Addressing current and future community needs.
About 5% of our total annual grant dollars come from unrestricted charitable funds donors (listed below) established to allow our Board of Directors to determine the best ways to meet ongoing community needs. The available grant dollars generated by these funds can be used to meet new challenges or opportunities no one could have anticipated, or to address the priority areas our board has established and reviews from time to time. The focus areas and the results of programs and projects that received these discretionary grant are described on our Making A Difference pages.
Unrestricted funds that generate annual grant dollars for our discretionary grant program:
One of the focus areas for our discretionary grant-making, these grants seek to enhance the availability of creative experiences through the arts, museums and other cultural opportunities. The grants are generated by charitable funds donors established, directing that the grants awarded be left up to the Community Foundation’s Board of Directors through the staff and volunteer grant committee members.
For this focus area, the priorities are:
Last year, $1.4 million in grants were awarded to nonprofit organizations for Art & Culture. See how to apply.
Todd Gorrell hung out near the Appleton bus station like the other people who were homeless. When asked to join the History Museum and the Castle’s “(In)visible: Homelessness in Appleton” exhibit, he photographed nearby offices that help the homeless to show how small the world becomes. Three Community Foundation funds awarded $26,000 in grants to the exhibit. Todd now owns a mobile home and has a job.
“This is where I’d start almost all of my days.”
Retired teacher Sena Morin showed off her artwork at The Building for Kids, recalling that she used to take her fifth-graders there. Any memory is a sign of hope for her devoted husband, Joe, and their five children. She and Joe take part in SPARK, a program that uses cultural activities to simulate memories for people with dementia. In 2015, the Fox Cities Building for the Arts was awarded a $2,000 Arts & Culture Fast Track grant and a $15,000 Arts & Culture Partnership grant along with The Building for Kids, the History Museum at the Castle and the Trout Museum of Art.
One of the focus areas for our discretionary grant-making, these grants help people struggling to be self-sufficient and support long-term solutions that move people out of poverty. The work is led by the Basic Needs Giving Partnership, supported by the U.S. Venture Fund for Basic Needs within the Community Foundation and the J. J. Keller Foundation, as well as other community partners.
Rather than addressing emergency needs, Basic Needs grants seek to address the root causes of poverty.
$5.5 million in grants went to nonprofit organizations for Human Services programs and projects in fiscal year 2015-16.
“I kind of lost myself and life happened,” the mom said, describing how she ended up jobless and homeless after the death of her son. Mental illness, drug addiction and bad luck put others there. They say cleaning up downtown Appleton for Downtown CARE, a partnership of the city, Appleton Downtown Inc. and Riverview Gardens’ ServiceWorks, helped them regain self-respect. “I get the feeling people appreciate what we do,” the woman said. A $272,142 grant from the Basic Needs Giving Partnership (supported by the U.S. Venture Fund for Basic Needs, the J. J. Keller Foundation and other partners) helped fund it.
Wayne Christman operated his own tax accounting firm in southern Wisconsin city of Burlington. He was used to being in charge. Dementia took that from him and is taking him from his wife, Nancy. Events planned by the Fox Valley Memory Project – a dance, a tour or just time at a coffee house – have helped the couple, now living in Greenville.
“I think it always helps, because you’re not alone,” Wayne said in a 2013 interview.
The Fox Valley Memory Project is the creation of the Rev. John and Susan McFadden. “We are setting the national bar for a dementia-friendly community in the Fox Valley,” John said. “It’s not just about education. It is not about any form of treatment. It’s about creating a social space of common joy and interaction.”
The Basic Needs Giving Partnership awarded a grant of $228,000 over three years to hire a program coordinator and set up a Memory Cafe resource center. Our donors have been highly supportive. More than $300,000 in grants from Community Foundation donors and our unrestricted funds have supported the group’s staffing and the activities at its Memory Cafes.
Since the award of the grant of $228,000 over three years in 2013:
Project RUSH went to the streets to learn about homelessness in the Fox Cities. In April 2015, Research to Understand and Solve Homelessness (RUSH) sent 125 volunteers out to conduct 600 interviews with people in homeless shelters, living homeless outside of the shelters and the “near-homeless.” The project was driven by the Fox Cities Housing Coalition. “The new data and the strategic analysis of the study have put the coalition in a position to develop truly innovative and collaborative solutions to those issues,” Chris Lashock, president of the coalition, said.
The study concentrated on the invisible homeless, including people who must “double up” with friends or relatives to stay out of shelters. It found an overwhelming incidence of mental illness – 57% for homeless survey participants compared to a national average of 6%. Only half were receiving the treatment they need. Child abuse or neglect, sexual mistreatment, chemical dependence and social isolation all surfaced as factors.
Read the full reports at www.fchc.net
One of the focus areas for our discretionary grant-making, these grants invest in projects that address a need important to the quality of life in the Fox Valley Region. The grants are generated by charitable funds donors established, directing that the grants awarded be left up to the Community Foundation’s Board of Directors through the staff and volunteer grant committee members.
One of the focus areas for our discretionary grant-making, these grants create awareness in the community by supporting high-impact events or programs that motivate people to action. The grants are generated by charitable funds donors established, directing that the grants awarded be left up to the Community Foundation’s Board of Directors through the staff and volunteer grant committee members.
To support or connect to community issues and/or the Foundation’s priorities (arts & culture, basic needs and self-sufficiency, environmental sustainability or nonprofit effectiveness).
Last year, Community Education grants totaling $47,510 were awarded to 18 nonprofit organizations. See how to apply.
P.A.R.T.Y. stands for Prevent Alcohol and Risk-Related Trauma in Youth. The program, which is sponsored by ThedaCare Medical Center Foundation and held at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center in Appleton, educates 10th grade students from area high schools about making poor choices and participating in at-risk behaviors, such as speeding, drinking and driving and distracted driving. These behaviors are major factors in teen-related car accidents and deaths.
The program is made possible through a collaboration involving the Trauma Center at ThedaCare Medical Center in Neenah, area firefighters, law enforcement, independent physician specialty groups, emergency medical technicians and survivors who volunteer to share their stories to put a face to the statistics.
– Post-program survey comment from a teen who attended P.A.R.T.Y. at the PAC
– Post-program survey comment from a teen who attended P.A.R.T.Y. at the PAC
One of the focus areas for our discretionary grant-making, these grants address environmental challenges in ways that help the natural environment, are economically feasible and benefit all segments of the community. The grants are generated by charitable funds donors established, directing that the grants awarded be left up to the Community Foundation’s Board of Directors through the staff and volunteer grant committee members.
In the past fiscal year, $50,000 in environmental sustainability grants were awarded to three partnerships led by Sustainable Fox Cities (Neighborhood Partners), Riverview Gardens (connecting trails) and CAP Services (Fresh Start). Another $18,500 in smaller Environmental Stewardship grants went to seven nonprofits for projects such as:
Up to 20 at-risk teens from throughout Waupaca County, most having trouble in school or with the law, are gaining construction and tech skills working on the Eco Park in Waupaca through CAP Services’ Fresh Start. They learn such skills as constructing solar panels and installing composting toilets. About 70% complete the program and 100% of those have been placed in jobs or advanced education. CAP Services received a Basic Needs Giving Partnership grant of $188,888 and a $20,000 Environmental Sustainability Partnership Grant (with partners Waupaca and UW-Extension). Why does this training succeed with these students when the traditional classroom did not? “Hands,” student Matt Moreno responded. “You’re actually doing it.”
Fresh Start crews have completed the indoor Learning Center and several other
Alternative energy sources are being installed to meet all of the Eco Park’s electrical needs.
After being so successful with the grant, CAP Services was awarded $25,000 in a 2016 Partnership grant to build an amphitheater in the Eco Park using locally sourced, environmentally friendly materials and labor from the hands of the Fresh Start participants.
In 2004, our Board of Directors agreed to a challenge. If advocates of an environmental fund could sign up at least 50 founding donors willing to donate $1,000 each, the board would approve $50,000 as a match to create the endowment. By the deadline, 54 founding donors had pledged their support and the Environmental Stewardship Fund was born. The Board later made Environmental Sustainability one of the Foundation’s focus areas, increased its funding and renamed the grant program to the Environmental Sustainability Partnership Grants. The original endowment and the Richard and Karen Gosse Environmental Fund still support Environmental Sustainability grants of up to $2,500.
One of the focus areas for our discretionary grant-making, these grants help nonprofits to plan and implement ways to serve the community better by operating more efficiently and effectively. The grants are generated by charitable funds donors established, directing that the grants awarded be left up to the Community Foundation’s Board of Directors through the staff and volunteer grant committee members.
Last year, more than $349,000 in grants were awarded to 20 nonprofit organizations.
The grants included:
As stated in the application for a $6,500 Nonprofit Effectiveness grant: “We feel the pain of our fragmented data sets each time we organize an event, develop a targeted email marketing campaign, or update our mailing list for our newsletter. Invariably, we find ourselves hastily importing, exporting, copying, pasting, and de-duping data. In addition to the wasted staff time (and frustration) … is the lost potential.”
As part of its overall plan, NAMI, an affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, recognized that its technology resources had not kept pace with its recent growth. A Cloud grant allowed NAMI to purchase and train its staff on CiviCRM, a Cloud-based program that works in conjunction with the web platform WordPress to allow nonprofit organizations to manage their membership, contributions, mass mailings and campaigns.
After a tedious eight-month process of “scrubbing” and tagging the 4,000 entries in its constituent and donor databases, the new system was launched in January 2015, with a website redesign in May 2015.