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Donor-Directed Grants

Meet your giving goals now and leave a lasting legacy of making a difference in the lives of others.

What We Do

We award grants from charitable funds created by individuals, families, businesses and organizations to benefit nonprofit organizations doing personally meaningful work in the Fox Valley Region, statewide, nationwide and even globally. These grants that are recommended by our donors represent 90% of our total annual grants.

Grant Results

  • Last year, donors recommended about 90% of the $28.6 million awarded from charitable funds managed by the Foundation.
  • Donors can give through their funds to accomplish a great variety of charitable goals including:
    • Make an annual gift to a place of worship.
    • Provide scholarships to high school students.
    • Improve a park or provide access to health care and arts opportunities.
    • Benefit a college alma mater.
    • Enhance job training programs, help a library, build affordable housing.
    • Support a child’s or grandchild’s school – public or parochial.
    • Even give to charities in other states.
    • Support Fox Valley charities when living elsewhere.

Making a Difference with …

Summer of Service

Summer of Service

Jack Hanna

Jack Hanna


Neenah Park Kart




Making a Difference: NEENAH PARK KART

Park-Kart-WEBNeenah Parks and Recreation staff members are no longer limited to an armload of equipment when taking their programs to apartment complexes, Park-Kart-groupschool playgrounds and other city neighborhoods where park activities aren’t easily accessible. The Neenah Park Kart, purchased and stocked with grants totaling $2,250 from the William and Helen Burger Memorial Fund and the Schmerein Family Fund, will carry loads of toys for girls and boys this summer. “It changes the program incredibly,” Jim Kluge, Neenah recreation supervisor, said.

Making a Difference: SUMMER OF SERVICE

Summer of ServiceA program created in 2015 called Summer of Service achieved the kind of collaboration that the Community Foundation and other funders like to see, with impressive results for the young people it served.

The partnership started with Appleton police officer Sean Kuether. A native of Oshkosh, he ran similar work programs for troubled teens in Washington, D.C., and New Orleans and saw a need when he arrived back in the Fox Valley. Students in Appleton did meaningful work in local parks or at Riverview Gardens in Appleton for three weeks in August.

Partners for the project included the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Fox Valley, Appleton Truancy Court, Appleton Area School District, Esprit Counseling and Consulting, Habitat for Humanity Fox Cities, Riverview Gardens and the Appleton Parks and Recreation Department. The project also has had leadership from an Americorps National Civilian Community Corps team.

A collaboration of funding included the Mielke Family Foundation, a supporting organization of the Foundation, the Robert Dohr and Lilas Dohr Charitable Fund, Jewelers Mutual Charitable Giving Fund and donor advised funds.

The Results:

  • Three participants had their Truancy Court cased dismissed early, four others are eligible for early dismissal.
  • Sixteen participants satisfied court-ordered community service hours.
  • Sixteen participants applied for and received free bicycles, helmets, locks and lights through Riverview Gardens’ Earn-a-Bike program.
  • Of 24 participants, 21 graduated — a success rate of 87.5%.
  • The 21 participants completed 2,471 hours of service over the summer of 2015.
  • Each participant was awarded a $300 stipend and half credit toward their high school graduation.


Hanna and tortoiseFor more than 20 years, the family of Charlotte Bates Fenlon has been remembering her involvement as a volunteer naturalist at Mosquito Hill Nature Center by sponsoring a nature speaker for the public to hear. It culminated with a special anniversary speaker Oct. 16, 2015 – international wildlife advocate Jack Hanna. He packed the 700-seat Kimberly High School Auditorium and delighted people with stories of his travels and live animals including a sloth, a black-footed penguin, an Asian otter and a snow leopard. The Charlotte Bates Fenlon Memorial Fund was established after the death from cancer in 1994 of the mother of five and wife of Dr. Charles “Chick” Fenlon, who died in 2010. Their children have continued the tradition.

The Results

  • Speakers have included national names such as wildlife adventurer Jim Fowler, primate researcher Jane Goodall, wolf expert David Mech and whooping crane researcher and ultralight pilot Joe Duff.
  • State experts have done presentations on wolves, loons and nature writing.
  • Adventures who have climbed mountains, explored the arctic, raced dogsleds in Alaska’s Iditarod and kayaked 5,200 miles around the eastern United States have shared their stories.