Blackhawk Community Credit Union donates building to nonprofit clinic

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Wisconsin’s largest charitable clinic is set to move into a new facility thanks to a gift from Blackhawk Community Credit Union.

With the Janesville, Wis.-based institution planning to move into a new downtown headquarters in 2021, Blackhawk this week announced its plans to give its current facility to Healthnet, a Janesville-based nonprofit. The region has faced economic struggles since a General Motors plant there closed in 2008.

“This entire town was absolutely devastated with the closing of the General Motors plant,” said Blackhawk President and CEO Sherri Stumpf. “Not just because of the thousands of people who work in the plant, but with every subsidiary business and small businesses that counted on the [wealth] within this community.”

The building is already zoned for medical use, and Blackhawk first acquired it in 2008 during the financial crisis. The CU held on to it for two years and attempted to sell it but difficult times brought on by the Great Recession and the loss of America’s oldest operating GM plant, made the property a hard sell.

With little choice, the credit union decided to hang onto the building and elected to use the facility to to grow its administrative support operations. The office regularly hosts 30 to 50 employees and currently houses the credit union’s call center, mortgage services and underwriting, in addition to other functions.

Over the years local government has undertaken a variety of initiatives to kickstart the economy in Janesville, and Blackhawk’s move downtown is a part of that effort. Reportedly more than 75 percent of the town’s 65,000 residents are members at the $605 million-asset institution.

With HealthNet outgrowing its space and already in the process of a capital campaign, Blackhawk representatives reached out about the opportunity to take over the facility. HealthNet employees were invited to tour the building – which has a room designated for X-rays, among other benefits – and liked what they saw.

“We hope that it’s more accessible for our patients,” said HealthNet CEO Ian Hedges, continuing that the nonprofit’s current clinic is located on the second floor and accessing it can be a challenge even with an elevator. The new space will combine HealthNet’s two current locations, and Hedges is planning to add a behavioral health services division once the nonprofit relocates.

This isn’t the first time Blackhawk has made such a unique gift; the credit union previously donated a building to the World Young Women’s Christian Association. Regardless of the gift, HealthNet will still need to raise money between $1.5 and $2 million for facility equipment and other operational expenses.

And though the $605 million-asset credit union declined to comment on how much the building donation is valued, the credit union said the donation would not influence the remainder of its giving strategies for the year.

A credit union and nonprofit medical clinic might seem like strange partners, but Hedges said the two industries are more aligned than one might expect.

“Financial health and physical health are tied together,” he said.

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