Odyssey alumni

Support Odyssey

Now in its sixteenth year, this inspirational project has empowered over 400 low-income adults to find their voices and get a jumpstart at earning college degrees they never thought possible. Graduates of the program have journeyed from homelessness to UW-Madison degrees, from incarceration to meaningful work in the community. Our new Odyssey Junior program provides enrichment for children as well, and our Onward Odyssey program helps our graduates keep going in school.


Your gift enables us to help Odyssey students and graduates with both their educational and personal expenses while they attend college. Additionally, your support makes Odyssey Junior possible, helping whole families become more excited about learning and more hopeful about the future. Become a:

• Patron for $2,500+
• Sponsor for $1,000
• Friend for $500
• Supporter for $50

You can support Odyssey students and graduates through the following two funds at UW Foundation:

Matching Gift Opportunity! 

Bob Auerbach is celebrating his upcoming 90th birthday by offering to match $100,000 of donations to the UW Odyssey Project. Bob, father of Emily Auerbach, is a life-time supporter of Odyssey. Click HERE to learn more about Bob and his story!

Odyssey College Fund

This fund supports academic programming, including tuition, textbooks, and other expenses.

Friends of Odyssey Family Fund

This fund supports Odyssey Junior, helps families with basic living expenses and unanticipated emergencies, and funds Odyssey’s greatest needs.

To mail your gift: 

Send a check made payable to UW Foundation and indicate which fund you are supporting in the memo line:

  • Odyssey College Fund or
  • Friends of Odyssey Family Fund

Mail to:

UW Foundation
US Bank Lockbox 78807
Milwaukee, WI 53278-0807

To set up monthly donations to Odyssey,  click on either of the links above to support the Odyssey College Fund or Friends of Odyssey Family Fund.

University of Wisconsin Foundation’s Tax ID number is: 39-0743975. Please be sure to specify “Odyssey College Fund” or “Friends of Odyssey Family Fund” for any gifts made to UW Foundation.

Questions? Contact Colleen Johnson, UW Odyssey Project Director of Development and Community Partnerships at 608-262-4579 or colleen.johnson@wisc.edu

Other ways to support Odyssey

Interested in volunteering?

Check out volunteer options and sign up here.

Odyssey volunteerA popular way people choose to volunteer is by providing a meal for adults in the Odyssey Course and children in Odyssey Junior on Wednesday nights from September to May. This adds up to roughly 90 students and staff that we feed each night, so any help is much appreciated! We have found that meal time together fosters friendship and conversation among our students in both the Odyssey Course and Odyssey Junior. It also gives our students a sense that their community supports them in their endeavors to break the cycle of generational poverty through hard work at their education. Sandy (right) has been providing wonderful meals for Odyssey students for many years now. She says this about her work with Odyssey: “The students of the Odyssey Project are amazing. Members of my PEO Chapter BC are happy to be able to provide some meals for Odyssey students.”

Fulfill wish lists

For Odyssey Junior (enrichment classes for the children of Odyssey students and alumni), we can use art supplies, puzzles, games, notebooks, children’s books, etc. We have compiled these items into one “Wish List” on Amazon (below). We also could use gift cards for families (gas cards, dept stores like Target, grocery stores) to use as prizes and for emergencies.

Another way to help both the adult Odyssey class and Odyssey Junior is to donate meal supplies for the dinners we serve every Wednesday night before class. Each night we usually serve around 90 students between all of the classes, so we tend to go through materials quickly. Items that we could use include: plastic containers to send home leftovers with our students, napkins, plastic forks/spoons, paper plates (the sturdier the better) and bowls, plastic cups (9 oz and 16 oz), Ziploc bags (sandwich and gallon), and paper towels. These items can be dropped of either at our office (21 N. Park St., 7th floor, room #7469) or at our classroom located at 2312 S. Park St. If dropping items at the classroom, please call Em Azad (608-262-3885) to arrange a time.