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Neighborhood Partners nears big prize

A Community Foundation grant helped to get Neighborhood Partners established in 2013, and additional grants have sustained it through the years.

So, with that history, we are highly interested in a competition that could win the nonprofit neighborhood-building group one of two $50,000 Encore prizes for ideas that engage older people in helping young people thrive. Neighborhood Partners is one of 15 semi-finalists out of 170 applicants. Now it needs online votes through Aug. 31 to be among the five finalists.

Its idea is expansion of its Neighbor Ed program, which has encouraged neighbors of Appleton’s Columbus Elementary School and Butte des Morts Elementary in Menasha to share their skills in the schools, teaching such specialties as disc golf, knitting and cartooning. The $50,000 prize would provide for expansion of Neighbor Ed to the middle and high school levels.

Program Leader Julie Filapek said that in its first two years, Neighbor Ed has drawn more than 160 students to the after-school intergenerational learning activities.

To vote for Neighbor Ed, follow this link. You can vote once every 24 hours until the end of August. As of this morning, it is running fourth in the voting t0 be one of the five .

Neighborhood Partners launched its first big program ­­– a collection of neighborhood-building and environmental education efforts in the Columbus Elementary-Arbutus Park neighborhood in Appleton in 2013 – when it received our first Environmental Sustainability Partnership Grant, and follow-up grants in the succeeding two years.

Other programs to strengthen neighborhoods ­­– and the organization itself ­­– later received support from Community Education, Planning and Basic Needs Giving Partnership grants. A Basic Needs grant – supported by the U.S. Venture Fund for Basic Needs, the J. J. Keller Foundation and other partners – helped launch Neighbor Ed. It also benefitted from Mielke Family Foundation and Infant Welfare Circle grants through the Community Foundation.

Neighborhood Partners started as part of Sustainable Fox Cities but has since become a program of Goodwill Industries of North Central Wisconsin.

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