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Meet Renee Gehrke

Meet Renee Gehrke

Renee Gehrke is Co-Chair of the Community Friends Steering Committee. Community Friends is an all-volunteer organization established more than 30 years ago to provide socialization activities for adults with physical, mental, and/or development disabilities. 

With more than 2,000 low-income adults with disabilities in Portage County, it is crucial these individuals receive opportunities to take part in events that other community members easily enjoy.


“Community Friends is like a family. On the outside I feel like I don’t belong. Community Friends gives me confidence, self-esteem and a sense of belonging. 

Some of our members are in wheelchairs or use walkers. Some are mentally ill, mentally handicapped, or elderly. In Community Friends, everyone is accepted for who they are. 

I am grateful for the friends I have met and that they accept me for who I am. There are not a lot of places where I can go and feel loved by everyone I am with.”

Renee Gehrke
Community Friends Steering Committee Co-Chair 



Community Friends has received a grant from the Community Foundation of Central Wisconsin for more than 10 years to help their members meet friends and get out in the community by arranging more than 40 community activities each year and providing handicapped-accessible transportation for those who need it.

The Foundation is proud to support programs like this because of the IMPACT FOR GOOD it has on so many individuals in our community. 

Thank you to everyone at Community Friends for all you do to help our family, friends and neighbors. 

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