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On National Community Foundation Week, we celebrate a momentous year in giving

We wear a lot of hats as a community foundation serving the Fox Valley. Today kicks off national Community Foundation Week, and we think it’s a great time to recognize one of our most important jobs: Community foundations are a first responder of philanthropy. In other words, we step up to help those most in need during a crisis. And 2020 has certainly given us a few of those.

A donor within the Community Foundation has made a truly life-saving donation to area hospitals as they prepare to care for community members diagnosed with coronavirus. The anonymous donor gave more than $170,000 to Ascension St. Elizabeth Hospital and ThedaCare for the purchase of much-needed ventilators. READ HERE

The fiscal year that concluded in June 2020 was one of the most disruptive for the Community Foundation that we can remember, as the global pandemic in early 2020 changed the world. It has proved a tremendous, ongoing challenge, but it also ushered in a time where people,businesses and organizations showed their best selves. Your Community Foundation helped our region support nonprofit organizations serving those most affected and in need of help through the COVID-19 Community Response Fund. Our United Way Fox Cities friends collaborated with us, and our community provided the resources – in spades!

Thanks to gifts generously donated to the fund, local nonprofits are being awarded grants to help meet urgent basic needs such as safe shelter, food, childcare, health and financial assistance to vulnerable and marginalized population groups in Outagamie, Calumet, Shawano, Waupaca and the Neenah-Menasha area of Winnebago counties. To date more than $1.3 million in grants has been awarded to 94 local organizations.

We awarded $30.5 million in grants to more than 1,000 nonprofit organizations, taking the total grants awarded in its 34-year history to $356 million. 

The grants total includes a record $1.24 million in scholarships from more than 200 scholarship funds awarded to 434 students from 60 high schools.   

Grants from our generous donors through the Community Foundation exceeded $30 million for the second consecutive year. Each and every dollar makes a difference to the nonprofits who receive them and the people they serve,” says Curt Detjen, president and CEO. “The importance and impact of philanthropy has been more significant than ever during this pandemic, and we know that will continue through the endowments and all charitable funds in the Community Foundation.  

The grants cover the full range of charitable causes in the community, including human services, community improvement, education, health care, environment, and arts and culture. 

This week it’s only appropriate that we share our annual Report to the Community 2020. You can download a PDF or click on our new digital Report to the Community to see the stories making a difference in the Fox Valley Region. We’ve also designed our Report to the Community web page so you can easily find the statistics, stories and supporting efforts of our donors, nonprofit partners, board and staff.

Whether we realize it or not, every one of us provides an example for others.  We are so thankful for the standard our donors have set and for the role they play in modeling generosity and growing philanthropy in our region,” says Jon Stellmacher, Board Chair. “While their impact today, during the pandemic, is especially appreciated and noteworthy, their legacy will live on for all time.” 

First Five Fox Valley received multi-year grants from the Community Foundation’s Bright Idea Fund and the Basic Needs Giving Partnership within the Community Foundation, supported by the U.S. Venture Fund for Basic Needs, the J. J. Keller Foundation and other community partners

Did you know your Community Foundation is the second-largest certified community foundation in Wisconsin, and among the top 10 percent nationwide? On this kickoff to National Community Foundations Week, we celebrate the efforts of all foundations around the country who are making a tremendous impact in their communities.

Community Foundations help people, businesses and organizations make a difference by supporting nonprofits working on the causes they care about most, during and after their lifetimes. They create charitable funds with the Community Foundation that award grants to nonprofit organizations across the Fox Valley region and beyond. 

We’ve been doing this since 1986! Head on over to Our History page to see how your Community Foundation was created with $5,000 Walter L. Rugland received as part of the first Community Service Award.

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