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Grant boosts homeless jobs training program

A $272,142 grant from the Basic Needs Giving Partnership will help Riverview Gardens expand its ServiceWorks program to employ homeless people doing additional cleanup work in downtown Appleton beyond what city crews normally do.

Working with Appleton Downtown Inc. and the City of Appleton, Riverview Gardens, a job training program and urban farm on a former Appleton country club property, will train and supervise the workers to do cleanup downtown, at Jones Park and at the downtown Transit Center. The proposed three-year program is expected to temporarily employ 80 people in all. The grant will pay just under half of the cost of the program, called Downtown CARE (Clean, Assess, Refresh and Enhance).

The Basic Needs Giving Partnership is funded by the U.S. Venture Fund for Basic Needs within the Community Foundation from the annual U.S. Venture Open golf outing, with additional money from the J. J. Keller Foundation and other community partners. U.S. Venture recently announced $1.2 million in basic needs grants awarded to 70 nonprofit organizations in northeast Wisconsin.

Graduates of the training will receive a certificate, a job reference and help finding work. They also will be eligible for Riverview’s “Earn a Bike” program.

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