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Challenge grants offer 2-for-1 deal

There’s nothing like a two-for-one deal to make you feel good about a shopping trip. Charitable giving has its own version of a two-for-one deal with challenge grants. For a challenge grant, a lead donor offers a given amount to support, but only if others contribute an equal amount. Contributors are motivated by knowing their gifts are effectively doubled. Here are some successful examples.

American Legion ($10,000 becomes $20,4145)

Need: American Legion Post 38 in Grant Chute faces a $115,000 special assessment from the town for reconstruction of the frontage road that runs past the Legion Hall on W. College Avenue.

Offer: An anonymous Community Foundation donor offered $10,000 grant to match other’s contributions.

Result: Legion backers gave $10,415 to earn the match. Post Commander Bill Falck said the challenge grant has been an important factor in the money raised so far and the attention drew four times the normal attendance to a fund-raising corn roast on Aug. 17. “People from the entire community stepped up,” Falck said.

Shawano Area Community Foundation ($50,000 becomes $140,000)

Need: Shawano had no emergency shelter to prevent homelessness.

Offer: Our regional affiliate family of funds in Shawano awarded a challenge grant of $50,000 from a combination of the Shawano Area Fund and other donor gifts to match contributions one-for-one.

Result: Shawano Area Matthew 25 (SAM 25) raised more than $90,000. “Sam’s House” is starting its second season as a warming shelter this fall.

SECURA Insurance Companies Charitable Fund ($30,000 becomes $77,000)

Need: Homeless Connections (formerly the Emergency Shelter of the Fox Valley) in downtown Appleton is always in need of operating support.

Offer: For the past two years, the SECURA Insurance Companies Charitable Fund offered to match $15,000 raised in 15 days.

Result: $46,000 was given over two years to meet the match. “We were overwhelmed with the response,” Kathryn Sieman, SECURA’s executive vice president, chief financial officer and treasurer, said.

Salvation Army ($236,000 becomes $554,000)

Need: The Christmas fund drive needed a spark to increase donations.

Offer: Community Foundation donors supported community match days in 2005, 2007, 2008 and annually since 2013 for a total of $236,000.

Result: The challenge grants in those years brought in $318,000 at the kettles.

Robert and Patricia Endries Family Foundation ($10,000 becomes $23,000)

Need: The Calumet County Sheriff’s Department had to look elsewhere than tax money to fund a K9 unit.

Offer: The Robert and Patricia Endries Family Foundation, a supporting organization within the Community Foundation, offered a $10,000 challenge grant.

Result: Donors gave more than $13,000 to the fund.

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