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The Community Foundation awards six new Bright Idea Fund grants

By Carolyn Desrosiers, Community Engagement Manager

We’re excited to announce our Community Foundation’s Bright Idea Fund has awarded six 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.

Carolyn Derosiers, Community Engagement Manager

The Foundation has awarded Bright Idea Fund grants totaling $348,641 since July 1, 2018. Bright Idea grants awarded to nonprofits in winter  2019 include:

Transferable Skills Training for Fox Cities Community Employment
$54,730 to Valley Packaging Industries to increase clients served, client skills developed, and clients placed in competitive, community-based jobs by incorporating overall wellness, technology skills, and service-oriented transferable skills training for people with disabilities.

Child Advocacy Center – Promoting Healing for Child Victims
$30,000 to increase capacity by 1.5 FTE medical staff to accommodate for a recent upsurge in child abuse referrals and mitigate the risks of secondary traumatic stress (STS) on providers.
This project was also supported by a $20,000 grant from the Robert Dohr and Lilas Dohr Current Community Needs Fund within the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region.

Bright Idea Fund applicants presenting their proposals at our winter Bright Idea Forum.

Calumet County Mural Initiative
$29,950 to Calumet County Historical Society to create a series of culturally rich, historically informed public murals in Chilton and Stockbridge that celebrate these communities’ diverse histories and interconnected narratives, while crafting related curriculum and visual arts opportunities for local youth. Collaborators include ART Attack! and the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design.

Province Terrace Trail Extension
$9,949 to the City of Menasha Parks & Recreation to extend the Paper Trail starting at the corner of State Highways 10 and 114 in Menasha up to Nature’s Way, closing an unsafe gap in the trail and bringing two sides of the community together while encouraging outdoor recreation.

Cycling Without Age & Making the Ride Happen
$6,240 over three years to Fox Cities Greenways, Inc. to enhance the Making the Ride Happen program, which coordinates vehicle transportation options for non-driving seniors, to add a network of trained volunteers who can provide trishaw bicycle rides, allowing seniors to spend time outdoors interacting with their community. A partnership of Fox Cities Greenways, Lutheran Social Services, Volunteer Fox Cities, and the Wisconsin Bike Federation.

Young Women’s Initiative Mental Health Services
$5,625 to Women’s Fund for the Fox Valley Region, Inc. to pilot the addition of mental health services for participants and graduates of the Starting Point 2.0 and EmpowHer programs, which are designed to improve the long-term economic security of young women ages 18- 29. Collaborators include B.A.B.E.S. Inc., Fox Valley Technical College, and Samaritan Counseling.

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.

You can make the Bright Ideas burn even brighter by adding your support.
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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