New foundation aims to help local children

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- Advocating for children is the idea behind a new foundation started by Joe Luginbill.

The Luginbill Children's Foundation launched this week with a goal of making a positive difference in the lives of children.

Joe Luginbill is known around the community as an elected official on the school board and at his day job with the Strengthening Families Program in Eau Claire County.

He got the idea for this nonprofit after returning from the United Nations and Social Good Summit in New York City.

Making sure area children are safe, supported, and set up for success -- that's the idea behind the Luginbill Children's Foundation.

"What I'm doing here by launching the foundation is really hoping to expand opportunities to advocate for kids, expand opportunities for other people to advocate, and really look to make sure we are setting all children up to succeed," said Joe Luginbill.

Luginbill launched his foundation with two initiatives. One is Project715, which hopes to address bullying.

Joe Luginbill is partnering with Tracy Nelson from the Red Cross on the project, which aims to connect parents, family members, and kids with the tools they need to fight bullying.

"So we're hoping that once we get going, we want to set up meetings with the community. Brainstorm on how we can do this as a team and do it together," said Tracy Nelson.

The other initiative is starting the Smile House Project, which will be a home for displaced children in Eau Claire.

Luginbill said the goal is to open the house in 2017 as a safe, secure, loving place for children in need.

"As someone who came from a very nurturing family, I recognize the value in that, and I know many in the community do as well," said Luginbill.

Joe Luginbill said the Luginbill Children's Foundation is all about seeing gaps and helping to fill those gaps.

"Truly it is crucial that we do all that we can to support kids to make sure they're safe to make sure they're loved, to make sure they're nutured and supported," he said.