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John & Sally Mielke Early Years Fund for the Fox Valley

To honor Dr. John Mielke’s retirement from the Appleton Area School District’s Board of Education after 26 years of service, and to recognize Sally Mielke’s many contributions to education and health care, the community has come together to thank the Mielkes by establishing a permanent charitable fund in their names. Gifts still are being accepted for the John & Sally Mielke Early Years Fund for the Fox Valley. More than $341,000 has been collected or pledged to build an endowment to fund projects and initiatives that will benefit children ages birth to five and their families. Of particular interest are initiatives that are preventative or collaborative in nature and benefit the broader community.

How to give

To support this effort and express your thanks to John and Sally for their tireless community service, you may choose any of these option for making a gift:

  • Mail or deliver your gift to:

Community Foundation
4455 W. Lawrence St.
Appleton, WI 54914

See map. Make checks payable to: CFFVR: Mielke Early Years Fund

What the fund will do

Examples of the activities grants from the fund will support include:

  • Early childhood development education or information for parents
  • Programs providing better access to effective prenatal care
  • Professional development opportunities or trainings on early childhood for staff
  • Projects with a research component focused on identifying and sharing best practices
  • Community-wide outreach about the importance of early childhood learning
  • Textbooks or other purchases essential for a new innovative curriculum
  • Methods to improve teacher quality or parent engagement
  • Strategic planning for early childhood organizations or initiatives

What They’ve Given

John and Sally have demonstrated their commitment to the earliest years of life. They see education and economic wellness as key factors in quality of life and health.

  • John was co-founder of the open heart surgery program at Appleton Medical Center over 45 years ago.
  • The Community Early Learning Center was established through John and Sally’s initiative and a lead gift from the Mielke Family Foundation.
  • John was co-founder of the Appleton Education Foundation and a founder of the Celebrating Volunteers gala, both 20 years ago.
  • John also was co-founder of the Community Health Action Team (CHAT) 16 years ago.
  • John fostered a relationship with the Waisman Center at UW-Madison, serving on its board.
  • After a career in healthcare, Sally has been a member of the nursing faculty at Fox Valley Technical College for 17 years.
  • She served on the boards of Fox Valley Technical College and the FVTC Foundation.
  • Sally served for 22 years as an Outagamie County supervisor, including two years as board chair, along with countless other nonprofit boards.
  • As partners for life, they seem to be at every function and support every important cause in the community.