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Fighting poverty with basic training

Posted on Jan 29, 2015, by

Five programs — five more ways to help people pull themselves out of poverty — will share $688,000 in grant money over the next three years awarded by the Basic Needs Giving Partnership.

The Basic Needs Giving Partnership is funded by the U.S. Venture Fund for Basic Needs within the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region from the annual U.S. Venture Open golf outing, with matching money from the J. J. Keller Foundation and other contributors.

This partnership formed in 2007 between the Community Foundation, U.S. Venture, J. J. Keller and the families that own the two companies, has been around long enough to have achieved an understanding of what it takes to accomplish its mission of “addressing the root causes of poverty.”

It’s clear that these root causes are complex and intertwined. They are not easy and they are quite messy. They involve aspects of our society we would rather turn away from, as we would a beggar on a metropolitan street.

Lynn Peters blogThe problem must be attacked from many angles, by many players and by many partnerships.

In this latest round of grantmaking, the common thread through all five programs is education. And all of them involve nonprofits working with other nonprofits, as well as businesses. Technology as new as renewable energy installations and a trade as old and industrial as welding all will be part of the answer to fighting the root causes of poverty.

Grants were awarded to:

  • CAP Services: $188,188 over three years to expand the Fresh Start Program to include a significant training component related to renewable energy to increase the potential for program graduates to secure life-sustaining jobs. Collaborators are the city of Waupaca, Northwind Renewable Energy, Waupaca Foundry and Faulk Brothers Construction, all of Waupaca.
  • Fox Valley Literacy Council: $45,000 over three years to add an English Language Learning staff member to improve the literacy skills of low-income adult learners who are newly in our country.
  • Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Wisconsin ($150,000 over three years) and Fox Valley Technical College Foundation ($81,385 over three years): To teach individuals living at or near the poverty line essential life skills and welding, place them in high-demand jobs and help them reach self-sufficiency. Collaborators are Casa Hispana and Miller Electric of Appleton.
  • Sustainable Fox Valley: $73,500 over three years to help children living in neighborhoods of concentrated poverty escape the cycle and the expectation of poverty to realize academic and personal success and self sufficiency. Collaborator is Columbus Elementary School.
  • Valley Packaging Industries: $150,000 over three years to develop Thrive Academy, which will give individuals with disabilities the skills and support necessary to obtain and keep employment to become self-sufficient. Collaborator is Community Care.

Learn more about the Basic Needs Giving Partnership at, and how to apply for a grant at

Lynn Peters is the Community Relations Manager for the Basic Needs Giving Partnership. Email her at [email protected]

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