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Bright Idea Fund Grant Results 2018-2019

Fiscal Year 2018 - 2019

Bright Idea Fund Grants Making a Difference 

Our Bright Idea Fund combines dollars from generous donors who believe in giving in ways that address ever-changing community needs together. The fund generates grants to preserve the quality of life in Calumet, Outagamie, Shawano and Waupaca counties and the Neenah-Menasha area of Winnebago County.

The Bright Idea Fund:

  • Offers ways that you can give to help address community needs. Learn how
  • Is informed by community-based data found in research like the Fox Cities LIFE Study.
  • Engages staff, board members and volunteers representing diverse professional, personal and community backgrounds when making grant decisions.

 All grants awarded from the Bright Idea Fund from the July 1 start of our fiscal year to present are listed below. To see grants addressing a particular focus area, select one of the images below. See our Bright Idea results from last year.


PURPOSE: To enhance appreciation of and participation in visual, musical, performing and literary arts, history and other cultural experiences.

Priority 1: Increasing access and inclusion — Create thoughtful ways to include people who ordinarily do not or cannot participate.

Priority 2: Educating children and youth — Develop opportunities for school-aged children and youth to understand the value of artistic or cultural experiences, especially those who ordinarily do not or cannot participate.

Contemporary Hmong Art & Culture Exhibit – Lawrence University
$1,700 to support an art exhibit created by Hmong-American artists and related public programs to increase engagement of Hmong-Americans in cultural experiences as well as the community at large in exploring cultural identity and what it means to belong. Read More
Priority: Increasing access and inclusion.

Opening Night Outreach – Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra
$2,500 to engage at-risk youth and homeless people in a classical music performance and talk-back session with classical violinist Kelly Hall-Tomkins to discuss the barriers she overcame to participate in music.
Priority: Increasing access and inclusion.

“Sharper Edges: Women Working on the Edge of Glass” – Bergstrom-Mahler Museum of Glass
$3,000 to give underserved and at-risk young women (grades 5-12) the opportunity to experience Bergstrom- Mahler’s “Sharp Cookie: Women Working on the Edge of Glass exhibit”, discuss with the artists the social issues represented in the art work and create their own expressive art piece.
Priority: Educating children and youth. Read more

 “A Veterans Salute” Performance – Sweet Adelines – Fox Valley Chorus
$1,000 to support a community concert that honors veterans and their families for their military service. The event includes a flag ceremony and music that was popular throughout times of conflict.  The event is held in gratitude for veterans’ role in keeping our country and community safe. Read more.
Priority: Increasing access and inclusion.

Jump Up and Shout! – Weyauwega Arts Organization
$1000 to engage at-risk youth in the creation, performance and filming of a skit and music video about civic responsibility and voting.
Priority: Educating children and youth.  
Read More


Peter & The Wolf: An Introduction to Ballet and Orchestra – Makaroff Youth Ballet
$24,000 to collaborate with the Appleton Area School District an Fox Valley Symphony to launch an integrated live performance of peter and the Wolf, introducing all first graders to ballet and orchestra at a key early age.
Priority: Educating children and youth. Read More


Voting for a Change Exhibit – Neenah Historical Society
$5,000 to bring the history of the 19th Amendment to life for thousands of Neenah students and community members through an interactive exhibit with a local focus and related community-based programming.
Priority: Educating children and youth. Read More


Mass: A Theatre Piece for Singers, Players and Dancers – Lawrence University
$2,500 to support an operatic performance incorporating sign language and a deaf character to help educate hearing audiences about the richness of deaf/hard of hearing language and culture.
Priority: Educating children and youth. Read More



Graphic Score and Big Arts in the Little Apple – Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra
$2,500 to develop visual tools to help people of all backgrounds better understand and connect with musical pieces performed by the Symphony.
Priority: Educating children and youth. Read More



4th Annual Diversity Discovery Free Day – The Building for Kids
$1,500 to help fund free admission on February 10 at the Building for Kids Children’s Museum which includes local nonprofit groups facilitating educational activities in the museum to increase awareness and understanding of diversity in the community.
Priority: Educating children and youth. Read More

Return to Nam – Old Glory Honor Flight
$2,000 to support the creation and distribution of a book to capture the stories of local Vietnam Veterans to educate wider audiences, including local schools and libraries, about the sacrifices made.
Priority: Access and Inclusion.

 

Calumet County Mural Initiative – Calumet County Historical Society
$29,950 to  to create a series of culturally rich, historically informed public murals in Chilton and Stockbridge that celebrate these communities’ diverse histories and interconnected narratives, while crafting related curriculum and visual arts opportunities for local youth. Collaborators include ART Attack! and the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design.
Priority: Educating children and youth. Read More

Brats, Beer & Beethoven – Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra Association
$10,000 to support a free, family-friendly event featuring a concert by the Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra and fireworks at the Fox Cities Stadium. The Symphony is reaching out to families and adults with special needs to enjoy rehearsal in a sensory-friendly environment.
Priority: Educating Children and Youth. Read More

 

Restorative Justice Immersive Arts Program – The Trout Museum of Art
$12,500 for a year-long, immersive arts program for youth under the supervision of Outagamie County Youth & Family Services.
Priority: Educating Children and Youth.

 

Mile of Music – Lawrence University
$7,500 to support up to 60 free, hands-on, live music and cultural education activities to engage and educate kids and adults of all ages during Mile of Music in downtown Appleton August 1-4, 2019.
Priority: Educating Children and Youth. Read More

 

Learn how to apply for a Bright Idea grant for an Arts & Culture proposal.

PURPOSE: Reduce the number of people in our community who are living in poverty by using innovative or collaborative approaches to address root causes.

Priority 1: Self-sufficiency — Support affordable educational and training opportunities or programs that remove barriers to earning a family-sustaining income.

Priority 2:  Children and youth — Address barriers to future success, including risk-related behaviors, mental health challenges, bullying, abuse and neglect, and opportunity gaps for children and youth.

Priority 3: Community Education and Awareness — Educate the community about critical issues or potential solutions related to root causes of poverty.

Young Parent Conference – Appleton Area School District
$1,000 to support a day-long conference connecting over 100 teen parents with area resources, so they can access services that help them become self-sufficient and overcome barriers to their future success.
Priority: Self-sufficiency Read More

Study of Youth Suicide Related Behaviors -N.E.W. Mental Health Connection
$8,582 to bring local youth and expert researchers together to better understand why 12-18-year-olds in our region attempt suicide at nearly twice the rate of state and national averages.
Priority: Community education and awareness.  Read More

Shawano Area Early Childhood Partnership – Family Services of Northeast Wisconsin
$15,000 over three years to bring together Shawano area stakeholders to collaborate on Early Childhood initiatives and hire staff to deliver home visitation and education services to the most at-risk, vulnerable families.
Priority: Community education and awareness. Read More

Advancing Early Childhood Project – Community Early Learning Center of the Fox Valley
$36,810 to support the collaborative effort to encourage early childhood growth, development, and education in the Fox Valley. This includes continued support of the Advancing Early Childhood Director position and a facilitated planning process around the project’s organizational structure and governance.
Priority: Children and youth.

African Heritage Emerging Leader Student Institute (AHELSI) – African Heritage, Inc.
$2,500 to support a three-day leadership institute for Black/African American high school and college students as well as K-12 educators to promote educational success, career exploration and job opportunities.
Priority: Children and youthRead More

 

United Hmong American Association – UHAA
$1,000 to support a two-day event that will provide local Hmong students with culturally relevant resources around leadership, higher education, career development and mental health, while celebrting Hmong art and culture.
Priority: Children and youth. Read More

 

2019 Fox Cities Reads – Fox Cities Book Festival, Inc.
$2,500 to support free public presentations in April by Matthew Desmond, the Pulitzer-Prize winning author of Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City.
Priority: Community education and awareness. Read More

 

Transferable Skills Training for Fox Cities Community Employment – Valley Packaging Industries
$54,730 to increase clients served, client skills developed, and clients placed in competitive, community-based jobs by incorporating overall wellness, technology skills, and service-oriented transferable skills training for people with disabilities.
Priority:Self-sufficiency Read More

Promoting Healing for Child Victims – Children’s Hospital Child Advocacy Center
$30,000 to increase capacity by 1.5 FTE medical staff to accommodate for a recent upsurge in child abuse referrals and mitigate the risks of secondary traumatic stress (STS) on providers.
Priority: Children and Youth
Read More

 

Young Women’s Initiative Mental Health Services – Women’s Fund for the Fox Valley Region
$5,625 to pilot the addition of mental health services for participants and graduates of the Starting Point 2.0 and EmpowHer programs, which are designed to improve the long-term economic security of young women ages 18- 29. Collaborators include B.A.B.E.S. Inc., Fox Valley Technical College, and Samaritan Counseling.
Priority: Self-sufficiency Read More

 

Pretrial Financial Equity – Outagamie County Volunteer In Offender Services
$20,000 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.
Priority: Self-sufficiency

Learn how to apply for a Bright Idea grant for a Basic Needs proposal.

 

PURPOSE: Build strong communities by supporting government, business, philanthropic and/or nonprofit sectors, along with residents, to improve the places in which they live, work and play.

Priority 1: Neighborhood Development Enrich local neighborhoods by building connections and bringing people together to address local issues, with particular attention to neighborhoods with significant opportunities for improvement.

Priority 2: Community Partnerships Support community-wide projects or planning efforts involving partnerships between people and organizations in the private, public and nonprofit sectors.

Priority 3: Community Education and Awareness — Educate the community about issues key to improving quality of life.

Educational Luncheon – Women’s Fund for the Fox Valley Region
$5,000 to support educational programming that raises awareness of and addresses the needs of women and girls.
The annual luncheon attracts an audience of more than 1,000 people.
Priority: Community education and awareness.   Read More


Ins and Outs of Autism: A Community and Family Educational Series – Bridge the Gap, Inc.
$1,000 To support an autism education speaker series for the greater Shawano County area to raise awareness and promote understanding of the abilities of those on the autism spectrum. Read More
Priority: Community education and awareness.

 

P.A.R.T.Y at the PAC 2018 – ThedaCare Family of Foundations, Inc.
$1,500 to fund the 2018 P.A.R.T.Y  (Prevent Alcohol and Risk-Related Trauma in Youth) at the Performing Arts Center in Appleton. Alcohol, speeding, and distracted driving are major factors in teen-related car accidents and deaths. This annual event invites more than 5,500 local 10th grade students from 35 schools across the Fox Valley region to learn about the consequences of at-risk behaviors and making poor choices.
Priority: Community education and awareness. Read More


Sexual Assault Education & Outreach 
Fox Valley Voices of Men
$7,500 to support the annual Voices of Men Call to Action Breakfast and the presentations at area middle schools by sexual assault survivor Chelsea Bongert, in tandem with slam poet Guante, to give students a greater understanding of their part in creating a community where abuse does not exist.  
Priority: Community education and awareness.
Read More


Hello: Let’s Talk Fox Valley – Fox Valley Advance Care Planning
$2,500 to support the purchase of 10 games of ‘Hello’, a fun, interactive game for all ages, so up to 500 participants can increase their awareness and knowledge of the financial and emotional importance of advance care planning.
Priority: Community education and awareness. Read More

 

Historic Central Neighborhood Big Puppets Parade – Goodwill Industries of North Central Wisconsin
$2,000 to collaborate with the Historic Central Neighborhood, Columbus Elementary and the Renaissance School to design, construct and present a Big Puppets Parade that will travel from Arbutus Park to the Imagine City Park event on June 1.
Priority: Community partnerships. Read More

 

Rock the Block Expansion – Greater Fox Cities Area Habitat for Humanity
$50,000 to help expand the Rock the Block program into Brillion in 2019, and to support a “mega” event in Menasha in late summer/early fall.
Priority: Neighborhood development. Read More

 

Women’s Fund for the Fox Valley Region
$5,000 to support the Women’s Fund Luncheon educational program to raise awareness of barriers to self-sufficiency facing women.
Priority: Community education and awareness.

 

Connected Communities: Fostering Deeper Understanding of Trauma Informed Care – Friends of Wisconsin Public Television, Inc.
$1,300 to host engagement events around the release of a new documentary about Trauma-Informed Care to raise awareness and provide education with a specific focus on young learners, parents, caregivers and teachers.
Priority: Community education and awareness. Read More

Cycling Without Age & Making the Ride Happen – Fox Cities Greenways, Inc.
$6,240 to enhance the Making the Ride Happen program, which currently coordinates vehicle transportation options for non-driving seniors, to add a network of trained volunteers who can provide trishaw bicycle rides, allowing seniors to spend time outdoors interacting with their community. A partnership of Fox Cities Greenways, Lutheran Social Services, Volunteer Fox Cities, and the Wisconsin Bike Federation.
Priority: Neighborhood development. Read More

Paper Trail Extension – City of Menasha
$9,949 to extend the Paper Trail starting at the corner of State Hwys 10 and 114 i Menasha up to Nature’s Way, closing an unsafe gap in the trail and bringing two sides of the community together while encouraging outdoor recreation.
Priority: Neighborhood development. Read More

 

Fox Cities Veterans Village – Wisconsin Veterans Village Association
$50,000 to develop a first-of-its-kind Veterans Village located in Appleton that will provide housing, support and community to veterans throughout their life in a veteran-centric culture.
Priority: Neighborhood development. Read More

 

Strengthening Menasha from the Inside Out – Goodwill Industries of North Central Wisconsin
$20,000 to strengthen, from the inside out, core Menasha neighborhoods by mobilizing neighbors using an asset-based community development approach.
Priority: Neighborhood development. Read More

Learn how to apply for a Bright Idea grant for a Community Development proposal.

PURPOSE: Support creative, economically feasible solutions to environmental challenges that benefit broad segments of the population to improve quality of life for current and future generations.

Priority 1: Children and youth — Provide innovative opportunities to help children and youth fully understand and appreciate the importance of a healthy environment, particularly for children with less access to these opportunities.

Priority 2: Sustainable practices — Creatively address environmental issues affecting our communities, homes and places of business, while considering social and economic consequences.

Priority 3: Community Education & Awareness — Raise the level of public knowledge about issues of environmental sustainability by offering educational opportunities and experiences open to all members of our community.

Solar panels at Bubolz

Need for Alternative Energy (within the Need for Nature Program) – Fox Cities Environmental Learning Campus/Bubolz Nature Preserve
$75,000 To help implement a new education program geared toward area middle and high school students, with a focus on alternative energy by leveraging Faith Technologies’ microgrid installation, including solar, hydrolysis, a natural gas turbine and wind. It is the largest microgrid in the Midwest, and powers the campus on the preserve in Appleton.
Priority: Children and youth Read More

Learn how to apply for a Bright Idea grant for an Environmental Sustainability proposal.

PURPOSE: Strengthen the internal functioning of nonprofit organizations so that they can effectively serve our community.

Priority 1: Organizational PlanningEncourage and support organizations to plan for change, expansion or partnerships to fulfill their missions more effectively.

Priority 2: Capacity Building — Help organizations implement changes in leadership, management or outreach capacity arising from systematic planning.

Priority 3: Education and Training — Provide opportunities for nonprofit leaders to become effective in fulfilling organizational missions.

Ethics in Business Summit – The Samaritan Counseling Center of the Fox Valley, Inc.
$1,500 to sponsor Ethics in Business Summit Education & Training, an event that helps leaders foster a culture of integrity at work and in our community.
Priority: Education and Training

Results-Based Accountability Learning Session – United Way Fox Cities
$5,000 to support a results-based accountability learning session on September 11, 2018, for area nonprofit organizations and other interested community members. RBA is a disciplined way of thinking and taking action that communities can use to improve the lives of children, youth, families, adults and the community as a whole.
Priority: Education and Training

Strategic Planning – Common Ground
$5,000 to assist with strategic planning for Common Ground, which connects faith and community leaders to cultivate health, healing and wholeness in the Fox Cities.
Priority: Capacity Building

Community Immigration Immersion Specialist – World Relief Fox Valley
$35,000 over two years to create a Community Immigration Immersion Specialist position that will provide outreach, immigration legal services, and integration support to Latinos in the Fox Cities, while strengthening cross-cultural relationships.
Priority: Capacity building.

Development at a New Level – Fox Valley Lutheran Homes, Inc.
$9,000 to provide a second year of funding to support a part-time Administrative/Development Assistant to allow the Executive Director to focus her efforts on increasing revenue to support their mission.
Priority: Capacity Building

2018 National Philanthropy Day, NE Wisconsin Sponsorship – Association of Fundraising Professionals, Northeast Wisconsin
$1,000 to sponsor the 2018 National Philanthropy Day in Northeast Wisconsin, which includes professional development sessions for staff members of nonprofit organizations, and a philanthropy awards luncheon.
Priority: Education and Training

2018 Nonprofit Board Training Workshop – United Way Fox Cities
$3,625 to sponsor a Nonprofit Board Training Workshop presented by Bryan Clontz on how to create and execute a planned giving program with a shoestring budget and staff.
Priority: Education and Training

Funding Information Network Sponsorship 2019 – Lawrence University
$840 to sponsor the Funding Information Network at Lawrence University to help provide local nonprofit organizations with free access to Foundation Center funding databases and trainings.
Priority: Education and Training

Strategic & Sustainability Planning – Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra
$5,000 to support a facilitated strategic planning and sustainability process while the organization transitions to onboarding a new music director who will play a role in shaping the future of music education and live music performance in the community.
Priority: Capacity Building

Technology to Support Teen Suicide Prevention – The Samaritan Counseling Center of the Fox Valley, Inc.
$15,000 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.
Priority: Capacity Building Read More

Development and Outreach Manager Capacity Building – Rebuilding Together – Fox Valley
$41,500 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.
Priority: Capacity Building

POS System – Bergstrom-Mahler Museum
$10,000 To implement a point of sale (POS) system that improves efficiency, provides an analytical tool to identify sales opportunities and inventory control, and more expedient customer service to support the organization’s mission and increase profits.
Priority: Capacity Building

Learn how to apply for a Bright Idea grant for a Nonprofit Effectiveness proposal.

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