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Community Engagement Manager
Carolyn Desrosiers


[email protected]

Bright Idea Fund Bridge Grants

What We Fund

The ongoing challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic are threatening the ability of many nonprofit organizations in the Fox Valley Region to fulfill and sustain their missions. In response, the Community Foundation opened a temporary grant program to serve as a financial “bridge” during this difficult time.

The Bridge grants program provides short-term general operating support to qualifying charitable organizations working within our focus areas of arts and culture, basic needs and self-sufficiency, community development, environment and nonprofit effectiveness. (Environmental requests also must meet at least one of these priorities of the Environmental Stewardship Fund.)


  • Applicants are established 501(c)(3) charitable organizations that can provide compelling evidence of an urgent or impending financial need and are able to demonstrate prior financial health and high potential for future stability.
  • Applicants must serve residents in the Community Foundation’s service region, which includes Calumet, Outagamie, Shawano, Waupaca and the Neenah and Menasha area of Winnebago counties. Educational institutions, government programs or entities, religious organizations, programs and offices within an organization, and organizations with a fiscal sponsor are not eligible to apply.

Proposal Criteria

The strongest proposals will be those that make a compelling case based on the following criteria:

  • Documents an urgent or impending financial need related to the Covid-19 crisis.
  • Contributes to the quality of life in the Fox Valley region and provides a service not readily available from other charitable organizations or private sources.
  • Demonstrates the potential for re-establishing financial stability with the help of a grant.
  • Has used creative problem-solving to weather the crisis thus far.
  • Demonstrates that both the Executive Director and the Board of Directors have been active in finding solutions during this period of difficulty.

Range of Grantmaking

  • Eligible organizations are invited to apply for up to $25,000 in general operating support. Applicants will be asked to document their entire financial need even if it exceeds $25,000.
  • Multiple organizations seeking to collaborate or merge for reasons of efficiency may be eligible for additional funding. Multiple organizations considering applying should contact Carolyn Desrosiers ([email protected]), or call 920.702.7625 before completing an application.
  • With the applicant’s permission, proposals will be made available to donors with funds within the Foundation and other local funders if unmet need exists beyond the grant award.

Application Deadline and Review

Applications will be accepted year-round with a rolling deadline and reviewed on a monthly basis.

What We Don’t Fund

  • Endowment-building.
  • Organizations that do not have a high potential for future stability regardless of this support.
  • Organizations that have sufficient resources to weather the crisis (significant endowments or reserves).

To Apply

  1. Review the Foundation’s general grant policies to ensure eligibility, in addition to the eligibility criteria outlined on this page.
  2. Schedule a virtual office appointment, Email Carolyn Desrosiers, or call 920.702.7625. to discuss your application. If eligible, your will be given the application password to begin an application in the grant portal. The application is password-protected to prevent organizations that are not eligible from investing valuable time completing the application only to learn they will not be considered.
  3. Once you are registered for the grant portal and have been given the password to begin your application, you will find it under the “Grant Applicant” tab, “Available Grants” then search for “Bright Idea Fund Bridge Grant.”


Schedule a virtual office appointment, email Carolyn Desrosiers or call 920.702.7625.