A resident-led resale shop at a Wisconsin senior living community has raised more than $37,000 in scholarship funding for staff members at the facility. 

“Our employees show, all the time, how much they care for our residents. The most important thing that we can do in return is show that we care for them as well,” said Michael Brever, director of philanthropy for Eastcastle Place, in Milwaukee.  

Residents at Eastland started the scholarship program about three and a half years ago. The Treasure Chest at Eastcastle Place services as a resale shop in the community that offers low-priced, high-quality items for purchase and is open to residents, staff, family and friends.  

The shop is stocked with items donated by residents and workers. Sale items range from gently-used furniture, household items and art. All proceeds from the sales at the Treasure Chest go into the scholarship fund for Eastcastle staffers. 

Residents have awarded 35 scholarships totaling more than $37,000 since starting the initiative. The scholarship fund is open to a wide range of applicants, from part-time high school students to full-time workers looking to advance their nursing careers. 

Scholarship winners are selected by a committee of five residents, and the funds can also be used for expenses associated with education aside from tuition. 

“The scholarship is designed to assist in any endeavors or pursuits that help further the opportunity to go to school,” Brever said. “Unearned income during schooling, food, transportation, housing … all of those are valid costs.”

The shop also allows people to buy high-quality household items at a fraction of the cost, which can go a long way for staff, too, Brever noted. 

The residents at the facility also have also established an annual Employee Appreciation Fund, which kicked off at the start of October. The fund allows residents to make financial donations to a fund that’s shared amongst hourly staff in December. Last year, more than $70,000 was raised, according to Brever. 

“The most important thing you can do for employees is show that you care. We have an amazing staff, and our residents truly do care. There’s a strong bond between the residents and staff,” Brever explained. “Just receiving a paycheck doesn’t express everything we’d like to say about how we value and view the people who provide service to our residents.”