COPE’s History

History of COPE

In 1978, COPE was founded by the Mequon Thiensville Junior Woman’s Club with a vision to provide support for parents via support groups and a Hotline. Calls were taken at the homes of volunteers. There were 78 calls in the first year. COPE Services, Inc. was incorporated as a non-profit organization as defined under section 501 (c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code in November of 1978. The first office was located at the corner of Highland Road and River Road in Mequon, Wisconsin. Since that time COPE has taken hundreds of thousands of calls from people from all over the greater Milwaukee community and beyond.

In April 1981, COPE contracted with Ozaukee County to provide 24-hour access to crisis intervention for the citizens of Ozaukee County while also remaining an emotional support line for Southeastern Wisconsin and beyond. In fact, COPE Services receives calls from all over the United States. In December 1999, the COPE Administrative Office moved to its current home and joined with six other non-profit agencies in the Family Enrichment Center.  The listening center is located at an undisclosed location.

Executive Directors of COPE:

1978 to 1981 – Louise Schreiber
1981 to 1985 – Nancy Schlaak
1986 to 1996 – Dorothy Dyken
1996 to 1999 – Betsy Collins
1999 to 2004 – Dinny Nemacheck
2004 to 2005 – Pat Longabaugh
2005 to 2011 – Kathy Schmit
2011 to 2012 – Julie Leutenegger
2012 to 2014 – Jo Heckenbach
2014 to 2015 – Joan Kojis
2015 to Present – Cecile Duhnke

Cecile Duhnke, Executive Director
Cecile Duhnke, Executive Director