Tim Baack on Securing the Future of Pathfinders

Publish Date: March 5, 2024

Are you aware that an estimated nearly 12,000 Milwaukee youth and young adults aged 10-24 experience homelessness annually? Unhoused youth are largely invisible – because of their extreme vulnerability, they work hard to blend in and appear stable. Unfortunately, this means that few people recognize the staggering scale of this issue.

At Pathfinders, we are working toward a future where no young person worries about where they will sleep at night. We have a proud, 50+ year history serving Milwaukee-area youth, and we plan to be here for as long as they need us.

If you are passionate about addressing youth homelessness now and into the future, there are several ways to support Pathfinders with a planned gift including:

    • Bequests through your will or trust.
    • Beneficiary designations on bank accounts, life insurance policies, commercial annuities or retirement plans.
    • Beneficiary designations on charitable remainder trusts or charitable lead trusts.
    • Learn more.

When you make a planned or estate gift to Pathfinders, you’re helping us:

End Lifetimes of Homelessness

Research shows that most adults experiencing homelessness had their first experience with housing instability as a youth or young adult. As Pathfinders helps young people become stably housed and supports them in addressing their trauma, gaining employment and income and stabilizing their families, we are preventing what could be a lifetime of homelessness. In 2024, we are honoring our 15-year anniversary of Q-BLOK, our first housing program. Looking forward, Pathfinders is expanding to provide more stable housing to more young adults, and to move upstream to prevent homelessness before it happens.

Support Young People on their Journeys to Adulthood

At 18, most young people are ready to take the next steps to independent adulthood yet are still in need of resources and support. For youth without the stability of a family, those who’ve been through foster care or youth justice systems, those who have been sexually exploited and those with deep and complex trauma need extra care, Pathfinders is here today and in the future.

People will always experience crises that lead to episodes of homelessness. But Pathfinders is working hard alongside partners across our community to make sure these are brief, one-time occurrences and that young people are safely housed as quickly as possible and connected to resources to prevent future instability.

Change the Systems that Contribute to Youth Homelessness

Advocacy is at the heart of Pathfinders’ work to address youth homelessness. We fight hard to promote positive legislation while tackling harmful bills that exacerbate the issue of homelessness in our community. Members of our state legislature continue to advance bills that would criminalize people experiencing homelessness. Meanwhile, critical legislation to protect sexually exploited (and, often, homeless) youth called Safe Harbor, which would make it illegal to charge minors with the “crime of prostitution,” fails to advance in our state legislation year after year.

So, we fight. Pathfinders’ youth, staff and supporters raise our voice to advocate for the issues that impact youth homelessness in our city, state and region. And we plan to continue to grow our advocacy efforts, invite youth with lived expertise to the table and raise our collective voices on behalf of our community’s young people.

Your commitment to supporting Pathfinders through an estate or planned gift will significantly impact the effort to address youth homelessness in Milwaukee. Questions about Planned Giving with Pathfinders? Click here for more information, or contact Michelle Strode at mstrode@pathfindersmke.org.

Written by Tim Baack, Pathfinders President & CEO

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