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Community Foundation awards five new Bright Idea Fund grants

The Trout Museum of Art is one of five recent recipients receiving grants from the Bright Idea Fund within the Community Foundation, for its Restorative Justice Immersive Arts Program for youth. (Photo courtesy of the Trout Museum of Art.)


Five area organizations will receive grants totaling $109,000 from the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region’s Bright Idea Fund. The unrestricted fund is improving quality of life in five strategic focus areas: arts and culture, basic needs and self-sufficiency, community development, environmental sustainability and nonprofit effectiveness. Within these five categories, proposals for grants are evaluated by a group of community volunteers, and through the Foundation’s unique Bright Idea Forum, an interactive pitch session.

The Bright Idea Fund combines dollars from endowments established by generous donors to address ever-changing community needs in Outagamie, Calumet, Waupaca and Shawano counties and the Neenah-Menasha area of Winnebago County. The Foundation has awarded Bright Idea Fund grants totaling $739,486 since July 1, 2018.

Bright Idea grants awarded to nonprofits in spring 2019 include:

Strengthening Menasha from the Inside Out
$20,000 to Neighborhood Partners, a program of Goodwill Industries of North Central Wisconsin to strengthen core Menasha neighborhoods by mobilizing neighbors using an asset-based community development approach.

Pretrial Financial Equity
$20,000 to Outagamie County Volunteer in Offender Services to equalize pretrial release conditions by providing items such as GPS monitoring bracelets to eligible defendants who lack financial means, thereby decreasing the harm caused by incarceration, while collecting data to justify this initiative for future county funding.

Development and Outreach Manager
$41,500 over two years to Rebuilding Together Fox Valley to add a full-time Development and Outreach Manager position that would increase the financial sustainability of the agency, expand its network of volunteers, and reduce expenses through partnerships with licensed contractors. This is a co-investment with Oshkosh Area Community Foundation.

Technology to support teen suicide prevention
$15,000 over two years to The Samaritan Counseling Center of the Fox Valley, to move from its current paper-based case management system for student mental health screening to a cloud-based software, saving time and money, providing a higher level of care to parents and families, and allowing the organization to license the program to create sustainable revenue.

Restorative Justice Immersive Arts Program
$12,500 over two years to The Trout Museum of Art, Inc., to implement a year-long, immersive arts program for youth under the supervision of Outagamie County Youth & Family Services.

Check out our current Bright Idea Fund results from 2018 – 2019!  See how our Bright Idea Fund impacted our community last year.


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