Assembly Joint Resolution 51

Below are links to videos that were recorded on June 14th, 2017 as AJR 51 was voted on in the Assembly and Senate.

Thanks to all who helped support this important resolution, the passing of which shows the power of grassroots advocacy.

Linc Burr Executive Director of RFW was pleased to be present at Valley Packaging as Senate President Roger Roth presented Bob Russo with a legislative citation honoring his thirty years of dedicated services to VPI.

Bob Russo Honored

Long Time RFW member Tom Keil retires from Holiday House in Manitowoc after 42 years of dedicated service.
Congratulations Tom!

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RFW and RSA-WI Agree to Merge

May 4, 2017
Madison, WI

Today, Rehabilitation for Wisconsin (RFW) and the Residential Services Association of Wisconsin (RSA) entered into an agreement in principle (Merger Agreement) to become the unified voice for disability providers in the State of Wisconsin.

Ten years of significant changes to state and federal disability laws have underscored the benefit of harnessing the energy and power of RFW and RSA into a single entity. Together, the soon to be renamed RFW and RSA have more than 100 years of experience advocating for disability policies that help people with disabilities live, work, and thrive—in both the setting and with the people that best meet each individual’s life goals.

In response to the vast array of sometimes conflicting state and federal laws, regulations, and guidance, the merged RFW and RSA will be positioned to articulate a comprehensive message in support of providers’ continuing efforts to advance the interests of people with disabilities in Wisconsin. RFW and RSA are the experts on disability services in Wisconsin and today’s agreement will permit the combined entity to advocate for providers regardless of setting and to advocate for the whole person to ensure that Wisconsin remains the national leader in quality disability services.

Prior to entering into the Merger Agreement, RFW and RSA formed a Merger Integration Committee that will manage the legal and operational changes required to complete the merger. The Committee has authorized the hiring of a Communications Consultant who will be reaching out to interested stakeholders to participate in focus groups to assist in fulfilling the goals of the Merger.

In June, RFW and RSA will host the first combined meeting of their respective member organizations. RFW and RSA expect the merger to be finalized within 90 days, with a target closing date of August 1, 2017.

For further information, please contact:

Lincoln Burr
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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RCS Empowers, Inc. announces President's Retirement and Successor

RCS Empowers, Inc. Board of Directors today announced that Ron Van Rooyen will retire as President on April 28, 2017. The Board of Directors has elected Martha VandeLeest, as part of a two-year succession plan, to be the company's next President, effective the end of April. VandeLeest currently serves as the Chief Financial Officer.

Van Rooyen began his work with RCS as assistant director in 1969, was named executive director in 1973, and was elected president in August of 1983. "Ron’s vision has led to significant growth and success during his 47 years at RCS by leading an exceptional management team in the delivery of Employment, Community and Business Services,” said Karri Neils, Board Chair.

Under his leadership, the company has established a strong business model to be financially sound and has expanded operations by orchestrating a move to a single campus of services at the Geele Avenue headquarters. While Ron will certainly be missed, I am equally as confident in the leadership of Martha VandeLeest as she assumes the role of President. Martha has served as Chief Financial Officer for the last two years. Her excellent performance in this role, vast business experience, and her financial acumen will serve RCS well in the years ahead.

Van Rooyen noted,

It has been an honor to be a part of this great organization alongside our dedicated employees, Board members, and workers. RCS Empowers, Inc. has a 61-year history of providing “state of the art” Day Services, Prevocational Services, Employment Services, Birth to Three Services and Business Services, as well as empowering individuals in Sheboygan County. I am extremely humbled and proud of our accomplishments.

VandeLeest is an alumnus of Lakeland College with a degree in Accounting and the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Business where she completed her Executive MBA. “It is truly an honor to be elected as the next President of RCS Empowers, Inc.,” said VandeLeest.

This is a remarkable organization made up of inspired employees dedicated to providing services and empowering individuals with disabilities to achieve their goals. It has been a pleasure to work with Ron over the past two years, and I look forward to leading the organization with this legacy of excellence. In the past two years, we have streamlined operations and processes and are well positioned for continued future growth with unlimited opportunities in the years to come.

Ron Van Rooyen                  Martha VandeLeest


Full Press Release