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Bright Idea Fund Grant Results

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.  

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

Study of Youth Suicide Related Behaviors -N.E.W. Mental Health Connection
$8,581 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.

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.

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.

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

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

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: Education and Training

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

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

Want to help bright ideas burn even brighter? Learn how to get involved.