About Us

Wimberley Good Neighbor (WGN) is a 100% volunteer-run charity. None of your donations pay for salaries, fundraising efforts, office space or a percentage fee off the donated amount like GoFundMe. All your dollars go to helping your neighbor in a crisis. 

This charity works closely with the other Wimberley nonprofits to identify neighbors with the greatest need. We are 100% transparent, posting anonymously about neighbors in need. Donating this way brings a joy of participation and involvement, and you also know specifically how your dollars are spent. Grants help us pay for the monthly phone bill, accounting and website fees.

WGN completes a light background check before posting a neighbor’s need. People with felony convictions for drug trafficking, violent crimes, or sex offenses are ineligible for our services.

The costs of living are going up, and more people than ever are struggling with their finances. According to a Columbia University study, 8 million Americans have joined the ranks of the poor since last summer, and we see examples right here in Wimberley. Generous members of our community have rallied together over social media to aid families in a crisis. We are blessed to be a community of kind and generous hearts and hope you find this to be a useful platform created to support the people of Wimberley. 

Board of Directors

The board of directors is a group of locals of different religions, political parties and backgrounds. Some of us have seen desperate times and felt the power of community help.

Pictured: Amber Poole Wakem, Deena Gardow, Itzel White, Maggie Carpenter, Ava Braslau

 

Ava Braslau grew up in south Texas and went to camp in Wimberley. Her family taught her by example about the importance of supporting community. It wasn’t until she recovered from hospice care that she answered a call to service here in Wimberley.  Ava is grateful to be alive and grateful for her community and to serve with WGN. Many generous neighbors helped during and after that time. Ava is a founding board member.

Maggie Carpenter owns Wimberley Donuts and loves making the sweet treats for the community. She was a public educator for 10 years at JWE. She grew up in Buffalo Gap, Texas with a mom who treated them like anything was possible even though they were on food stamps.  That’s why Maggie appreciates the WGN Level Up program. She remembers that she wanted to go to summer camp, but her family couldn’t afford it. Their community helped her family out, and it was one of the best summers of her life. Not everyone has a wealthy relative, and for her, their community was an extended family.  She wants to volunteer with WGN to help people going through that struggle.

Deena Gardow moved from Houston, where she worked in the oil services business, to Wimberley with her husband and two children in 1985. She became very involved with their school – Wimberley’s first school, Bowen School. She was a room mother and worked in the teacher workroom. Deena served as coach for the Wimberley Soccer Association when it formed in Wimberley, and the WISD school administration office for five years. She and a business partner owned Mail Stop for 20 years, before they sold the business in 2021. Now, Deena works for  Wimberley Fire and Rescue as office support. Besides serving on the board of Wimberley Good Neighbor, Deena is very involved with her local chapter of Beta Sigma Phi. She is touched deeply by stories of support and healing for struggling members of our community. She is a WGN founding board member and current president.

Amber Poole Wakem  lives in Wimberley with her husband and three children. Her childhood experience, growing up in extreme poverty is at the root of everything important to her, and why she seeks ways to lift the poor. After college, she worked in education, and saw striking gaps in education outcomes, then experienced it first hand having a child with a learning disability. Amber is the executive director of Start-Up Kids Club, a successful nonprofit in Wimberley that helps kids overcome educational disadvantages with fun after-school programs and summer camp. Being a board member of WGN aligns with her goals to help Wimberley families.

Itzel White grew up in Morelia, Michoacán, México.  After graduating from college as a biochemical engineer, she met her husband and fell in love with learning language and teaching her native tongue, Spanish. She moved with her husband to Wimberley in 2010, and after her second child was born, she started her endeavor, Bridge the Gap Spanish. She also teaches Spanish at Skybridge Academy in Dripping Springs. She is excited to use her 18 years of experience as a teacher and translator to work with Wimberley Good Neighbor (WGN). Itzel and her husband were overwhelmed by the kindness of friends and acquaintances when they moved to Wimberley. That’s why it’s a project close to her heart to help people who don’t speak English. Many of them work in our community as stonemasons, landscapers, cleaners, shoppers, and more. She has seen that they often have a difficult time communicating when they need help. She enjoys helping people in need and also those in the community who want to support or contribute to WGN. Itzel is a founding board member.

How it works: 

UNITE program (local, tax-deductible crowdfunding): Neighbors in need (clients) are vetted by area case managers. Once they are approved for posting, we post the dollar amount they are requesting and exactly what it will be used for. Clients authorize us to share their personal information in the content of the posting. Dollars raised are distributed to the client’s landlord, bank, mortgage company, PEC, etc. Clients can choose to be public or anonymous with their need. Clients who post their own personal fundraisers on GoFundMe or other fundraising sites are ineligible for our services because of tax considerations. Clients calling for help who have felony convictions for child/elder abuse, theft or fraud or not eligible. When convictions are older than 10 years, the request will go under review, and if the client is approved, they must have an authorized community sponsor. Other local helping organizations don’t have a policy against donating to convicted felons and are able to help everyone. The Level Up and Adopt-A-Family programs for kids don’t have a background check requirement.

LEVEL UP program: Help for WISD parents with the costs of school and extra-curricular activities. This program helps cover the costs of sports fees, camps, testing, tutors, art and music equipment, etc.

ADOPT-A-FAMILY program: Households that are 150% of the federal poverty limit or are struggling over the holiday qualify for Christmas help for their family. The Adopt-A-Family program lets families be anonymous and create their own shopping list of the exact toys and necessities their children wish for.

You have the power to choose how your tax-deductible dollars will directly help a struggling neighbor in our town.

Click here to read our bylaws.