Our History

In 1992, the Polk County Aging Department began a three-year planning process required by the state of Wisconsin. Part of the planning process was to meet with other county departments serving elderly and disabled people and to identify the unmet needs of this population.

The Elderly Taskforce was established as a result of this meeting. Its purpose was to find ways to fill the “gaps” that were present in the service delivery system already in place. Information regarding a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation program called Interfaith Caregivers was presented to the Elderly Taskforce as a way to address some of the problems that existed.  Interfaith Caregivers of Polk County, Inc. was conceived as a result.

The Elderly Taskforce then applied for a $25,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. This eighteen month grant was awarded in 1995 to start a volunteer caregiving program in Polk County.

Our timeline

1995  

  • A Board of Directors was established
  • Mission Statement and By-laws written
  • Articles of incorporation approved for non-profit charitable status 501 (c)(3).
  • First full time director, Carol Medchill was hired in December.



Adequate funding for a non-profit is always a concern. The Program Director became a part-time position at the end of the grant. The program transitioned through several directors. For a while, two church coordinators shared the responsibility on a volunteer basis.


 2000  

  • Board member, Shirley Johnson, was hired and worked 10 hours per week as director.
  • The Office was a 200-square- foot donated space in the Uhrhammer Insurance Agency in St. Croix Falls.


2004  

  • Current program director Karen Krupa was hired in June for 20 hours/week. The budget for the year was $15,000. Kay Foulke volunteered to help in the office.
  • The Director’s hours were expanded to 30 hrs/week as the program received more donations and added more clients and volunteers.


2005

  • The first direct mail financial support appeal went out to a limited number of people in the community.


2006

  • In May, Kay Foulke, the volunteer coordinator, was “promoted” to a paid position for 15 hr/week. She assisted with the growing needs of clients and volunteers. This position would soon be expanded to 20 hrs/week until she retired in May 2010.
  • Our database for direct mail appeal expanded to 3400 by adding a limited number of Polk County tax records.


 2007

  • A Program Assistant was hired for 10 hr/week. First we hired Kristine Brede, then later, Muriel Pfeifer. Our bookkeeper, Marilyn Schmalz, currently holds that position.
  • Experience Works, a federal program, provided one office assistant for 20 hrs/ week.
  • Annual direct mailing appeal expanded to 7400 by addition of more tax records.


2008

  • Experience Works provides two more office assistants for 20 hrs/week.
  • Program assistant, Marilyn’s hours expanded to 20hr/week.
  • In September, we moved our office to Balsam Lake in the Polk Business Center. We rent approximately 800 square foot room.
  • Annual direct mailing database expanded to 15,000 records.


 2009

  • We added our first AmeriCorp member to the staff. Sheila Junso was responsible for community outreach. This one year position went from September 1, 2009 to August 31, 2010.
  • Experience Works provides one more office assistant now totaling three.
  • Annual direct mailing database expanded to 18,100 records.


 2010

  • In June, office was expanded into another room to double office space. We joined the “social network” on Facebook.
  • Kay Foulke retires as Program Assistant.
  • Sheila was added to staff as Program Assistant working 30 hr/week helping coordinate clients and volunteers.
  • Tammy Berg became our second AmeriCorps Member starting in September through August 2011. She worked with churches, businesses, schools and other groups to recruit more volunteers to serve our growing client list. She helped with phone calls in the office.
  • In November we celebrated our 15th anniversary with an “Open House.”
  • Additional names from the 2008 voter registration added to database for annual mailing which has now expanded to 19,400 records.


2011

  • In October, Tammy Berg joins the staff as a Program Assistant.  She continues her communications activities. Tammy begins sending a monthly e-newsletter to volunteers.
  • Tax records for the last three townships in county added to annual mailing database, now 22,000 records.


2012

  • We established the Don Getschel Volunteer Driver Award. The award honored the memory of a beloved volunteer driver, charter supporter and Board member. The first recipients were Nancy Cummings of Luck and Malissia Algeo of Clayton.
  • Tammy Berg expands her hours to 35 hrs/week and will be responsible for staff coordination.
  • March quarterly newsletter sent to limited number via email to reduce mailing costs.
  • In April, Patti Nelson is added as 4th Program Assistant. She is responsible for transportation requests.
  • On-line donation capability was made available in June via Razoo Foundation.
  • The first Summer Intern, Arianna Schultz, a journalism student at UW-River Falls, joined staff in July and August.
  • Our first WITC Intern, Allison Egan, a joined Interfaith in August, 2012.


2013

  • We named David Michaelson of Balsam Lake and Dawn Rambo of Luck the Don Getschel Volunteer Drivers.
  • Patti Nelson’s hours were expanded to 35/week in March.
  • Interfaith Caregivers participated in the first giveBIG Osceola event: We received a total $28,635.46 in donations.
  • Arianna Schultz rejoined the staff as a paid summer intern. She used her journalism expertise to promote Interfaith Caregivers of Polk County.
  • In September a WITC intern, Lydia Gruber, began her internship.


 2014

  • We named Jane Smith of Balsam Lake and Sheila Berklund of Luck the Don Getschel Volunteer Drivers.
  • In February, Tammy Berg left to pursue other interests. In March, Michele Gullickson as Development Coordinator and will take a role in program development.
  • Director Karen began mentoring Interfaith Caregivers of St Croix County in an effort to help their program.
  • We again participated in the giveBIG Osceola, earning $30,176.
  • In October, Lynelle LaVenture of Frederic joined the staff as a Volunteer Wisconsin AmeriCorp member. She worked through August 2015.


2015

  • We named Susan Kellogg of Milltown and Dave Anderson of St Croix Falls the Don Getschel Volunteer Drivers Award.
  • In April, Patricia Fiands, began working under the federal “Experience Works” program. She moved in July and began working in Burnett County.
  • We participated in the first giveBIGSCV, the new name which included non-profits from the Amery & St Croix Falls area. We netted an amazing $49,730!
  • Karen mentored Spring Valley Seniors Staying Put, Inc. of Pierce County, as they began their program assisting seniors in their community.
  • On October 29, the office moved to a larger facilities at the EMS/Ambulance Building in Milltown.
  • Sheila Junso retired. She had been a staff member since September 2009; serving first as an AmeriCorp Volunteer.
  • Tammy Berg returned to Interfaith Caregivers as the program’s Lead Assistant.


2016

  • Jenni Fisher became an office volunteer through the W2 program. She blessed our program with creativity and enthusiasm.
  • We named Wilma Gray of Luck and Kathy Kienholtz of Milltown the Don Getshel Volunteer Driver Award winners.
  • In April we participated in the second giveBIGSCV. We raised $45,022 from our amazing supporters.
  • In May we honored our volunteers with a “You’re a Rock Star” themed party.
  • In June we hired Luann Olson of Luck as the Financial and Program Assistant for 21 hours/week. We promoted Marilyn  to Financial Supervisor.