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Bright Idea Fund Grants 2019-2020

Fiscal Year 2019 - 2020

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.

To learn more about how to apply, CLICK HERE. All grants awarded from the Bright Idea Fund from the July 1, 2019 start of our fiscal year to present are listed below.  (See our Bright Idea results from our last fiscal year 2018-2019.)

Arts & Culture

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¬†‚ÄĒ¬†Create thoughtful ways to include people who ordinarily do not or cannot participate.

Priority 2: Educating children and youth ‚ÄĒ¬†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.

¬†2019 Annual Diversity Cookout‚Äď Celebrate Diversity Fox Cities
$2,000 to sponsor the 2019 Annual Diversity Cookout celebrating our uniqueness, what we have in common, and promote inclusion and goodwill in our community.
Priority: Increasing Access & Inclusion

Latino Fest 2019 ‚Äď Casa Hispana
$2,500 to sponsor Latino Fest, a free celebration of the diversity and richness of Latino cultural heritage, held on Sept. 7, 2019, which provides an opportunity for many Latinos to come together, and for the greater Fox Cities community to interact with their Latino neighbors.
Priority: Increasing Access & Inclusion

¬†Rhythms of the World ‚Äď IndUS of Fox Valley
$2,000 to sponsor Rhythms of the World, a collaborative event held during the Downtown Appleton Farmer’s Market on Sept. 14, 2019 that invites the community to celebrate and learn about cultural heritage through a wide variety of performances.
Priority: Increasing Access & Inclusion

Big Arts in the Little Apple ‚Äď The Trout Museum of Art, Inc.
$3,500 to provide professional development, supplies, and artist instruction for Appleton Area School District (AASD) teachers to enable over 1000 K-12 students to participate in this community-wide exhibition of art inspired by music in partnership with the Fox Valley Symphony.
Priority: Educating Children and Youth

Music at Sacred Sites ‚Äď Calumet & Cross Heritage Society Inc.
$1,500 to honor Brothertown Indians buried in the. shape-note singing event at the Union Cemetery in Brothertown, WI, commemorating the 175th anniversary of the publishing of “Indian Melodies” Brothertown tribal leader Thomas Commuck’s Tune Book. Read More
Priority: Educating Children and Youth

Art classes for Ascend Participants ‚Äď Pillars
$2,500 to provide regular arts enrichment classes at the Ascend program, which serves young adults ages 18-25 with mental health challenges, to help them build social skills, trust and self confidence.
Priority: Educating Children and Youth

Basic Needs & Self-Sufficiency

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 ‚ÄĒ¬†Support affordable educational and training opportunities or programs that remove barriers to earning a family-sustaining income.

Priority 2:¬†¬†Children and youth ‚ÄĒ¬†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 ‚ÄĒ¬†Educate the community about critical issues or potential solutions related to root causes of poverty.

Shoulders to Stand On ‚Äď Life Tools Foundation
$2,000 to implement the Shoulders-to-Stand-On Program and to provide low income girls equalized opportunities to successfully pursue post-secondary education and to remove barriers that could prevent them from reaching their goals.  Read More
Priority: Children & Youth

Community Early Learning Center of the Fox Valley ‚Äď Advancing Early Childhood Initiative
$50,690 to support the collaborative effort to encourage early childhood growth, development, and education in the Fox Valley.  Read More
Priority: Children & Youth

 U.S. Venture Fund for Basic Needs  
$15,000¬† This grant represents the Community Foundation’s support of the Aug. 14, 2019 US Venture Open, which provides grant dollars that will be distributed through the Basic Needs Giving Partnership’s grantmaking process during the 2019-20 fiscal year. Read More
Priority: Community Leadership

Career Launch Studios –¬† Appleton Area School District
$20,000  to expand its innovative Career Launch Studios to all Appleton High Schools as venues for students, teachers, and parents to make real world, face-to-face connections with business professionals representing high-demand careers in the New North.
Priority: Children and Youth

“Changing How We Treat Mental Health” – US 2 Behavioral Health Care Inc.¬†
$57,600 to provide culturally responsive counseling to minority groups in the Fox Cities and offer trainings and consulting to local agencies that also seek to serve minority clients.
Priority: Community Leadership

Outagamie County SAFE Project – N.E.W. Mental Health Connection, Inc
$20,000 to give individuals with mental illness the option to provide a personalized safety plan so first responders across 11 police departments and 40 fire and emergency medical services can provide appropriate support and avoid costly and damaging criminal charges.
Priority: Community Leadership

Community Development

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 ‚ÄĒ¬†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 ‚ÄĒ¬†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 ‚ÄĒ¬†Educate the community about issues key to improving quality of life.

Women’s Fund for the Fox Valley Region, Inc.¬†
$5,000 to support educational programming that raises awareness of and addresses the needs of women and girls in the Fox Valley region. Read More
Priority: Community Education and Awareness

2019 Fox Valley Ethics in Business Summit РThe Samaritan Counseling Center of the Fox Valley, Inc. 
$1,500 to support the October 1, 2019, Fox Valley Ethics in Business Summit, which fosters a culture of integrity at work and in the community.
Priority: Community Education and Awareness


Rock the Block Waupaca – Greater Fox Cities Area Habitat for Humanity
$25,000 to help bring the Rock the Block neighborhood revitalization program to Waupaca in May 2020.  

Priority: Neighborhood Development

Voices of men

Voices of Men Call to Action Breakfast – United Way Fox Cities
$2,500 to sponsor the Nov. 21, 2019, Voices of Men Call to Action breakfast in Appleton, which raises awareness about sexual assault and domestic violence and inspires men and boys to take action to be part of the solution, often in small, everyday ways.  Read more.
Priority: Community Education and Awareness

Delightfully Calumet

Delightfully Calumet Holiday Light Show – Delightfully Calumet, Inc.
$2,000 to support a drive-through holiday light show at the Calumet County Fairgrounds in Chilton co-sponsored by 10 county service organizations, which instead of charging admission, asks attendees to donate money or canned goods to stock the shelves of food pantries throughout Calumet County.  
Priority: Community Partnerships

farm market

Winter Public Market – Creative Downtown Appleton
$10,000 to transform the existing weekly Winter Farm Market into a vibrant, once-a-month Public Market in the Fox Cities Exhibition Center that would bring together food producers, small businesses, artisans, health and wellness resources, children’s activities and a wide variety of entertainment.
Priority: Community Partnerships

Centennial Celebration – League of Women Voters of Appleton
$14,650 to recapture the voices of women, particularly black women lost to history,with a year-long, collaborative celebration of the 19th amendment, and continued efforts to gain equality for all women.
Priority: Community Partnerships

Financial Literacy Free Day – Money Smart Week – Fox Cities
$500 to offer an event for the whole family called Financial Literacy Free Day. Kids will learn about spending, sharing and saving by using Museum money. They will discover the importance of budgeting by investing their pretend money, purchasing healthy snacks and takeaway items, doing fun activities and learning about sharing with others.
Priority: Community Partnerships


PURPOSE: Bright Idea Fund grant dollars may periodically be used throughout the year to support creative, economically feasible solutions that benefit broad segments of the population to improve the well-being of current and future generations.

Priority 1: Access and Inclusion ‚ÄĒ Provide opportunities and remove barriers so all people can experience nature and learn the importance of a healthy environment.

Priority 2: Community Education & Awareness ‚ÄĒ Improve environmental education and increase public awareness about environmental topics affecting our communities, homes and places of business.

Priority 3: Well-Being ‚ÄĒ Preserve, protect and enhance the region’s natural resources in ways that will improve the well-being of current and future residents.


Children’s Canopy Walk – Heckrodt Wetland Reserve
$5,000 to support project interpretation costs for the Children’s Canopy walk, an elevated, accessible, outdoor classroom that will educate children about the beauty and habits of animals, trees, migratory birds and more. Read more.
Priority: Access and Inclusion

Bringing a Blue Mind Experience to the Fox Valley РFox-Wolf Watershed Alliance
$2,500 to host a free public event featuring speaker Dr. Wallace J. Nichols, in conjunction with the Watershed Conference in March of 2020, on what he refers to as Blue Mind – a powerful new universal story of water.
Priority: Community Education and Awareness

Nonprofit Effectiveness

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

Priority 1:¬†Organizational Planning ‚ÄĒ Encourage and support organizations to plan for change, expansion or partnerships to fulfill their missions more effectively.

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

Priority 3:¬†Education and Training ‚ÄĒ¬†Provide opportunities for nonprofit leaders to become effective in fulfilling organizational missions.

Giving USA – Giving Trends for Nonprofits – Fox Valley Technical College
$251 to support for Mark Germano, who spoke on Charitable Giving: Glass half full or half empty in the Fox Valley region.  Read more.
Priority: Community Education and Awareness

Nonprofit Leadership Initiative (NPLI) 
$50,000 to support the initiative’s efforts to provide Fox Valley nonprofit organizations with resources to develop strong executive leaders and board members to help the organizations achieve their missions. ‚Äč Read More
Priority: Education & Training

National Philanthropy Day Sponsorship – Association of Fundraising Professionals-NE WI
$1,000 to sponsor local National Philanthropy Day professional development opportunities for nonprofit staff members and the philanthropy awards luncheon on November 15, 2019, in Neenah. Read more.
Priority: Education & Training

Merger work with Best Friends Neenah-Menasha – Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Fox Valley Region
$10,000 to support merger-related work involving Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Fox Valley Region and Best Friends Neenah-Menasha. Read more.
Priority: Capacity Building

Curation is Key for a Museum – Friends of Hearthstone, Inc.
$15,000 to bring focus, stability and consistency to the organization’s mission by adding a part-time Curator staff position.
Priority: Capacity Building

InterSector’s Regional Nonprofit Compensation and Benefits Survey РOshkosh Area Community Foundation
$2,000 to support a regional nonprofit compensation and benefits survey project led by InterSector. The survey will equip nonprofit leaders with current information to help them build better compensation structures and set competitive salaries to support staff retention.
Priority: Capacity Building

Nonprofit Board Training workshop – United Way Fox Cities
$1,154 to support the Nonprofit Board Training workshop Sept. 25, 2019
Priority: Education and Training

Funding Information Network Sponsorship 2020 – Lawrence University
$749 to to support 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