Investing in projects that address needs important to the quality of life in the Fox Valley Region
Overview: Five agencies serving the needs of preschool-aged children needed a central location to provide for more efficient operations. Information in the 2006 and 2011 Fox Cities LIFE Studies indicated a need for early intervention services for children age 5 and younger, along with more family education. The studies reported a decline in third-grade reading scores and high school graduation rates. The Community Foundation both co-sponsors the LIFE Study and helped guide the planning for the Early Learning Center.
Grant Dollars to Date: $761,750 (as of July 31, 2015)
Update: CELC opened in September 2014. We are continuing to meet with United Way about creating communitywide early childhood outcomes measurement. The Community Early Learning Center in the former St. Mary School building in Appleton is the focal point for making the most of that potential for children across the Fox Cities. And what could represent a community’s potential more than its children ages birth to five?
Overview: The Rev. John and Susan McFadden are championing a multi-faceted project to create a dementia-friendly community in the Fox Valley. Foundation-directed grants and donor support have helped the organization present activities in Memory Cafes at locations around the Fox Valley and train employees of participating businesses how to deal with people with dementia as persons.
Grant Dollars to Date: $312,619 (as of July 31, 2015)
Update: Organization received funding for half-time executive director from United Way in 2015 and filled it in June 2015. Capacity Building grant request is possible in 2016.
-- Nancy Christman on Memory Cafe activities helping with her husband's dementia.
Overview: Suspecting that homelessness was more extensive than the bed counts at area homeless shelters indicated, the Fox Cities Housing Coalition conducted a thorough survey of the incidence and causes of homelessness in the Fox Cities in April 2015, with 125 volunteers conducting 600 interviews of homeless and "near homeless" individuals doubling up with friends or family. The study was backed by more than $18,000 in the Foundation’s discretionary grant money and a $30,000 grant from the Basic Needs Giving Partnership, which is supported by the U.S. Venture Open golf outing and matching gifts from the J. J. Keller Foundation.
Grant Dollars to Date: $48,000 (as of Sept.1 2015)
Update: The survey was completed in April 2015 and a report issued. The study suggested these strategies:
Read the full report at www.fchc.net.
Overview: A multi-day blitz by the Greater Fox Cities Habitat for Humanity to address external building rehab and accessibility problems for homeowners in the Fox Cities.
Homeowner Marsha Jenks Homeowners in the Appleton neighborhood surrounding Story and Spencer streets saw an army of volunteers come to help them with needed home repairs Sept. 14-19, 2015, for the Greater Fox Cities Habitat for Humanity’s first-ever Rock the Block. The home rehab blitz was launched with the help of a $300,000 Community Leadership Initiative grant from the Community Foundation. More than 500 volunteers worked on repair and safety improvement projects to 33 properties. Habitat plans to build 13 new affordable houses starting in spring 2016 on a vacant city block that used to be the site of a manufacturing building and choose two more neighborhoods for future Rock the Block events.
Update: Greater Fox Cities Area Habitat for Humanity announced on April 27, 2016, that it is expanding Rock the Block to address 10 more neighborhoods over the next three years, including a $4 million fundraising campaign. These neighborhoods have been selected:
Overview: A partnership project to help residents of a central Appleton neighborhood (St.Therese-Columbus Elementary School-Arbutus Park area) make environmentally sound improvements that also address economic and social concerns.
Grant Dollars to Date: $175,707 (as of July 1, 2015)
Update: Neighborhood Partners was spun off from Sustainable Fox Valley and is now a program of Goodwill Industries. It will provide support for Habitat for Humanity’s ongoing neighborhood development efforts as part of Rock the Block.
Ron Sabai and a group of men were volunteering to clean out brush at Appleton’s Arbutus Park in 2009 when a Mercedes drove down the path though the park, stopped at the far end for a short time and then drove back out. A community garden was created at St. Therese Catholic Church in Appleton. “What else would he be doing there?” Ron asked. The park in a ravine between Packard and Atlantic streets – underused and neglected – had become a place for drug deals and gang activity. As the crew cleared brush, homeless men who had been sleeping there cleared out and people there for activities they didn’t want seen stopped coming. That approach expanded to the whole neighborhood when a $50,000 grant from the Environmental Sustainability Fund in 2012 started Neighborhood Partners and its first project in the Arbutus Park/Columbus Elementary School neighborhood . The fund’s focus on sustainability considers environmental, economic and social equity concerns in taking action to assure enough resources now and for future generations. Neighborhoods offer the right scale for accomplishing those goals, Julie Filapek, operations manager, said. A series of Community Foundation-funded initiatives in the target neighborhood – Franklin Street to Wisconsin Avenue and Richmond to Drew streets – has been helping residents take ownership of their neighborhood, she said. Ron was inspired by the project to plant a hay bale garden. But he said that for him this project is about far more than growing fresh vegetables. It is about taking back his neighborhood.
-- Julie Filapek, Neighborhood Partners coordinator.
Grant Dollars to Date: $67,500
Update: Action Teams were established in 2014 for Active Communities, Worksite Wellness, Early Care and Education and Food Systems. Speaker on evolutionary origins of nutrition 0n 4/27/2015. Kick-off event for Passport for Active Living Challenge, June 2015.
Overview: A collaborative effort to centralize resources available to nonprofits, identify gaps in resources and implement strategies to better support strong boards and executive directors. See details.
Grant Dollars to Date: $30,963 Update: Committees involving other funders and community leaders are being established for:
Overview: A visit by Prof. Alex Krieger of Harvard and the global architecture and planning firm NBBJ to assess riverfront development potential for five Fox Cities communities.
Grant Dollars to Date: $7,500
Update: A November 2015 workshop by a local engineering firm briefed interested planners and business people on what projects are in the works and how they relate to Krieger’s advice.
Overview: A community-wide initiative to create systematic education and support for those with traumatic brain injury.
Grant Dollars to Date: $2,000
The Community Foundation and our partners have invested substantial staff time in a regional effort to move the needle on poverty in northeast Wisconsin. This 18-month initiative, funded by the Basic Needs Giving Partnership, — supported by the U.S. Venture Fund for Basic Needs, the J. J. Keller Foundation and other community partners — will equip northeast Wisconsin nonprofit organizations with continuous improvement methodologies focused on poverty. POINT will use these processes to strengthen existing poverty reduction efforts, address service gaps and measure progress on reducing poverty in the region.
The 2016 Leading Indicators for Excellence (LIFE) Study takes a fresh approach to providing a data-focused overview of the quality of life in the Fox Cities area of Wisconsin and, for the first time, offers priorities for community action. This is an evolving resource that is designed to spark data-driven conversations within all areas of the community, leading to action and transformative change. Nearly 200 indicators related to demographic, economic, social and health aspects of community life in the Fox Cities are presented, with benchmarking against select counties, Wisconsin, and the nation, with trending information. The 2016 study is an evolution and extension of earlier community needs assessments conducted in 2001, 2006 and 2011. It was funded by the Community Foundation, United Way Fox Cities and the Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Research Partner: Community Research Partners, a nonprofit research, evaluation and data center in Columbus, Ohio, collected, analyzed, and visualized the data for this website.
VIEW THE LIFE STUDY PRIORITIES selected by a cross section of about 200 area residents after reviewing 20 "themes" of quality of life here. Selecting both for the seriousness of the need and the potential for making a positive difference, the community members selected: