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Creating Impact by Addressing the Root Causes of Poverty

U.S. Venture’s Greg Vandenberg is part of the Community Foundation’s grant team, collaborating to fund vital programs that help the most vulnerable individuals and families in our community

By Gregory Vandenberg, director of giving and community engagement, U.S. Venture, Inc. – Appleton

As a member of the grant team for the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region, I have the unique responsibility of reviewing applications from nonprofits that address this area’s root causes of poverty. Through this work, we are able to fund innovative approaches to move upstream on poverty and invest in education, economic stability, social connectedness and both physical and mental health needs.

The Community Foundation is unique in its collaborative nature. One example of this is the Community Foundation’s collaboration with the U.S. Venture Open and the Basic Needs Giving Partnership, now a gold standard for grant making and evaluation of nonprofit work. The partnership has influenced other funds within the Community Foundation, doubling and tripling the efforts to end poverty in northeast Wisconsin.

In addition, partnerships have been formed with many local funders, the United Way and hundreds of nonprofits to leverage investments and funding to vital programs that help the most vulnerable individuals and families in our community. These efforts have resulted in mental health services embedded in our school districts, job training programs for individuals coming out of incarceration, substance abuse recovery and help for credit deficient students.

Helping to create and sustain these effective programs is one way the Community Foundation allows those who have benefited from the great people, economic conditions and education systems in our region to give back. Through collaboration, we embody the belief that together, we flourish.

Gregory Vandenberg is the director of giving and community engagement at U.S. Venture, Inc. in Appleton, an innovative leader in the distribution of petroleum, renewable energy products and more. For further information, visit

The Basic Needs Giving Partnership within the Community Foundation is supported by the U.S. Venture Fund for Basic Needs, the J.J. Keller Foundation, Inc., and other community partners. Learn more here.

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