During this National Community Foundation Week, I’m happy to say that philanthropy is thriving in the Fox Valley area.
That’s certainly the message in our annual Report to the Community for fiscal year 2014-15. Our donors set a record for the second consecutive year by awarding $16.3 million in grants to 986 nonprofits for the year that ended June 30. Grants were made to help projects like Habitat for Humanity’s first Rock the Block blitz, and the collaborative research on homelessness done by the Fox Cities Housing Coalition. These efforts and more feed the excitement for giving in what is already a generous community.
While 5% of our total grants was directed by the Community Foundation through our discretionary grant programs involving our board and volunteer committees, another 5% was awarded in scholarships to 271 students. Did you know we manage one of the largest scholarship programs in northeast Wisconsin on behalf of our donors? The remaining 90% of the grant total was directed by our donors to their favorite charitable organizations.
We thanked our donors, volunteers and other supporters this week during our annual Celebration of Giving, held at Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin’s new food bank along I-41 in Little Chute. A $1.6 million donation from an anonymous Community Foundation donor allowed the food bank to open a year earlier than it otherwise would have.
Our founder, Walter L. Rugland, would be proud and amazed to see that his original $5,000 gift 29 years ago has sparked the kind of outpouring of generosity from the community that has enabled us to become the second-largest Community Foundation in the state, and among the top 60 of more than 750 Community Foundations nationwide. The humble Fox Valley is keeping company with New Orleans, Dallas and San Antonio community foundations on the national list. We’re proud of our region and grateful for the generous giving that strengthens our community for the benefit of all.
Curt Detjen, President/CEO, Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region.
Email him at [email protected].