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Basic Needs Giving Partnership releases an additional $5 million to regional nonprofits

$5 million in additional funding has been released to regional nonprofits for emergency relief from the Basic Needs Giving Partnership within the Community Foundation, supported by the U.S. Venture Fund for Basic Needs, the J.J. Keller Foundation, Inc., and other community partners.

Leaders from the U.S. Venture Open and the Basic Needs Giving Partnership are responding to growing need among charitable organizations due to the pandemic by making additional funds available immediately. The announcement includes the following to support nonprofits focused on ending poverty in Northeast Wisconsin:

  • Given the extraordinary need in Northeast Wisconsin and the opportunity for regional impact, the Basic Needs Giving Partnership is injecting an additional $5 million into its 2020-2021 grantmaking total through the community foundations in Green Bay, Fox Valley and Oshkosh.
  • $425,000 has been made available immediately to the COVID-19 Response Funds at the community foundations in the Fox Cities, Oshkosh and Green Bay. More information about the response funds is available on each community foundation’s website.
  • And, the Basic Needs Giving Partnership is announcing $4,082,091 in new spring 2020 grants and $2,711,097 in spring 2020 multi-year grants to regional nonprofits for programs addressing the root causes of poverty.

Representatives from the fund’s board of directors, leadership from all three community foundations, and lead funders released the additional funds from the endowment in response to the unprecedented need in Northeast Wisconsin. Funds are raised through the U.S. Venture Open with lead funders U.S. Venture, J. J. Keller Foundation, Oshkosh Corporation, ThedaCare and Thrivent Foundation.

“This is the rainy day we have been saving for,” says Greg Vandenberg, director of giving and community engagement for U.S. Venture. “The pandemic impacts every aspect of how nonprofits work, and more people are seeking help. That increased volume affects funding, programs, staffing, and operations for area nonprofits.” Vandenberg also cites the ongoing protests condemning racism and the need to invest in income inequality and racial equity as drivers for increased funding.

In order to more effectively respond to the needs of non-profit partners, the Basic Needs Giving Partnership grantmaking process is being redesigned to maximize flexibility. Changes include:

  • Rolling applications – Funds may be requested on an ongoing basis rather than individual community foundation’s deadlines for annual grant requests.
  • Funding will not be restricted to collaborative grants and may be used for shorter-term needs such as meeting operating expenses.

Requests will be accepted starting in August. Refer to the Basic Needs Giving Partnership pages on the respective community foundation websites for more information.

“The leadership of the Basic Needs Giving Partnership recognizes the level of public health and economic damage done during the pandemic, so we want to make an investment upstream in anticipation of preventing future need,” Vandenberg said.

Click to watch news coverage from WBAY-TV:

Funds are raised through the U.S. Venture Open
Basic Needs Giving Partnership funds are raised through the U. S. Venture Open, the nation’s largest one-day charitable event dedicated to eliminating the root causes of poverty. Last year, the Open realized a record level of donations of $5.2 million, thus giving the opportunity to release additional funds to the community.

However, this year’s event is a taking a new direction. To follow CDC recommendations on social distancing, the 2020 U.S. Venture Open will forgo golf at multiple regional golf courses and the evening dinner at Van Abel’s of Hollandtown. Instead, the event will move into a space designed to inform, educate and activate donors about how the funds raised help the most vulnerable in our communities:

  • Donations are being raised through an online fundraiser; donate here or text USVO to 762-78.
  • Organizers will hold an online auction to run July 29 – August 12
  • The U.S. Venture Open is holding a regional media-thon fundraiser in partnership with the U.S. Venture Open, WBAY-TV and Woodward Radio Group. The media platforms will educate the public through live reports, stories, and talk shows culminating in a day of celebration and fundraising on Wed., August 12. Woodward Communications will air programming on its stations all day, live reports will be featured on WBAY-TV 2 throughout the day, and WBAY will televise a one-hour program communicating the need for regional nonprofits.

“When we explained the extreme need to our media partners, they immediately said ‘how can we help?” Vandenberg said. “We are blessed to have such concerned and generous partners in Northeast Wisconsin.”

Through the Basic Needs Giving Partnership’s legacy grant program, $4,082,091 was awarded in new spring 2020 regional grants and $2,459,347 was distributed in spring 2020 multi-year grants. Regional grants have been awarded to 127 nonprofit/organizations supporting innovative programs helping those in need throughout Northeast Wisconsin. Collaborating nonprofits/organizations receive funds for programs addressing the root causes of poverty through the community foundations in Green Bay, Fox Valley and Oshkosh.

Funding breakdowns are:

  • Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region awarded new grants of $1,273,725 and distributed $1,456,299 to multiple year grants;
  • Greater Green Bay Community Foundation awarded new grants of $1,583,656 and distributed $481,750 to multiple year grants;
  • Oshkosh Area Community Foundation awarded new grants of $1,224,710 and distributed $773,048 to multiple year grants;
  • This includes a regional grant awarded in the amount of $71,500.

Grants are focused on programs that reduce poverty by creating economic stability, increasing access to education, building family support and social connection, and improving health and wellness.
A grantmaking match of $800,000 from U.S. Venture & the J. J. Keller Foundation, $250,000 from Oshkosh Corporation and $200,000 from both ThedaCare and the Thrivent Foundation lead this effort. Three community foundations review and award grants to regional nonprofits that address poverty.

Recipients of the Basic Needs Giving Partnership Grants for Spring 2020 are:

2020 Spring Basic Needs Giving Partnership Grants
$4,082,091 in new Spring 2020 grant commitments
$2,711,097 in Spring 2020 grants distributed

Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region:

  • $2,273,725 in new Spring 2020 grant commitments
  • $1,456,299 in Spring 2020 grants distributed


First Five Fox Valley: Welcome Baby Project: $120,000 (Year 1 of 5, $500,000 total)
To improve the process by which our community supports new families to ensure better outcomes for all and support those with the greatest needs. This Welcome Baby Initiative seeks to focus on the process by which we reach, assess, and connect new families with community resources through three primary activities. (1) Expansion of Welcome Baby Pre/Post Natal and Welcome Baby Home visits to increase initial reach and evaluation by over 80%; (2) development of Welcome Baby Community events that utilize the Building for Kids Children’s Museum as a safe, accessible, and universal venue and tool to build trusting relationships and decrease stigma; and (3) support a multi-agency database to improve efficiency and effectiveness of referral network. Collaborators: First Five Fox Valley, Building for Kids

Rebuilding Together: Building a Healthy Neighborhood: $99,456 (Year 1 of 3, $298,725)
Repair homes of low-income residents to foster safe and healthy housing, develop a set of neighborhood volunteers to sustain repair efforts when Rebuilding Together leaves the neighborhood in 3 years, and build social connectedness among neighborhood residents and the organizational capacity of the neighborhood to sustain itself into the future. Collaborators: Rebuilding Together Fox Valley, Goodwill NCW/Neighborhood Partners, and the West Appleton Neighborhood

LEAVEN: Client Resource Coordinator: $45,000 (Year 1 of 3, $135,000 total)
To hire a full-time Client Resource Coordinator. By strengthening our internal operations, we can improve the overall delivery of our services and those of our LEAVEN Community Resource Center partners, resulting in an enhanced client experience and improved client outcomes. Recipient: LEAVEN

Us2 Behavioral Health: Creating Capacity to Accelerate Health Equity, Systematically: $120,000 (Year 1 of 3, $300,000 total)
To create additional internal capacity to move from the current therapy-focused model to one that is consulting-driven. With the proper funds to maintain ongoing operating costs, our leadership team will have additional capacity to allocate towards building and implementing Equity, Diversity & Inclusion programs to help drive capability in existing providers so we can close this disparity gap as ONE community. Collaborators: Us2 Behavioral Health, B.A.B.E.S.

Mission of Hope House: Moving Families Forward Planning Project (Year 1 of 1: $15,000 Planning Grant + $25,000 Operational Support)
To strategize, plan and initiate a program with our collaborators to use current available resources and create new resources to remove barriers and assist homeless families and individuals residing at Mission of Hope House (MOHH) to gain affordable and sustainable housing. We will also create an aftercare program to support families and individuals when they leave Mission of Hope House. Recipient: Mission of Hope House of Wisconsin Inc


Almost Home Expansion: $19,963 (Year 3 of 3, $69,180 total)
Expand the Almost Home program, providing wraparound case management services helping at-risk families attain safe, affordable housing. Collaborators: Greater Fox Cities Area Habitat for Humanity, Goodwill Industries of North Central Wisconsin

Counseling for Low Income Spanish Speakers: $118,774 (Year 3 of 3, $295,920 total)
Establish and strengthen a center of excellence for Spanish speakers to seek mental health treatment, education and support in one place, located close to the heart of our region’s Spanish-speaking neighborhoods. Collaborators: Samaritan Counseling of the Fox Valley, NAMI Fox Valley

Education Advocate: $38,070 (Year 3 of 3, $168,403 total)
Double the capacity of the successful Education Advocate program which removes barriers and helps people enroll in GED, English Language Learning (ELL), and/or FVTC programs, with a long-range goal of improving their economic stability. Expanding the program will allow it to serve the communities of Chilton, Hortonville, Seymour and New London. Collaborators: Fox Valley Technical College, LEAVEN

Enhancing Educational Programming for 3-5 Year Olds: A Mindfulness-Based Kindness Project $48,000 (Year 3 of 3, $296,450 total)
To reduce poverty-based achievement gaps by implementing and testing a mindfulness-based curriculum with preschoolers. Collaborators: Community Early Learning Center of the Fox Valley, Lawrence University, UW-Fox Valley, UW-Madison – Healthy Minds Innovation Team

Pillars Day Resource Center: $76,000 (Year 3 of 3, $266,000)
To create a day resource center where people who are experiencing homelessness and not connected to services can access service and provide a hub of homelessness services. Collaborators: Pillars, Inc., St. Matthew Lutheran Church

STAR Program: $100,000 (Year 3 of 3, $300,000 total)
Improve academic achievement levels, graduation rates, and post-secondary participation rates of African-American and Black youth through creation of the STAR program. Collaborators: Boys & Girls Clubs of the Fox Valley, African Heritage Inc., Menasha Joint School District, Appleton Area School District, Fox Valley Technical College, Lawrence University

Community Resource Center: $79,516 (Year 2 of 3, $248,608 total)
Ensure effectiveness for the newly-created multi-agency LEAVEN Community Resource Center by adding needed staff and data management tools. Collaborators: LEAVEN, FISC, St. Vincent de Paul, Fox Valley Technical College, Energy Services, Inc.

Eliminating barriers to long-term employability: $90,860 (Year 2 of 3)
To provide supported employment services to Riverview Gardens clients who face significant barriers to long-term employment. Collaborators: Riverview Gardens, Valley Packaging Industries

Individual Placement Support Services Program (IPS): $57,426 (Year 2 of 3, $212,343 total)
To implement a new evidence-based Individual Placement and Support (IPS) Services program that helps those with severe and persistent mental health illness find, keep and thrive in jobs. Collaborators: Valley Packaging Industries, Aspire Vocational Services, Outagamie County Mental Health, Wisconsin Department of Health Services, NAMI Fox Valley – Iris Place

Shawano Area Early Childhood Partnership: $59,265 (Year 2 of 3, $178,523 total)
Develop an early childhood coalition that will, among other things, work with vulnerable parents within their natural home environment using the Parents as Teachers model. Collaborators: Family Services of Northeast Wisconsin, ThedaCare, Family and Childcare Resources of Northeast Wisconsin, Shawano County Department of Human Services

Single Room Occupancy Program: $50,000 (Year 2 of 3, $150,000 total)
Create a single room occupancy program for individuals currently living in shelter, who can pay rent but have barriers that keep them from renting in the housing marketplace. Recipient: Pillars, Inc.

Spanish Resource Advocate: $39,000 (Year 2 of 3, $118,995 total)
Hire a Spanish Resource Advocate who will build trust between basic needs agencies and the Hispanic community, educate service providers about best practices and provide culturally responsive services that increase access and lead to greater self-sufficiency. Collaborators: St. Vincent de Paul, LEAVEN, Partnership Community Health Center

Traumatic Brain Injury Support Program: $134,204 (Year 2 of 3, $295,491)
To develop and implement a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Support Program including services to survivors, whether or not they are living in homeless shelters, and educational programming. Collaborators: SOAR Fox Cities, Pillars, Inc., Harbor House Domestic Abuse Programs, Apricity, Neuroscience Group, Christine Ann Domestic Abuse Services

Wisconsin Veterans Village Navigator: $67,140 (Year 2 of 3, $201,420 total)
To staff the emerging Wisconsin Veterans Village with a “navigator” who will help connect Veterans to internal and external services appropriate to their needs. Collaborators: Wisconsin Veterans Village Association, Goodwill Industries, ThedaCare, Outagamie County Housing Authority, Fox Valley Technical College

Greater Green Bay Community Foundation

  • $1,583,656 in new Spring 2020 grant commitments
  • $481,750 in Spring 2020 grants distributed

Visit the Greater Green Bay Community Foundation for grant details.

Oshkosh Area Community Foundation

  • $1,224,710 in new Spring 2020 grant commitments
  • $773,048 in Spring 2020 grants distributed

Visit the Oshkosh Area Community Foundation for grant details.

Questions? Contact Dawn Ruchala or Mary Schmidt.

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