support they need to succeed in treatment and thrive in early recovery.







Twice as many chefs at the next Food for Thought dinner, in a format that lets diners roam

From: JSOnline, MKE Diner blog
By: Carol Deptolla

It’s a chance to taste food that holds meaning for those who prepared it and to raise funds for charity at the same time. Thirteen Milwaukee chefs will join forces for the next Food for Thought dinner, on Feb. 23 at Anodyne Coffee Roasting Co., to benefit Meta House.

In a format that departs from the usual dinner, guests will visit the chefs at stations, where each will present a small plate that represents a pivotal moment in his or her life. In the past, diners were seated for up to six courses by six chefs at Food for Thought dinners.

“Every single dish that will be on display has a deep-rooted feeling,” said Thi Cao, a founder of the chefs group. The menu will be announced closer to the date of the dinner.

Taking part in the February event are chefs Thomas Hauck of c.1880, Justin Carlisle of Ardent, Dan Jacobs of Odd Duck, Gregory León of Amilinda, Andrew Miller of Salotto Zarletti, Cole Ersel of Wolf Peach, Zachary Espinosa of Harbor House, Jan Kelly of Meritage, Joe Muench of Maxie’s, Blue’s Egg and Story Hill BKC, Gil Petrovic of Engine Company No. 3, Thi Cao of Buckley’s, Nell Benton of the National and Justice Neal of Blue Jacket.

The event, “Cooking From the Heart,” is $80; drinks are separate. Tickets are available online. The dinner begins at 6 p.m. at Anodyne in its large Walker’s Point cafe and roastery, 224 W. Bruce St.

Meta House helps women end their addictions, and aids them with parenting, work and schooling; Food for Thought is a collective of chefs holding regularly scheduled fundraising dinners for charities.

Full article available here:

Meta Housing Gets a New Roof In-Kind

From National Roofing Partners:

NRP Gives Back

Khary Penebaker, President of a National Roofing Partners affiliated commercial roofing company, Roofed Right America LLC, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, sat with company CEO Ricardo Herrera as he blinked back tears, turning his face away from his tablemates. Meta House’s annual breakfast featured graduates of the substance abuse treatment program who shared their testimonials. Their stories took on the drumbeat cadence of barely functioning, hitting bottom, navigating despair, then, finally, the stirrings of hope as a Meta House apartment – redemption – opened up. The best part? The women got to bring their children to live with them.

As the morning went on, Penebaker and his colleagues grasped the full scope of the drug and alcohol crisis crippling so many families in their community. Following a touching video testimonial by a Meta House graduate and family member of one of Penebaker’s partners, they choked up.

“We all just looked at each other, like, ‘We have got to be better stewards in our community.’ It’s one thing to be altruistic and treat employees well, but that’s internal,” says Penebaker.

When they could bring themselves to speak they made a decision: they would reroof this amazing place. Forget the discounted estimate they had recently written up. Now they were here, witnessing Meta House in action. The roof would be their gift.

National Roofing Partners Gives Back

A few months ago NRP asked its membership of commercial roofing companies to share their stories of corporate giving with promises that one company would win top billing on the NRP blog with its charity of choice.

Dale Tyler, NRP President, admires companies that support their communities. Tyler realized, long ago, that giving is contagious and affirming.

“It was heartwarming to read the entries to our contest and to witness the generosity and acts of kindness going on behind the scenes at so many of our network companies. Everyone in this industry knows it is such a warm, family-oriented one. But from the outside, sometimes I think people only see the fruits of our labor, not the fruits of our spirits,” says Tyler, whose network of roofing partners spans the nation and offers a single point of contact for corporate clients in need of leak detection, building envelope sealing, roof repair or maintenance, lightweight concrete, or general portfolio maintenance.

Meta House Receives A New Roof

“Khary and his partners freed up tens of thousands of dollars to better serve these families. Their generous donation has made such a difference to the women and children we serve,” says Amy Lindner, President and CEO of Meta House. She praises the roofing company and crew for investing in the women and children who will live in the facility so much more comfortably now. She describes Meta House as “a safe harbor where women can rest, recover and get their lives together” without the pressure of traditional household stressors

Penebaker and his partners attended the breakfast in May and began the reroofing job in June.

“We came back to work and told the crew we needed them to work this one weekend. No one asked for overtime. Not a single person said no, which was awesome. They just said okay, they came in, and they did a great job,” says Penebaker with a smile.

The Roofed Right America LLC  team took on the substantial project, which fell at the peak of the summer season. The photographs here feature the Meta House’s reroofing. It was a complete tear off requiring sheet metal installation, pushing the job to last four days. The manufacturer, John Manville, generously donated the membrane.

Support Meta House

Lindner describes Meta House as a holistic substance abuse treatment program for women with a special focus on ending the intergenerational cycle of addiction. The agency offers inpatient residential services, outpatient treatment and transitional housing, complete with 27 apartment units for women and their families. The new roof was installed on the largest of the transitional housing buildings, home to 11 individual apartment units. Clients typically reside in Meta Housing between one and two years with their families while they work to build a life in recovery and become economically self-sufficient. While at Meta Housing, women work to complete GEDs, enroll in job training programs, take parenting classes, and complete substance abuse treatment.

Felicia, a Meta House resident, describes Meta House’s impact this way, “(Transitional) Housing gives my family stability, structure and safety. It makes putting recovery to work in the real world a reality, but it gives me a chance to continue working on my parenting… and (I can) figure out next steps like employment. Meta House saved my life and my daughters’ lives. They’ve shown me that a new life is possible. We now have a healthy, joyous life, free from the power of addiction.”

Donations can be made at

For inspiration, resources and more information about Meta House, click here.

Meta House Board of Directors Honored by Nonprofit Center of Milwaukee

Meta House Board of Directors Honored by Nonprofit Center of Milwaukee

The Meta House Board of Directors was honored December 4, 2015 with the Nonprofit Excellence Award for Board Governance.

The “Spirit of the Nonprofit Sector” event, which in 2014 celebrated its 20th anniversary, drew hundreds Milwaukee’s most prominent nonprofit leaders. The awards celebration highlighted innovation and exceptional organizational performance in five categories: Board Governance (Meta House); Collaboration (Habitat for Humanity of Waukesha County); Community Organizing (League of Women Voters of Milwaukee County); Diversity (Sixteenth Street Community Health Centers); and Fiscal Integrity (SaintA).

Brent Tischler, Meta House Board Chair, noted in his acceptance remarks that, “this recognition gives us the chance to celebrate the accomplishments Meta House has made thus far, but it also comes with great responsibility to continue this vital work.” Meta House President and CEO Amy Lindner said of the Board, “I’m so grateful to have the opportunity to work with our Board; they are immensely committed to delivering the promise that recovery is possible to so many women and families in our community.”


The Nonprofit Center of Milwaukee advocates for and advances the mission of nonprofit organizations in the greater Milwaukee region.

Meta House Board Member Debra Koenig Accepts Wisconsin Hero Award from First Lady Tonette Walker

Meta House Board Member Debra Koenig Accepts Wisconsin Hero Award from First Lady Tonette Walker

Meta House Board member Debra Koenig on November 25 accepted the Wisconsin Heroes Award, presented by Wisconsin First Lady Tonette Walker.

The Wisconsin Heroes award honors an individual each month in recognition of his/her exceptional compassion and commitment to making Wisconsin a better place to be through volunteerism, advocacy and strategic community building.

Debra was joined at an intimate award presentation by an array of her support team, including family, dear friends, colleagues and Meta House staff. In her acceptance remarks, Debra noted how inspired she is to be advocating for the women and families of Meta House who every day work diligently to overcome addiction and build a foundation upon which to grow and prosper.

At the ceremony, First Lady Walker read some of the narrative included in Meta House President & CEO Amy Lindner’s nomination of Debra, “Debra has demonstrated a prolific philanthropic commitment to the Milwaukee community by engaging with organizations such as the Milwaukee Jewish Day School, Carmen High School of Science and Technology, Growing Minds, Inc. and Meta House to make a meaningful difference.” She continued, “Debra’s focused, strategic approach to nonprofit leadership has impacted organizations and inspired those with whom she’s worked… Debra has made an indelible mark on Meta House and the greater Milwaukee community. Her lasting impressions on those she touches speak volumes of her character, one certainly deserving the title of “hero.””

In recognition and appreciation for her work, Debra joined the First Lady at a Governor’s Mansion celebration earlier this month.

Debra Koenig is a shareholder and member of the Tax and Employee Benefits team at Godfrey & Kahn, S.C.. She’s been on the Meta House Board of Directors since 2009, of which she was elected to chair beginning in 2015.

More information about the Wisconsin Heroes award is available at

Group photoAward photo



Meta House Board Member Raejean Kanter Recognized by BizTimes for Lifetime Achievement

Meta House Board Member Raejean Kanter Recognized by BizTimes for Lifetime Achievement

Raejean Kanter was honored November 24 at a BizTimes Media luncheon as its 2014 Nonprofit Excellence Awards Lifetime Achievement winner. Raejean has been a tireless advocate and Board member for Meta House since 2009.

Taken from BizTimes
By: Alysha Schertz

Raejean Kanter

Raejean Kanter, 68, serves as the executive vice president of The Falk Group Public Relations – but her expertise and generosity extend far into the community. For the past 40 years, Kanter has dedicated her life to helping others. In the process, she has improved the lives of thousands of people throughout southeastern Wisconsin.

Kanter was the founding director of the Forest County Potawatomi Community Foundation, and during her seven-year tenure, the organization gave more than $3 million to local charities annually.
She has also chaired or co-chaired fundraising campaigns for Go Red for Women, Repairers of the Breach, Circle of Women (YWCA), St. Ann’s Center for Intergenerational Care, Susan G. Komen and many others.
Kanter’s knowledge and expertise have guided other nonprofit organizations with basic leadership needs, and through economic hardships and rebranding initiatives.
“Raejean is a renegade for the voiceless; a compassionate soul. She inspires me to reach for greater heights and believe I have a voice that can truly be heard within our community,” said Michelle Schuerman, executive director of southern Wisconsin at the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
Kanter believes in giving not only of her time and talent, but also of her treasure. She has made significant monetary donations to several organizations and is also in the process of building the James Kanter Family Foundation in honor of her late husband, Jim.
Raejean joined The Falk Group in 2011 and has since helped launch “Light Shine” a service that matches businesses with nonprofits to benefit the organization and the community.
With all of this, Kanter still finds time to transform herself into Mrs. Claus each holiday season to visit with children at local nonprofits.
“Raejean is truly special and our community is stronger, better, kinder and richer for the work that she does and the people she inspires,” said Joel Brennan, executive director of Discovery World.

Meta House a BizTimes Media Finalist for Large Nonprofit of the Year

Meta House Named a Finalist for BizTimes Large Nonprofit of the Year Award
BizTimes Media announced the finalists for its inaugural Nonprofit Excellence Awards Program.
More than 100 nominations were submitted for the first year of the program.The program is designed to shine a light on the community impact of southeastern Wisconsin businesses and nonprofits. The program also salutes the work of for-profit organizations, executives and professionals who donate their time, talent and treasure to community causes.

The finalists for the program are:

Nonprofit Organization of the Year (Small) * College Possible * Make A Difference Wisconsin * Rebuilding Together Greater Milwaukee

Nonprofit Organization of the Year (Large) * Junior Achievement of Wisconsin * Meta House * Penfield Children’s Center

Nonprofit Collaboration of the Year * Discovery World & Journey House * Faye McBeath Foundation, Hunger Task Force, the United Way of Greater Milwaukee, Milwaukee Public Schools, Boys & Girls Clubs & Salvation Army * Menomonee Valley Partners & Urban Ecology Center

Nonprofit Executive of the Year * Bonnie Bellehumeur, president of Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin * Lynda Kohler, president of SHARP Literacy Inc. * Sister Edna Lonergan, president of St. Ann Center for Intergenerational Care

Nonprofit Social Enterprise * GPS Education Partners * The Water Council * United Community Center

Corporate Citizen of the Year * Emery’s Cycling Triathlon & Fitness * Hunzinger Construction Company * Potawatomi Hotel & Casino

Corporate Volunteer of the Year * Kevin Behl, Madison Medical Affiliates * Peggy Groth, Tri City National Bank * Maureen McGinnity, Foley Lardner LLP

In-Kind Supporter of the Year * Core Creative * Schroeder Solutions * WISN-TV Channel 12

Next Generation Leadership * Jesse Daily, CORE Consulting * Pam Evason, Windermere Wealth Advisors * Dimas Ocampo, R.C. Insurance Services Inc.

Lifetime Achievement * Norman Doll, Pieper Electric * Sylvia DuBois, Standard Process Inc. * Raejean Kanter, Falk Group Public Relations

The finalists were selected by BizTimes Media with consultation from Amalia Schoone, president of the Association of Fundraising Professionals of Southeastern Wisconsin, and Jill Van Calster, president and CEO of Donors Forum of Wisconsin.

The finalists will be celebrated and the winners will be announced during a Nov. 4 breakfast and ceremony at Potawatomi Hotel & Casino Events Center in Milwaukee.

The awards presentation will be preceded by a panel discussion about the status of southeastern Wisconsin’s nonprofit industry and strategies for connecting business leaders and companies to charities. The panelists will include: Thomas Shannon, president and CEO of The BrightStar Wisconsin Foundation Inc.; Ken Hanson, founder and CEO, Hanson Dodge Creative; Alan Petelinsek, CEO of Power Test Inc.; and Maria Nicholas Groves, director of business development at The Novo Group and president of Feeding Mouths, Filling Minds. The panel discussion will be moderated by Kimberly Kane, founder and president, Kane Communications Group.