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Vice President of Community Engagement
Tammy Geenen


[email protected]

Bright Idea Fund Spark Grants

What We Fund

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented our nonprofit sector and the people they serve with many challenges, often resulting in new ways of connecting with communities to advance their missions. Through December 31, 2021, our Bright Idea Fund Spark grants will support creative and innovative ideas from nonprofit organizations working in the areas of arts & culture, environment, basic needs & self-sufficiency, community development, and nonprofit effectiveness for any of the following:

  • Events, projects and programs (virtual or safely distanced)
  • Software or hardware improvements to connect to constituents or to help them connect with one another
  • Other alternative methods of reaching constituents
Our intention is to provide organizations with the resources needed to take a risk and try something different. Events and programs do not have to be new, however, priority will be given to requests involving innovative tactics or approaches that may help to better serve our communities well into the future.

Range of grantmaking

Typically up to $2,500 for events (one-time) and up to $5,000 for projects or programs (longer-term). Organizations may only submit one Spark application between July 1, 2021, and June 30, 2022.


Spark applications will be accepted on a rolling deadline. Applicants must complete both the inquiry and application at least 30 calendar days prior to an event, project or program start date. Applicants can expect a decision within 2-4 weeks.

What We Don’t Fund

  • General operating expenses that are not directly related to the project or event. (For general operating needs, please see Bridge grants.)
  • Fund-raisers and fund-raising events.
  • Salary support for pre-existing positions.
  • Equipment costs not directly related to the program or event.
  • Grants to individuals.
  • Travel expenses for projects, performances, training or meetings that occur outside the Fox Valley Region.
  • Ticket purchases or subsidized admission fees.
  • Previously incurred expenses.
  • Multi-year requests.

To Apply:

Register for the online grant portal. Portal registration approval may take one to two business days to process, so keep this in mind to ensure your grant application is received 30 days prior to the event.

  1. The application will be posted in our online grant portal and under the “Grant Applicant” tab. Search for “Bright Idea Fund Spark Grant” under “Available Grants.”
  2. Complete the inquiry page with your basic information and a short description of your event or project.
  3. Foundation staff will typically review inquiries within five business days and invite eligible applicants to complete the remainder of the grant application which includes project costs, anticipated funding sources and marketing/publicity plans.

Questions? Contact VP of Community Engagement Tammy Geenen by scheduling a virtual office appointment, email [email protected]g or call 920.702.7634.