Celebration of Hope

Celebration of Hope is an online fundraising website, a way for individuals to apply for financial assistance and one of the easiest ways to raise money for a loved one in need. We offer hope, one person at a time.

A Celebration of Hope fundraiser can provide hope and lets those battling a tough condition know that they are loved and are not alone in their journey. A fundraiser can give them hope that they are not alone and allow them to focus their energy on getting well.

Friends and family can benefit whether they live near or far. Starting a fundraiser can immediately make an impact by making it easy to donate and quickly spread the word. Well-wishes, prayers or a note of encouragement are also easy to send to the recipient.

Footprints in sand on the beach

Our Mission

Celebration of Hope, Inc. is a Christian charity with a mission of providing financial assistance and fundraising opportunities to any individual in need, lending a hand of support by sharing the burden and offering hope.


Carol Brauer headshotCelebration of Hope, Inc. was created after Carol Brauer lost her mother–and life-long best friend — January 1, 2013. Blessed with having a close, loving relationship with her 87-year-old mother, Joyce Asmus, Carol felt that bond become even stronger as she strove to find more ways to help during Joyce’s final six months’ courageous battle with Large B Cell Lymphoma.

During a struggle lasting more than a year before her mother died, Carol searched to determine what her purpose on earth truly was. Finally, inspired to enlist the advice of an expert and, she says, “I began working with a personal life coach because I really felt there was some special and, as yet, unknown reason I’m here. I really did not know what God’s purpose for me was. People were telling me I was already doing what I was meant to do, but I felt there had to be something else out there, too.”

Giving back to her community and helping others has always been a major part of Carol’s life.

Carol, who has owned the Appleton based home-care company, BrightStar Care since 2006, supported a fundraiser a friend started to help a young woman diagnosed with breast cancer—and no insurance. At a weekly staff meeting, she shared how wonderful it would have been if they could have helped that woman by paying a month’s rent as a way to remove one stressor, allowing her to focus her energy on getting well.

A couple months later, Carol learned about a young couple from her church in Fremont that was making many trips back and forth to Children’s Hospital in Milwaukee due to the illness, and eventual death, of their infant son.

Again, she wondered: “Could I have helped this family by providing gas cards?”

The word “HOPE” was a constant thought for Carol and the purpose of her life was becoming clearer. During Leadercast 2013, Carol heard a presentation given by internationally known speaker, Pastor, and author, John Maxwell, who defined leading as “adding value to people every day”. Those words really resonated with Carol. Maxwell went on to talk about putting others and their needs first, and to serve others. He ended by saying that, instead of waiting for someone else to do it, each of us needs to stand up and do it! Again, words resounded with Carol and had an “aha” moment: “I felt that God wanted me to stand up and add value to people around me and I needed to do it!”

On a summer night in 2013, while she and husband Dick sat at their kitchen counter, eating ice cream sundaes with their good friend and pastor, Paul Fritz, Carol shared her thoughts about starting a non-profit to help others. Encouraged to follow her dream, the three of them agreed that the word “Hope” needed to be part of her non-profit’s name and purpose.

They brainstormed various names containing the word “hope” and not until a couple days later after talking to her good friend, Bobbie Thompson, she knew it would be “Celebration of Hope”!

During the past year, working with these good friends, Carol watched, as her dream became a reality. Her passion to help others in her community has blossomed into the new, not-for-profit venture, and is now a reality called Celebration of Hope, Inc.

Our Vision

We offer hope, one person at a time.

A hope that is incomprehensible, easing the burden of despair and confusion.

A hope borne of the encouragement, love, and concern for their suffering, offered by friends, family, and even strangers…the Mystery of Community.

With God all things are Possible graphic

Board of Directors

Click on each board member's photo to learn more about them and their role with Celebration of Hope.

  • Carol Brauer
    Founder and President
    Carol Brauer

    Carol is Celebration of Hope’s Founder and President and brings her passion to help others in need. She has been a volunteer for various organizations since the 1980s. She has owned BrightStar Care of Appleton/Fox Cities and Waupaca areas for the past eight years and prior to that worked in the hospitality industry for almost thirty years. Helping and serving others has always been a natural part of Carol’s life and starting Celebration of Hope she carries her Christian values and heartfelt passion for bring hope to those in need, as she partners with others who share her desires.

    When she is not at work, she enjoys spending time with her husband, two dogs and two cats. They rescued one of their dogs from the Fox Valley Animal Shelter in 2009 and both cats were outdoor rescues that found them in 2010 and 2011. 

    Her work experience as well as her volunteer experiences will be valuable in leading the way to bringing hope to others by fulfilling our mission of providing financial assistance and fundraising opportunities to any individual in need, lending a hand of support by sharing the burden and offering hope.

    She believes together we can and do make a difference! We will offer hope, one person at a time.

    “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care” John Maxwell

    Psalm 107:1 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.

  • Tina Andrew
    Senior Compliance Analyst
    Tina Andrew

    Tina A. Andrew is employed by Thrivent Financial as a Senior Compliance Analyst at their operations center in Appleton, WI. Tina holds a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. She holds the FINRA Series 24, 7, 6, and 63 securities licenses and has her State of Wisconsin Life, Accident and Health insurance license.

    Tina has watched several close relatives lose their battle to cancer and has seen first-hand the trials and tribulations a family endures during these difficult times. She looks forward to the opportunity of being involved with Celebration of Hope, Inc. and helping others feel a little less pressure during a difficult time. Tina has volunteered her time to many different events and causes over the years and has a passion for helping others.

    Tina has been married to her loving husband Mike for over 20 years and together they have two children, Logan and Killian. Tina and Mike have resided in Appleton, WI since 2001 and love the area. Tina feels that helping individuals in the Fox Valley through her involvement with this charity is truly a blessing.

  • Lori Bayer
    Lori Bayer

    Coming soon!

  • Stephanie Crowe
    Account Executive
    Stephanie Crowe

    Stephanie is an Account Executive at Insight Publications in Appleton and she holds a degree in Journalism from UW Eau Claire.

    Stephanie enjoys activities outside including running, biking, hiking and kayaking. She also loves spending time with her dog, travel and reading.

    Stephanie is excited to be part of an organization so passionate about helping those in need.

  • Barbara Rhode
    Community Volunteer
    Barbara Rhode

    For the last 35 years Barbara has been employed with an investment firm as a Client Associate in Fond du Lac, WI. She has a Bachelor of Education from National College of Education and was an elementary teacher in her early career.

    Barbara has served as secretary on the Fond du Lac Adult Literacy Services board for the past 16 years and has also been a tutor. She also delivers Mobile Meals to shut-ins.

    Barbara is very active at St. Luke’s Ev. Lutheran Church in Oakfield, WI. She teaches Sunday school, sings in the choir and volunteers in the office several hours per week.

    Barbara’s most treasured times of her life was raising her four children with her deceased husband and currently being active in her 12 grandchildren’s lives.

  • Diana Rost
    Community Volunteer
    Diana Rost

    Diana is a registered nurse and is currently working occasionally for Brightstar Care and Prairie Ridge Assisted Living. Diana started her nursing career as a CNA and then L.P.N. When her son and daughter were older, Diana went back to school and proudly graduated as a registered nurse. She has worked in long term care the majority of her career. Diana and her husband Kenneth (Butch) live in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. 

    Children, grandchildren and great-children consume much of the couple's leisure time. Son Christopher and his wife Lisa have two children and one granddaughter. Daughter Angela and her husband Cory have 3 daughters and 2 grandsons. Summertime is spent at the campground in Red Granite, Wisconsin and at their son's place in St. Germain, Wisconsin. 

    Diana's work experience and love of family enhance those well-known nurse's nurturing and caring attributes she brings to the Celebration of Hope board for the past five years. 

  • Ashley Schmit
    Owner / Photographer / Graphic Artist
    Ashley Schmit

    Owner / Photographer/ Graphic Artist

    Ashley Schmit, after graduating from UW-Whitewater in 2006, with a degree in photojournalism, is our second full-time photographer and Debbie’s partner in the business. Living in Appleton, with her cat, Bindi, Ashley enjoys art, music and time with friends and family in her free time. A good concert or outrageous road trip are never too far off in Ashley’s weekend plans.

    She and Debbie have been working side-by-side ever since Ashley’s graduation from Freedom High School in 2002. She had taken part ownership in the studio over six years ago and the long-time partnership between Debbie and Ashley has made our talent pool unmatched. Handling office tasks and the computer graphics end of the studio, on top of the regular photography work, Ashley has been an excellent addition to the Debbie Daanen Photography team. Ashley’s unique style is the perfect compliment to Debbie’s own unprecedented methods.

    Ashley, with her artistic talents, clear eye on trends, and background in journalism, has a definite bright future ahead of her. The dynamic duo of Debbie Daanen and Ashley Schmit, make an excellent team; in and out of the camera room.

  • Bobbie Thompson
    Business Development
    Bobbie Thompson

    Bobbie works for Brookdale Appleton in Business Development.  She has a bachelor’s degree in Human Services and Education. Bobbie’s master’s degree is in Organizational Leadership and Quality (Lean). Bobbie’s very first job was helping an older lady be able to remain in her own home, by being a ‘Girl Friday’, doing anything that made life easier. Along the years, she has worked in home care, healthcare, social work, administration and marketing/business development.

    Bobbie has built and operated multiple residential communities for older adults and specifically for those living with dementia/Alzheimer’s disease. Currently, she enriches lives by helping people navigate to quality assisted living. Her passion for working with older adults and connecting people with services was inspired by her mother and a rich love of her grandparents. Bobbie loves making older lives better, photography/art, interior design, laughing and travel.

    Bobbie is married to Keith and they have hosted 8 international “children” and get to live with 2 feline family members.

  • Trisha Witt
    Director of Marketing and Communications
    Trisha Witt

    Trisha Witt is the director of marketing and communications for the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center, a non-profit organization that has been serving the Fox Cities community since 2002. She has a Bachelor’s degree in communications from UW-Oshkosh.

    Trisha spends her spare time running, reading, volunteering, traveling, and spending time with family and friends. Trisha lives in Appleton with her teenage daughter who also loves to run, read, travel, and volunteer.

    Volunteering for organizations that help women and children are Trisha’s passion. She and her daughter help out at Homeless Connections twice a month, and will continue that service at least until her daughter goes away to college. Trisha also volunteers her time on the Harbor House marketing committee, finding that using her professional skills to give back to a great organization is extremely fulfilling.

    “A co-worker friend mentioned Celebration of Hope to me and I knew I needed to hear more about this organization she was so passionate about. I’m thrilled to be a part of a group that gives back to those in our community. We truly are a stronger community when we work together and support one another.”