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6/30/2020 A message from Jackson

Dear Catholic Charities Employees,

During this pandemic and economic crisis, I have witnessed examples of some of the best that humanity has to offer. Unfortunately, the last few weeks have also been a reminder that we are still painfully struggling with long-standing and deep-seeded issues related to injustice, inequality, and fairness.

Let me be very clear and upfront to our Black and African American employees, we hear you and we see you. I want you to know you are valued and loved members of the Catholic Charities’ family. We need you to know you are not hurting alone. That I and others are hurting with you. I cannot begin to imagine the sense of anger, fear and exhaustion you might be feeling, but please know that you have my support. My heart and ears are open to learning and understanding, to helping everyone heal, to become better, and to making our organization better. But I don’t feel like it ends there. There are others who have been overlooked, marginalized, or discriminated against for many years.
I would also like to celebrate the impact and successes that LGBTQ+ staff, volunteers and clients have had on the mission of Catholic Charities. Please know that I see you. I value you. And I support you with all my heart. I ask that you join me in taking a moment to reflect on the efforts, struggles, and dignity of all individuals who consider themselves part of this community. And, if you’ll bear with me, I feel like it still doesn’t end here.

Catholic Charities employs and serves many individuals who are non-Black people of color, to include individuals who identify as mixed-race, or who are part of mixed-race marriages or mixed-race families through adoption and other circumstances. I know that many of you are struggling with frustrations, fear, anger, and other emotions. I understand that while the current state of the world is extremely difficult, many of you and your families have been dealing with these feelings and challenges your entire lives. I want you to know that you have my unconditional support.

Let me take a moment to speak to just our white employees. Our words and feelings mean something, but they are not enough. We need to take specific actions now and well into the future to continue to make Catholic Charities a more inclusive culture. Please don’t rush into a conversation about race. I encourage all of you to take a step back and challenge yourself to learn more and understand more around racism. Racism can be unintentional; but we need to be intentional in our learning about it on an ongoing basis. Here are just a few ideas that we are working on, and please know that we have a long way to go:

1. Please know this: Catholic Charities condemns all forms of racism, inequality and discrimination from violent to the casual to the political. This isn’t just about the shocking incidents captured on video. It’s also about the quiet discrimination that happens every day. My expectation is that each of you will embrace the diversity of our Catholic Charities team. Look for us to be offering opportunities for learning ways for us to do more towards creating a better workspace. We’ll also be creating a confidential communications channel to allow employees to voice their concerns and suggestions.
2. There are several areas where we can continue the conversation on racism, inequality, and justice. These include management meetings, New Employee Orientation, our recruiting website, interviews with candidates, the employee handbook, and much more. As we go forward, we will share the specifics of our ideas.
3. Listening Sessions. We haven’t equipped our managers to have these types of conversations, yet. I understand that depending on the program, conversations about racism and inequality may not be appropriate in certain settings. Look for future listening sessions (Zoom calls) hosted by me.
4. We recently unveiled our new values of Hunger, Unity, and Grit. We will look for new ways to showcase these values and discuss desired behaviors throughout all levels of Catholic Charities.

One of the core beliefs from the Catholic Social Teachings that guide our work is The dignity of the human person, that all people are sacred, made in the image and likeness of God. Let’s recognize and be strong allies to those who feel marginalized and who have historically faced social barriers. As always, feel free to reach out to me by email or phone at 608-556-1404.
I am grateful for all of you. Thank you.

6/12/2020 A message from Jackson

Dear Catholic Charities Employees,

1. Catholic Charities’ Values: I am excited to unveil Value #3. As you know from last week, we shared Value #2 called Unity – “We celebrate each other’s unique perspective and treat each other with grace, humility, and unconditional support.”

Value #3 is Grit – “We are tenacious and resilient in our pursuit to get stuff done.”

6/5/2020 A message from Jackson

Dear Catholic Charities Employees,

1. George Floyd: I know that many of us have been deeply affected by the death of George Floyd and the unrest that has followed. I have spoken to many employees over the past 10 days and want to acknowledge the hurt, pain and urgent need to listen, be educated and work together as God’s children towards a just and equitable future.

We are blessed to provide care and support for some of the most vulnerable people in our society. I encourage all of you to take that spirit and be a force for good by listening, learning and supporting one another. Please consider reaching out to a coworker or manager and asking them how they are doing; how they are feeling; and if there is anything you can do for them. If you’ve not done this before or it feels uncomfortable, I understand. I felt the same way. Just start with a conversation by phone, video or text. Let’s provide space for each other so that we can process what is happening in our world.

Keep in mind that the greatest outcome of having these discussions is empathy and compassion; not agreement or disagreement. Give each other some room and space to be awkward, respectful, and real. Show each other how much we care (I refer you to Value #2 below). It’s important. We’ll be doing other things in the future…let’s start with this first.

2. Catholic Charities’ Values: I am excited to unveil Value #2. As you know from last week, we shared Value #1 called Hunger – “We are undeterred, calculated risk takers prepared to take on community challenges with intention, compassion, and innovation.”

Value #2 is Unity – “We celebrate each other’s unique perspective and treat each other with grace, humility, and unconditional support.”

The last value will be unveiled next week. Please take a look at “Unity” and share an example with me about what that might look like at Catholic Charities.
3. Safety Plan & Protocol: At Catholic Charities, it is our priority to keep our employees and their families health, especially in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. We have developed a COVID-19 Safety Plan & Protocol document which details how we, as an organization, are keeping all of our employees safe to every extent possible. This plan, which pulls from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Public Health, Madison & Dane County, highlights the responsibilities of managers and employees, and outlines the steps Catholic Charities is taking to address COVID-19 in the workplace. In addition, individual programs have plans and protocols. Over the next week, we will be asking that all staff review both the Catholic Charities plan as well as the plan for the program they work in. The Safety Plan & Protocol is attached to this email.

5/28/2020 A message from Jackson

Dear Catholic Charities Employees,

As all of you are aware by now, a black man in Minneapolis (George Floyd) died this week after being handcuffed and pinned to the ground by police officers. All four police officers have been fired and now protests ensue around the city of Minneapolis.

The incident was captured on video and was widely shared on social media. This is not the only major racial incident to happen in 2020. The deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, a 25 year old African American in Georgia and Breonna Taylor, a 26 year old African American in Kentucky, come to mind. I will admit to you that I do not know all the facts in each of these situations, but I am disturbed and frustrated and don’t know what to do about it.

Prior to this week, I didn’t know George Floyd. I don’t know what his hopes and dreams were; I don’t know what kind of family he had; and I don’t know anything about his life. I only know that he’s a human being who died a terrible, senseless death, and I’ve had enough. I struggled through watching the video with my family and then had some conversations about the incident and other related topics. I think that I will have more to say on the subject in the future. I just wanted you to know how I feel and that I’m thinking about you and your families. Please let me know your thoughts.

For those employees who are people of color or have felt marginalized now or in your past, I’d especially like to hear from you. This is a major social issue that needs to be discussed out loud. And yes, having the conversations at work is fine. Some of these conversations might be awkward and uncomfortable. That’s a good place to start. My cell is 608-556-1404. Let’s have a chat.

5/28/2020 A message from Jackson

Dear Catholic Charities Employees,

1. ADC & Community Connections Update: The Adult Day Center and Community Connections are excited to re-open their doors to a small group of participants after suspending services in mid-March. The Adult Day Center opened this week on May 26th and Community Connections will be opening on June 8th. Each program is creatively designing their activities and day programming to accommodate social distancing and safety precautions.

2. SSM Announcement: SSM Health and Catholic Charities have a longstanding partnership collaborating on many community health initiatives over the years. Recently, SSM Adult Day Health Center learned the program’s property is slated to be repurposed in the near future by its owner. After carefully considering many alternatives and options, SSM has made the difficult decision to permanently close their Adult Day Center and to provide an option for participants & families to transition their care to our Adult Day Center. A big thank you to Kristin Hutson, Community Support Specialist, who has made herself available for questions, and has provided individualized tours for participants and families, making the transition as smooth as possible during COVID.

3. Catholic Charities’ Values: In January of this year, we surveyed our employees and asked you to help us identify and define our values at Catholic Charities. The response was overwhelming…thank you! As you may recall from my previous messages, values are an important part of an organization’s identity and culture. They are guiding principles that aid in supporting our mission and provide common ground for employees to base their work. They help identify how we treat one another and connect employees. They also help people outside of the organization learn what Catholic Charities is all about. A set of values can help donors, clients, community partners, or even potential employees further understand our culture. Catholic Charities has not had official core values…until now.

I want to express my deepest gratitude to Nici Hawkins, Emily Priestaf, Rodney Saunders, Jr., Emily Jaime, and Ki Moyett (Our Diversity & Inclusion Advisory Group), who spent many hours reviewing, discussing and analyzing all the feedback from our employees. It was a monumental task! Following those discussions, we put together another group (Rodney Saunders, Jr., Suzanne Herritz, Kristin Ellis, Cricket Hesselberg, and Gina Marquez) to finalize everyone’s feedback and officially name and define three core values that best describe and represent Catholic Charities. I am excited to unveil Value #1.

Hunger – “We are undeterred, calculated risk takers prepared to take on community challenges with intention, compassion, and innovation.”

The last two values will be unveiled over the next two weeks. We’ll place them on our website, utilize them to recruit new employees, discuss them in future department meetings and make a video about how they show up in our day to day work. Please take a look at “Hunger” and share an example with me about what that might look like at Catholic Charities.
4. Return-to-Work: As we continue to move forward with phase one of returning to work, we are currently in the process of developing written procedures that each employee will need to read and sign, acknowledging that they have read and understand the necessary precautions and procedures that are being put in place as an agency and within their particular program. Again, to remain consistent with federal and local guidance, our approach to reopening our office will mirror the guidelines included in the Public Health, Madison & Dane County:
FORWARD DANE Phased Reopening Plan for Dane County

5/21/2020 A message from Jackson

Dear Catholic Charities Employees,

1. Return to Work.
At Catholic Charities, it is our priority to keep our employees and their families, as well as our clients, healthy and safe, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. As such, we will abide by governmental guidelines when possible as we strive to balance public health concerns with the needs of our organization. It is our intention to slowly and thoughtfully reopen our business, while keeping all of our employees safe to every extent possible. We are taking our guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) and from Public Health, Madison & Dane County.
We know that many of you at the High Point office have been wondering what happens next, when the original Stay at Home order expires next week Tuesday May 26th.

Due to the evolving nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, creating an exact timeline for resuming “normal” operations is challenging. Catholic Charities will continue to monitor applicable state and local guidance and determine next steps for reopening the office.

Currently, we are working to create a tentative phased approach for asking our employees to return to work. To remain consistent with federal and local guidance, our approach to reopening our office will mirror the guidelines included in the Public Health, Madison & Dane County: FORWARD DANE Phased Reopening Plan for Dane County .

In terms of immediate changes, THERE ARE NONE! For the week of May 25th, things will stay as they are currently. The High Point office will remain closed to the public and we ask that our employees continue to work from home as much as possible. Please visit the office on an as-needed-basis only. When we get the go ahead from state and local officials, we will begin to enter
Phase One of our re-entry, allowing a maximum of 25% of our employees back to the office. This will NOT happen prior to June 1st.

For Phase One of our re-entry, we will implement various protocols to help ensure your safety; it’s up to you and your co-workers to execute on these protocols daily. We are discussing social distancing protocols, office safety, and other measures, and will communicate them to you as soon as we have a timeline for entry into Phase One. We understand that every employee’s situation is different and encourage those with specific risks or concerns to reach out to their manager or HR to discuss alternate arrangements, should they be necessary.
2. SSM Health.
For those of you who have our health insurance through Dean, they wanted us to let you know that if you or a loved one needs medical care, there is no reason to delay. Their hospitals, clinics and urgent cares remain open and ready to provide safe, high-quality care if and when you need it. For your convenience, they also have telehealth appointments available for both new and current patients. Call your doctor, provider or find an SSM Health provider today to schedule a telehealth visit. They have begun to resume some elective surgeries and procedures, with an initial focus on patients who have delayed non-urgent but essential treatments. This will continue to grow in the days and weeks ahead.

During these difficult times, it is natural to feel worry, anxiety or fear – for ourselves and our loved ones. However, you can safely seek medical care. They have extensive safety precautions and infection control measures in place at all our facilities to limit the risk of exposure to COVID-19 and keep everyone safe, including:
• Screening/Testing of all patients prior to scheduled surgeries and procedures
• Visitor restrictions to limit non-essential traffic in their facilities
• Entrance screening for all patients, visitors and staff at their facilities
• Adherence to all CDC guidelines and protocols regarding appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) for providers and staff
• Requiring all patients, visitors and staff to wear masks or other face coverings when they enter their facilities
• Enhanced cleaning/disinfection processes in their clinics, hospitals and surgery centers
• Plexiglass barriers at check-in and registration to ensure appropriate distancing
• Realigned waiting room seating to ensure appropriate physical distancing
• Discontinuation of public water fountains

3. WANTED: Housing Navigators.
We are excited to be expanding our Housing Navigation program! Dane County recognizes the success we are having assisting individuals who are homeless and asked if we would be willing to hire additional staff for this program. We will be hiring 4 full-time, limited term staff, whose focus will be to assist the individuals and families who are currently residing in area hotels in finding permanent housing. If you know of someone who might be interested in joining Catholic Charities, please let them know of this opportunity. Be sure they let us know you sent them our way so we can recognize you through our referral bonus program!
I hope you have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend and please reach out to me if you have any concerns!

5/14/2020 A message from Jackson

Dear Catholic Charities Employees,

1. Return to work plan: There are a lot of discussions going on in Wisconsin about the safer at home restrictions, and we are monitoring them closely. Additionally, there are other states who have started to open and soften their safer at home orders. Catholic Charities is currently in the process of planning our eventual return to work plan.

The first thing I want you to know is that we will not be in a hurry to get everyone back to the office in one step. In fact, it will most likely be a slow and steady phased approach. Your health and safety is our primary concern, so please expect a slow and deliberate transition. Some items we are talking about include usage of plexiglass desk guards, conference room space, empty cubicles and offices, staggered schedules, and looking closely at creatively spreading people out across all of our spaces. Please know that we will share information with you as soon as it is appropriate.
2. Together: You’re not alone. As this pandemic has continued on and people have felt isolated, frustrated, and even stir crazy, please know that we are in this together. We will come out of this stronger and more resilient than ever.

Have a great week and please reach out to me if you have any concerns!

4/28/2020 A message from Jackson

Dear Catholic Charities Employees,

1. Staying Connected: Building Bridges continues to connect with clients in creative ways. This video of Jessica Klabough connecting with her students that she works with is a perfect way of making them still feel cared about and connected. Check the video out!

2. Face Masks: Ann Bartlett and Mary Holmes have joined in with the community helpers and are making face masks for those in need. What a great way to help out during this pandemic!
3. Some Restrictions Being Lifted: Governor Evers has begun to lift some of the restrictions on the state orders. This is good news. Here is a link to Gov Evers’ Press Releases.
Please reach out to me or your manager should you have any questions or concerns. Have an awesome week everyone!

4/24/2020 A message from Jackson

Dear Catholic Charities Employees,

1. As you know, we’ve built a landing page on our website called employee resources (bottom of the page). This allows you to access all videos and emails during this pandemic. It also includes questions and answers for pay, benefits, leave and much more that apply during this crisis.

On a side note, a number of you have been sending me photos of your pets, gardens, self or home haircuts, and more. Please look for me to place those in a convenient spot in the future for your viewing pleasure. Please keep the photos coming…they are awesome!
2. 5 Door Recovery will be on the radio! The “Weekend Perspective” runs at 5am Sunday on 94.9 WOLX, 6am on 105.5 Triple-M, and 7am on Mix 105.1.
From Teri Barr host of Weekend Perspective:
We notified our listeners that they can submit questions for Mary ahead of the interview and are already receiving some really great questions, so we’ll record the interview tomorrow, Friday morning, but I expect it should be a really good one for both 5 Door and our listeners. I’ll post it on-line and to our social media after it airs as well.

3. Netflix added 16 million global members over the past few weeks. Have you binged watched a show or series yet? I am almost done with Season 1 of Ozark. Oh my!

As always, if you need anything, please contact myself or your manager. Have a great weekend!

4/21/2020 A message from Jackson

Dear Catholic Charities Employees,

1. Tomorrow is the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day! As a part of our Catholic Social Teaching we are asked to care for God’s creation.
There are a lot of things you can do to participate in Earth Day: Plant a tree or a garden, go for a hike, build a bird house, learn about our planet, leave the car at home for a day, go bird watching, or help clean up the neighborhood.

I’ve decided to plant a garden. Please see the photo attached. Oh, I know you might think it’s pathetic…just imagine the possibilities! Please tell me about your plans for Earth Day.
2. Happy Administrative Professionals’ Day – Thank you to our Administrative Team for your hard work, tireless effort and every day enthusiasm. Your work is a key to our success!
3. #Coronacuts! Who’s heard of this popular hashtag trending? As we all continue to struggle with many factors of quarantine, a little lighter subject is that of our own personal care. Many folks are cutting their own hair, or at least attempting to. There are people posting their roots coming through and in attempts to fix that, end up with blue-green hair. How have you been dealing with the lack of non-essential services? Have you tried a #coronacut? Feel free to send me those photos, but I totally get it if you don’t.
As always, if you need anything, please contact myself or your manager. Stay safe and healthy!

4/17/2020 A message from Jackson

Dear Catholic Charities Employees,

I hope that all of you had a wonderful holiday even though it was historically different for all of us.

1. Safer-at-Home order extension until May 26: As many of you know, Governor Evers extended the Safer-at-Home order until May 26. Please continue to use safe practices such as social distancing, hand washing, and the procedures that you have in place. I know that this may not be the news that many of us were hoping for, but we are resilient and grounded with the care in our hearts for those that we serve. We will continue to get through this difficult time together.

2. Reminder: Employee Resource Page can be accessed from the Catholic Charities’ website (located at the very bottom of the page). Please use this page as a resource to answer your questions before calling HR or Finance during this pandemic. If you do not find what you need on the page, feel free to contact them.
Click here to access the page:

4/10/2020 A message from Jackson

Dear Catholic Charities Employees,

I hope that all of you are having a blessed Good Friday.

Just a couple of brief notes:
• Special thank you to 4 Community Connections Staff (Dee, Jami, Danita and David) who have been redeployed and helping our Community Living Program (CLP – Dane). Nicely done!
• Employee Resource Page We’ve been working like crazy to create a tab on our Catholic Charities’ website so that employees can easily access key questions and answers about pay, benefits, sick leave, and much more during this pandemic crisis. The tab will also include employee communications and videos from the CEO. Many thanks to a bunch of people (Claire, Stan, Carrie, Kristin, Pam, Lauren and Sandy) for creating, editing, and implementing this new resource. Thank you!
Click here to access the page:
• Hope you all have a safe and happy Easter!

As always, if you have questions or concerns about anything, talk to your manager immediately. Thank you.

4/7/2020 A message from Jackson

Dear Catholic Charities Employees,

Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).  As mentioned in previous communications, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States Congress and Senate have passed a bill designed to provide economic relief to those affected by the virus. Specifically, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) has been established with the intention of helping provide families and individuals with financial stability during this difficult time.  There are two major provisions of the Bill:
Additional Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSLA)
Additional Extended Family Medical Leave (EFMLA)

These provisions are effective April 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020. There have been many questions regarding the new Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and the procedures Catholic Charities is developing to comply with this new law.  The guidelines have continued to develop and emerge on nearly a daily basis.  The Human Resources and Finance teams are working furiously to understand all the details of the new act in order to ensure we are able to take full advantage of the benefits for our employees.

As we work with the initial employees who are using these benefits, we are learning and discovering as we go.  It has been, as you can imagine, a steep learning curve for all of us.  We want to thank you for your patience and understanding as we work out all the details of the process.

5 Door Recovery.  Congratulations to 5 Door Recovery for moving into their new location on Olin Avenue.  Many thanks to Mary Haberman and her entire team for their patience over the past few years in waiting for a new facility.  Such a beautiful building!  Special thanks to Claire Shurtz for managing this project from start to finish.  Nice work Claire!  And finally, a special thanks to the IT team of Scott Knickelbine and John Reams for moving and setting up all the technology pieces over the weekend so that they could be ready on Monday, April 6th.  Nice work!
Tax Stimulus Checks.  Here is a good website to your most commonly asked questions about the Tax Stimulus Checks:
IRS:  “Economic Impact Payments:  What you need to know
Home Project and Hobbies.  Many of you have shared with me that you are getting a few home projects done lately.  Things like gardens, hobbies, the garage, crafts for the kids, etc.  Please send me a note or a photo of something you’ve created, accomplished or that you’re just happy you finally got to it.  Thanks.

Jackson Fonder
President & CEO

4/3/2020 A message from Jackson

Dear Catholic Charities Employees,

I hope that all of you and your family and friends are staying safe and healthy! Please continue to talk with one another by phone, video, facetime, and email to stay connected. We will get through this pandemic and come out even stronger than ever! As always, if you have questions or concerns about anything, talk to your manager immediately. Thank you.

The following is a brief summary of our activities this week:

  • As The Beacon continues to their operation, some of their employees are helping Porchlight with the new temporary men’s overnight shelter at Warner Park.
  • Since the Adult Day Center and Community Connections in Janesville and Beloit have suspended their operations, some employees have been redeployed to work in our Community Living Program.
  • Although schools are closed, our school-based programs continue to support families and students remotely.
  • The entire Finance, Human Resources, Development and Communications, Executive, and Information Technology departments are working from home.
  • Great food tips for consumers in the attached graphic. Please continue to wash hands, abide by social distancing, and clean door knobs, handles and surfaces.
  • Thanks for the dog, cat and other pet photos you’ve been sending me this week. Keep them coming!
  • Lastly, we are working on a question and answer document about pay, benefits, sick leave, and more that should be available to all employees next week.
  • 5 Door Recovery continues its operations and will be moving to their new location next week. Please check out their new photos.

Jackson Fonder
President & CEO

3/31/2020 A message from Jackson

Dear Catholic Charities Employees,

Thank you so much for your incredible efforts these past couple weeks.  What a difference you are making in the lives of the vulnerable individuals & families we serve.

I hope you are finding good ways to manage yourself, your team and your clients effectively in this “new normal.”  I also know some of you are exhausted and stressed-out.  Please know that our leadership team meets every morning for a few hours to work through the details of how we are serving our employees, clients, guests and participants, and our communities during this pandemic.

I promise you that we are doing everything we can to continue our work in the communities we serve and to make decisions that are in the best interest of you and our clients.  If you have questions about anything, please go directly to your manager.

Here are some thoughts and resources for you: 

Get Additional Support During this Difficult Time

  • If you’re feeling overwhelmed, say something to your manager and ask for help. There are also many employee resources available through our Employee Assistance Program, such as access to free, confidential counseling and support. Having someone to talk to who can ease your worry can give you greater peace of mind. (For online access go to:, password: CCII/1-800-634-6433)

Resources for Employees with Kids at Home

I’ve spoken with a number of you by phone over the last several days, just checking in to hear how you are doing.  I’m glad to hear that most of you are doing pretty well.  If you know of an employee struggling, please reach out to them right away.  Sometimes a 10 minute phone call can mean the world to someone who feels alone or a little overwhelmed.

Lastly, during this very difficult situation, I find myself spending a little bit of extra time with my dog “Blue.”  See photo.  Photo was taken of him sitting out by the pool at my mother-in-law’s house in a much warmer climate.  He looks happy, doesn’t he?  If you have the time, please do one of two things:  1) Send me a short inspirational story about a client in your program, or 2) Send me a photo of your pet with a little background on him/her.  Cats are ok too.  ?

Jackson Fonder
President & CEO

3/27/2020 A message from Your Executive Team

Dear Catholic Charities Employees,

Congress recently passed some legislation designed to help you and your family during these difficult times.  We want to tell you about one piece, the FAMILIES FIRST CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE ACT – FFCRA 2020 and how it impacts you. We are still working out the exact details, but the intention of the law is to help provide you with financial stability during this difficult time.

In response to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, the United States Congress and Senate have passed a bill designed to provide economic relief to those affected by the virus.

These measures are effective April 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020.
There are two major provisions of the Bill, additional paid sick leave (EPSLA) and additional family medical leave (EFMLA).

This covers employees who are unable to work or work remotely (telework) due to:

  1. Employee is subject to quarantine for COVID-19 by Federal, State or local order
  2. Employee is advised by a health care professional to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19
  3. Employee has symptoms related to COVID-19 and is seeking a medical diagnosis
  4. Employee is caring for an individual subject to quarantine by Federal, State or local order, or by direction of a health care professional
  5. Employee is caring for a child because school or place of care is closed due to COVID-19 precautions
  6. Employee is experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

We are working hard to determine the details of exactly what employees will receive in terms of compensation, as it varies from case to case depending on numerous factors. Additional details will be shared as they are confirmed. In the meantime, if you need information regarding your individual situation, don’t hesitate to reach out to your manager.

This EXPANDS the current Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and provides paid FMLA for the following reason only:

  • An employee is unable to work or telework due to a need to care for a child under the age of 18 due to school or care provider closures related to COVID-19.
  • Please note that it does NOT provide paid leave for any other FMLA qualifying reasons and does NOT provide paid leave for COVID-19 related care or quarantines.  COVID-19 related care and quarantines are covered under numbers 1 through 6 above.

Similar to the Emergency Sick Leave Pay Act, we are working on the details of exactly what employees will receive in terms of compensation, as it varies from case to case depending on numerous factors. Additional details will be shared as they are confirmed.

We realize this is a lot of information and may be confusing and overwhelming.  We are here to help.  We are communicating with employment law experts to put this new system in place, and to figure out what we need from employees in order to provide the benefits our employees are entitled to under this new law. Please refer to the attached document for additional information. We encourage you to visit the U.S. Department of Labor as well (

If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to your manager or to one of the Executive Team members.

Stay safe! Stay healthy!

The Executive Team

Jackson Fonder
President & CEO

Bonnie Austin
Chief Financial Officer

Kelly Medenwaldt
Executive Director of Programs

Katie Lyons
Director of Human Resources

3/24/2020 A message from Jackson

Dear Catholic Charities Employees,

I hope this email finds you all safe and well as we navigate this new normal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Today Governor Evers issued Emergency Order #12 to institute a Safer At Home policy (attached). The order goes into effect at 8:00 am on Wednesday, March 25, 2020 and remains in effect until 8:00 am Friday, April 24, 2020, or until a superseding order is issued. Wisconsin residents must comply with this order. As outlined in the order, individuals can leave their home to perform tasks essential to maintaining their health and safety, to get services and supplies necessary for staying home, and to care for others.

Catholic Charities is considered an essential business and is therefore exempt from this order.  While our business will continue to operate, it may look different during these times. Many of us will work remotely, some programs have been suspended for the health and safety of our clients and staff, and services may be performed in a different way, in order to ensure social distancing protocols are followed. These are imperative steps needed to slow the spread of COVID-19, and we all must do our part and work together to protect one another. The Governor did not make this decision lightly, but believes, as do we, that as Wisconsinites we can come together to do what is necessary to make our community safe and strong….

As we move forward, please remember that essential services will continue to be provided to our communities. I ask that you recognize the efforts of those within our communities and in other agencies who are providing those services. We are extremely grateful to everyone. #SaferAtHome

I will be communicating and staying connected to you by sharing short videos a couple times each week as we move forward through the COVID-19 pandemic.  Please let me know if you have any questions or comments about them.

Additional actions and information from agencies below.

DOR Tax Filing Deadline Extension
DWD Unemployment Information

Stay connected. Stay safe.

Jackson Fonder
President & CEO

3/19/2020 A message from Jackson

Dear Catholic Charities Employees,

This is truly an extraordinary time in our history that we will get through together.  We know that the COVID-19 virus is creating fear and uncertainty, especially for our direct care staff that serve so many vulnerable people in our communities.

Some of our program operations have been suspended (Adult Day Center, Community Connections in Janesville and Beloit), while others continue to serve our guests and clients (The Beacon, 5 Door Recovery, Community Living Programs, Mobile Food Pantries and others). The High Point Office employees are working remotely from home.  Although the schools are closed and our School-Based Programs are suspended, staff in these programs will continue to be available to students and families during this time, though their services might be limited.

One of our employees at the High Point Office tested positive for the COVID-19 virus this week, so we have closed the office and are implementing quarantine protocols to ensure the safety and well-being of our employees and clients.  Those employees directly affected, will be receiving additional communication.  Please know that we are taking all the necessary steps to minimize any further spread of the virus.

Our Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is available to ALL employees and their families at no cost.  This service is provided on behalf of Catholic Charities by Empathia. For online access go to:, password: CCII.  The EAP 800 number is:  1.800.634.6433.  Empathia is well-prepared to deliver quality services, such as:

Access to Master’s level counselors

  • Immediate access to our Master’s level counselors 24/7, without a phone tree, is the hallmark of our services. Our highly stable virtual call center technology has been in use for years, so our counselors are available regardless if they are working in their private office or from their home.
  • Variety of options for scheduled counseling sessions
    We are providing scheduled telephonic and video EAP counseling sessions during this pandemic through our national network of Master’s level counselors using a HIPAA compliant telehealth platform. We are confident in our ability to continue to meet the demand for counseling support.
  • Their member website,, has a special coronavirus section that is updated on an ongoing basis. The site also includes child and elder care locators, webinars, and links to trusted resources related to the pandemic.

I encourage all of you to continue to find ways to connect to your loved ones and coworkers during this time.  Make a phone call, video chat with a friend, send a hand-written note in the mail, or enjoy a movie or a board game with your family.  As you take precautions to keep your family healthy, don’t forget to take a moment for yourself.

We will continue to keep you informed using the best information and guidance available to us.  Please stay safe and expect additional updates from me in the future.  Thank you for your resilience and all that you do for our communities.  We will come through this stronger than ever.

With deep appreciation,

Jackson Fonder
President & CEO

3/16/2020 A message from Your Executive Team

Dear Catholic Charities Employees,

We want to provide you with the latest update on our response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) to help ensure the health and safety of our clients, staff, volunteers, and the community.

If you or a family member are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 (cough, fever, difficulty breathing) we urge you to stay home! We expect you to contact your supervisor, and we encourage you to call your physician. We will work with you to determine how best to use your Paid Time Off (PTO) during this type of absence.

Our employees touch many lives, both inside and outside of our work environments. We need to be aware of how our social interactions can impact the spread of the virus. We expect all employees to take seriously the directives of the CDC regarding social distancing which includes:


  • Limiting face-to-face meetings: To the greatest extent possible, limit in person meetings; instead use email, phone conferences, or videoconferencing. We will provide additional technology options to assist with this.
  • Modifying work schedules: We have asked departments to consider modifying work schedules to reduce overlap of staff.
  • Working remotely: We are taking measures for employees to have the option to work remotely when it is feasible. If this applies to you, your manager will work with you to ensure you have what you need.
  • Spread out at work: If space permits, work at least six feet from others. If you have an office, keep your door closed.


  • Practice social distancing.
  • Stay at home as much as possible: Cancel events and avoid groups, gatherings, playdates, and nonessential appointments.
  • Shop less often: If you go to the grocery store every week, can you go every other week instead?
  • Explore your doctor’s virtual visit options.
  • Rethink social norms: Avoid handshakes. Leave a few feet of space between people in lines.
  • Try online ordering: Can you order items you need?
  • Try remote options: Can you attend services or other events remotely?
  • Think through your commute: Can you sit or stand farther from people on the bus? Can you walk, bike, or take your car instead?

Beginning immediately, based upon recommendations by public health officials to limit the spread of COVID-19, our High Point office will be closed to the public. However, for our employees, all essential work functions will continue with the High Point staff being available via e-mail and phone. The High Point office will have minimal coverage Monday through Friday during the normal business hours.

With the closing of all Wisconsin school districts, Catholic Charities school based programs will be closed until school resumes. We will be assessing ways that our staff can continue to support students and families remotely.

Due to the high risk nature of the participants at our Adult Day Center, we have decided to close that program effective immediately.  We will re-open as soon as soon as it is deemed safe to do so.

We recognize the financial impact that temporarily closing a program may have on staff. We will be in touch directly with the employees affected by these closings to provide options.

At this point all other programs remain open. We will continue to closely evaluate the safety and wellbeing of our clients and staff in these programs and will take additional steps as necessary. We encourage our employees to continue to stay up-to-date on the  advice and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( and/or

Public Health Madison & Dane County (

Most of all, let’s carry one another in prayer as we journey through this very difficult situation.


The Executive Team

Jackson Fonder
CEO & President

Bonnie AustinChief
Financial Officer

Kelly Medenwaldt
Executive Director of Programs

Katie Lyons
Director of Human Resources