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Community Engagement Manager
Carolyn Desrosiers


[email protected]

Mielke Family Foundation

Fostering education through improvements in health care, the arts and care for the young and aging.

Families of Funds


Through education, the Mielke Family Foundation seeks to encourage innovative ideas that elevate and impact individuals in the Appleton and Shawano areas related to health care, the arts and care for the young and aging.

Education is not limited merely to schooling, but more broadly defined as follows:

“Education has to do with discovery – that learning of the culture, the meanings assigned, the rarefied techniques that have come out of life experiences of people. They seem to be just as important for human adaptation as these things that we have singled out in school to teach.”

– Edmund Gordon

The Mielke Family Foundation is one of the most active philanthropic foundations in northeast Wisconsin. It was established in 1963 by Dr. Edward F. Mielke and his wife, Beulah (Bee), together with sisters Ruth and Sarah Mielke. The Mielke Family Foundation existed as a private foundation before becoming a separately governed Supporting Organization within the Community Foundation in 1996. Click here for more information and history on the Mielke Family Foundation.

What We Fund

A competitive grant proposal will:

  • Be educational at its core and address one or more of the focus areas of health, arts, children & youth, or aging.

  • Focus on individuals residing within the Appleton or Shawano school districts.

  • Consider collaborative, intergenerational and/or two-generation models (preferred but not required).

  • Be designed with diversity, equity, and inclusion in mind*

Proposals to pilot an idea, implement an idea post-pilot, or strategically expand an existing program or initiative will all be considered. Most grant awards will be for one year, however multi-year grants will be considered in certain circumstances.

Range of grantmaking:  Successful grant awards typically range between $5,000-$20,000 per application.

Deadline: The Mielke Family Foundation considers proposals each year in the Spring and Fall.

  • Spring Cycle: Inquiry deadline no later than Mar. 1.  Applications due Mar. 18 at 4 p.m.  Decisions by early May.
  • Fall Cycle: Inquiry deadline no later than Aug. 29 Applications due Sept. 12 at 4 p.m. Decisions by early-November.

What We Don't Fund

  • Initiatives that don’t serve the communities of Appleton and/or Shawano. If your nonprofit organization is physically located outside of the Appleton or Shawano area school districts, you will be required to submit a letter of support from a collaborating organization within one of these areas.

  • General operating support is not typically funded.

  • Bricks & mortar projects are typically not funded.

To Apply

  1. Eligibility - Please read the Community Foundation’s general grant policies.

  2. Alignment - If you meet these policies and feel you have an idea that fits the Mielke Family Foundation's grant guidelines, please contact Community Engagement Manager Carolyn Desrosiers by e-mail or phone (contact below), or set up a virtual office appointment to describe your idea. 

  3. Application & Interview - If in alignment, you will be given a password to submit an application in our online grant portal.Note: Portal registration is required and can take up to two business days. Once registered, you will find the application under the heading “GRANT APPLICANT” select “AVAILABLE GRANTS” and look for 'Mielke Family Foundation'. After your application is complete, an interview will be scheduled virtually or in-person with representatives of the Mielke Family Foundation grants committee so they can learn more.

  4. Decision - Within 4-6 weeks of your interview, you will be informed of the Mielke Family Foundation’s decision.


  • Diversity – the presence of differences that may include race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity, nationality, socioeconomic status, language, (dis)ability, age, religious commitment or political perspective. We seek for Mielke Family Foundation grant-funded activities to be reflective of the diversity present in the communities we serve.
  • Equity – fairness or justice in the way people are treated with an understanding of the root causes of outcome disparities within the communities we serve.
  • Inclusion – an outcome to ensure those that are diverse actually feel and/or are welcomed. Inclusion outcomes are met when you, your institution and your program are truly inviting to all.

Please reach out to staff to discuss your need or request:

Carolyn Desrosiers
Community Engagement Manager