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Community Foundation awards 5 new Bright Idea Fund grants

By Carolyn Desrosiers, Community Engagement Manager

The Community Foundation’s Bright Idea Fund has awarded five new grants to nonprofit organizations striving to improve the quality of life in the Fox Valley region. This fund combines dollars from endowments established by generous donors to address ever-changing community needs in Outagamie, Calumet, Waupaca and Shawano counties and the Neenah-Menasha area of Winnebago County.

So far, the Foundation has awarded Bright Idea Fund grants totaling $212,147 since July 1, 2018, including these five most recent grants through our Bright Idea Forum process:

Study of Youth Suicide Related Behaviors
$8,581 to N.E.W Mental Health Connection, to bring local youth and expert researchers together to better understand why 12-18-year-olds in our region attempt suicide at nearly twice the rate of state and national averages. This project was also supported by a $1,418.33 grant from the Joyce Hoerig Memorial Fund within the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region.

Shawano Area Early Childhood Partnership  
$15,000 over three years to Family Services of Northeast Wisconsin, to bring together Shawano-area stakeholders to collaborate on early childhood initiatives and hire staff to deliver home visitation and education services to the most at-risk, vulnerable families.  This project was also supported by grants of $15,000 from the Shawano Area Community Foundation, $30,000 from the Mielke Family Foundation, and $178,523 from the Basic Needs Giving Partnership Fund within the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region supported by the U.S. Venture Fund for Basic Needs, the J. J. Keller Foundation and other community partners.

Peter & The Wolf: An Introduction to Ballet and Orchestra  
$24,000 for Makaroff Youth Ballet to collaborate with the Appleton Area School District and Fox Valley Symphony to launch an integrated live performance of Peter and the Wolf, introducing first graders to ballet and orchestra at a key early age.

Makaroff Youth Ballet wolf mask! (L to R)Katy Hopp, Renee Ulman, and Oliver Zornow

Voting for a Change Exhibit  
$5,000 to Neenah Historical Society to bring the history of the 19th Amendment to life for thousands of Neenah students and community members through an interactive exhibit with a local focus and related community-based programming. This project was also supported by a grant of $2,000 from the William and Helen Burger Memorial Fund within the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region.

Community Immigration Immersion Specialist
$35,000 over two years to World Relief Fox Valley to create a community immigration immersion specialist position that will provide outreach, immigration legal services, and integration support to Latinos in the Fox Cities, while strengthening cross-cultural relationships.

We’ll be sharing individual stories about each of these grants here in The Loop in the weeks ahead.

We introduced our Bright Idea grant program more than a year ago, and are pleased with not only the impact in the community, but the excitement being generated by donors and nonprofits. About 5% of all grants awarded from within the Community Foundation each year come from the Bright Idea Fund.

The fund awards grants through application and review processes (including Discovery, Spark and Bright Idea Forum) that align with our five focus areas, each with specific priorities. See past grant recipients.

You can also visit our Bright Idea Fund FAQ page.

Check out our current Bright Idea Fund results from 2018 – 2019!

See how our Bright Idea fund impacted our community last year.


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