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Carilee Fund

Supporting survivors of domestic and sexual assault

Domestic violence impacts thousands of women, men and children in the 7 Rivers Region. Often, victims of domestic violence face obstacles making it difficult to leave an abusive relationship and to find a safe place.

You can help remove those obstacles by donating to Gundersen Medical Foundation's Carilee Fund. The Carilee Fund was established in memory of a Gundersen Health System employee's mother who lost her life due to domestic violence.

The fund will be used to help domestic violence victims pay for things such as:

  • Transportation expenses
  • Legal fees
  • Child care during a medical or court appointment
  • Rental assistance or a security deposit
  • Emergency funds

Funds will only be used if other sources of assistance are not available. Decisions on how funds are spent are made by a special group of Gundersen staff members and community representatives.

The funds are available to all victims of domestic abuse in the 7 Rivers Region no matter where they receive their care. Every person requesting financial assistance must be working with a domestic violence program. All help is provided confidentially.

How you can donate

Donations of any size can help and there are many ways to make a contribution.

  • Make a donation and designate it to the Carilee Fund.
  • Mail your donation to: Gundersen Medical Foundation, 1836 South Ave., La Crosse, WI 54601. Make checks payable to Gundersen Medical Foundation and indicate Carilee Fund in the check memo.
  • Contact the Foundation at (608) 775-6600 or (800) 362-9567, ext. 56600 to set up a payroll deduction (Gundersen employees only).
  • Sponsor a fundraiser.

For more information on the Carilee Fund, contact the Gundersen Domestic Abuse/Sexual Assault Program at (608) 775-3453 or (800) 362-9567, ext. 53454.


Carilee Fund: Out of one family's tragedy comes hope for others

It's difficult to imagine living with the threat of domestic violence…until it hits close to home. Long-time Gundersen employee Kim Salwolke knows all too well the reality of domestic abuse. This is her story:

My mom was a very special person who loved to help people. She loved her family and encouraged my brother and me to attend college and be successful in life. She did this as a way of protecting us because she often found it difficult to protect herself from the abuse from my alcoholic father.

After years of abuse, my mother finally found the courage to leave my father. With that decision it felt as though positive changes would happen. My mother was going to have a safe place to live and she was looking forward to becoming a grandmother. But instead I received a phone call that changed my life forever.

My father shot my mother, then himself.

That was 27 years ago, but my brother and I still feel the heartache, knowing that if resources had been available for my mother, the outcome could have been different.

My mother was Carilee. To honor her, I want to help survivors safely escape the kind of life my mother had. So, with the help of Gundersen Medical Foundation we created the Carilee Fund.

Although her life was cut short, my mother lives on as an angel to help others survive.

The Gundersen Medical Foundation's Carilee Fund, which helps survivors of domestic abuse, was named in memory of Kim Salwolke's mother who tragically lost her live to domestic violence. 

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