The Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago (Bank) is pleased to announce a Wisconsin recipient of its 2016 Community First® Awards. The awards recognize outstanding achievements of the Bank’s member institutions and their local partners as they work together to strengthen their communities through affordable housing and economic development initiatives. Award categories include partnership, project or program, pioneer, and emerging leader. Award winners identify a nonprofit organization to receive up to $10,000. Today, at its member meeting in Green Bay, Wisconsin, the Bank honored one award winner.

Emerging Leader Award

Photo of Beth Baar

From left, Beth Baar, CAP Services director of real estate development, and Jen Auner, a BMO Harris Bank commercial banking vice president, were recognized by the Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago Wednesday, March 16, in Green Bay. BMO nominated Baar for the Emerging Leader Award for her work developing affordable rental housing throughout CAP’s service area.

The emerging leader award was presented to Beth Baar of Stevens Point, Wisconsin. Ms. Baar has dedicated herself to helping low-income seniors and families obtain rental housing that is both affordable and offers a high standard of living. Through her own continued pursuit of professional education and training, she rose from an entry-level position in the Family Literacy Program with CAP Services, Inc. to her current position as director of real estate services. Over the past ten years, BMO Harris Bank ( has worked closely with CAP Services, Inc. to develop affordable rental housing for seniors and families throughout Wisconsin. This partnership, among others, has resulted in a portfolio of over 700 units of housing. CAP Services, Inc. was identified as the nonprofit beneficiary of the $10,000 award.

“Today, the Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago was proud to recognize the promise and accomplishments of an individual poised to become a leader in the next generation of community developers. Her dedication to serving the underserved will benefit communities for years to come. We thank BMO Harris Bank for nominating Ms. Baar,” said Suzi Thackston, Community Investment Officer, Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago.

“Ms. Baar’s recognition is well-deserved as her commitment to helping those in need through her work can only be surpassed by her passion to create stronger communities,” said Pamela Daniels-Halisi, Head of Community Development, BMO Harris Bank. “It is our proud honor to assist with bringing more affordable rental housing to the greater Wisconsin area and collaborate with Ms. Baar along the journey.”

Later this month, the Bank will announce two more Community First Award winners at its member meeting in Oak Brook, Illinois. The Bank also supports the community investment activities of its members by offering forgivable grants for eligible projects through its competitive Affordable Housing Program; down payment closing cost assistance through its Downpayment Plus® Program; favorably priced loans and credit products through its Community Investment Cash Advances; and lower-interest-rate, longer-term financing for community development organizations through its Community First Fund.

[Originally distributed by the FHLB of Chicago]