History of the Rainbow House
1978 – Present
Rainbow House has had a long and colorful history. In 1978, a group of women concerned with the increase of domestic violence came together and formed a Task Force to pursue the development of a program. In 1980, the “Rape and Domestic Violence Center” came into being as part of Marinette County Government. At that time, services consisted of an office and several “safe homes”.
The organization operated as an information and referral service for many years prior to acquiring a shelter facility. Historically, the organization provided education and information on stopping the cycle of domestic violence. The center received it’s first funding from the State of Wisconsin in 1982. At that time, a shelter was acquired. The first building was rapidly outgrown, and we moved to our present location in 1984.
At that time, the name was changed to “The Shelter”. The county obtained funding through a WHEDA Grant in 1988 to operate a shelter for domestic abuse. Operation of the program was turned over from Marinette County Health and Human Services to NEWCAP Inc. (North East Wisconsin Community Action Program) on January 1, 1991 for the purposes of providing victims of domestic abuse and sexual assault with a safe and supportive environment.
At that time, the name was once again changed to “Rainbow House”. Because of financial difficulties within the NEWCAP Corporation, it became necessary for Rainbow House to establish a separate entity, which it did January 1, 1993. We continue to serve victims today, through providing prevention, education, and information to communities, families, and schools.
On April 28th, 2013, our long-term Legal Advocate and Interim Director, Patricia Waschbisch, was murdered by her boyfriend. In honor of her tireless commitment to the cause, we dedicated the building in Trish’s memory. While our organization remains the Rainbow House, our shelter building proper is now known as ”The Patricia J. Waschbisch Center Against Domestic Violence”. A link to this tragic story and her profound contribution can be found below, by clicking the image. Trish remains the heart of our cause. We carry on her mission to bring an end to suffering and violence.