Northeast Wisconsin nonprofits can apply for $5 million in new funding



APPLETON – The Basic Needs Giving Partnership is releasing $5 million to support local nonprofits and adding $425,000 to COVID-19 relief efforts in an area from Oshkosh to Green Bay. 

The Basic Needs Giving Partnership works with the Green Bay, Fox Valley Region and Green Bay community foundations to allocate money to nonprofits focused on eliminating poverty in the region.

The partnership’s main source of funds is the U.S. Venture Open annual golf event. Lead fundraisers U.S. Venture, the J. J. Keller Foundation, Oshkosh Corp., ThedaCare and the Thrivent Foundation also match the money raised at the golf outing, with donations between $200,000 and $800,000 each. Last year’s event raised a record $5.2 million, which allowed for the added funding.

The money was released from the partnership’s endowment to address a need for funding that goes beyond the $4 million in grants and $2.7 million in multiyear grants it awarded this spring. It comes at a time when surveys of Wisconsin nonprofits show many have cut services and face dire financial straits as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

RELATED: Wisconsin nonprofits face financial dire straits as they continue to cope with coronavirus

RELATEDU.S. Venture Open to feature online fundraisers instead of charity golf outing due to coronavirus pandemic

“This is the rainy day we have been saving for,” Greg Vandenberg, director of giving and community engagement for U.S. Venture, said in a statement. “The pandemic impacts every aspect of how nonprofits work, and more people are seeking help. That increased volume affects funding, programs, staffing, and operations for area nonprofits.”

Vandenberg said protests condemning racism and the need to invest in income-equality and racial-equity efforts also drove the increased funding. 

The partnership’s grants combat poverty by supporting programs that create economic stability, increase access to education, build family support and improve health and wellness. 

Considering the unprecedented need, the community foundations said they’ll streamline the application and distribution processes. There will be no application deadline and awards will be flexible, so nonprofits can respond to immediate needs. Requests will be accepted starting in August.

As for the spring grants already awarded, here’s the breakdown by area:

  • The Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region awarded new grants of $1,273,725 and distributed $1,456,299 to multiple year grants.
  • The Greater Green Bay Community Foundation awarded new grants of $1,583,656 and distributed $481,750 to multiple year grants.
  • The Oshkosh Area Community Foundation awarded new grants of $1,224,710 and distributed $773,048 to multiple year grants.
  • There was a regional grant awarded of $71,500.

Here are the recipients:


New grants

  • First Five Fox Valley: Welcome Baby Project: $120,000 (Year 1 of 5, $500,000 total): To improve the process by which our community supports new families to ensure better outcomes for all and support those with the greatest needs. This Welcome Baby Initiative seeks to focus on the process by which we reach, assess, and connect new families with community resources through three primary activities. (1) Expansion of Welcome Baby Pre/Post Natal and Welcome Baby Home visits to increase initial reach and evaluation by over 80%; (2) development of Welcome Baby Community events that utilize the Building for Kids Children’s Museum as a safe, accessible, and universal venue and tool to build trusting relationships and decrease stigma; and (3) support a multiagency database to improve efficiency and effectiveness of referral network. Collaborators: First Five Fox Valley, Building for Kids
  • Rebuilding Together: Building a Healthy Neighborhood: $99,456 (Year 1 of 3, $298,725): Repair homes of low-income residents to foster safe and healthy housing, develop a set of neighborhood volunteers to sustain repair efforts when Rebuilding Together leaves the neighborhood in three years, and build social connectedness among neighborhood residents and the organizational capacity of the neighborhood to sustain itself into the future. Collaborators: Rebuilding Together Fox Valley, Goodwill NCW/Neighborhood Partners, and the West Appleton Neighborhood.
  • LEAVEN: Client Resource Coordinator: $45,000 (Year 1 of 3, $135,000 total): To hire a full-time Client Resource Coordinator. By strengthening our internal operations, we can improve the overall delivery of our services and those of our LEAVEN Community Resource Center partners, resulting in an enhanced client experience and improved client outcomes. Recipient: LEAVEN.
  • Us2 Behavioral Health: Creating Capacity to Accelerate Health Equity, Systematically: $120,000 (Year 1 of 3, $300,000 total): To create additional internal capacity to move from the current therapy-focused model to one that is consulting-driven. With the proper funds to maintain ongoing operating costs, our leadership team will have additional capacity to allocate towards building and implementing equity, diversity and inclusion programs to help drive capability in existing providers so we can close this disparity gap as one community. Collaborators: Us2 Behavioral Health, B.A.B.E.S.
  • Mission of Hope House: Moving Families Forward Planning Project (Year 1 of 1: $15,000 Planning Grant and $25,000 Operational Support): To strategize, plan and initiate a program with our collaborators to use current available resources and create new resources to remove barriers and assist homeless families and individuals residing at Mission of Hope House to gain affordable and sustainable housing. We will also create an aftercare program to support families and individuals when they leave Mission of Hope House. Recipient: Mission of Hope House of Wisconsin, Inc.

Multiyear grants

  • Almost Home Expansion: $19,963 (Year 3 of 3, $69,180 total): Expand the Almost Home program, providing wraparound case management services helping at-risk families attain safe, affordable housing. Collaborators: Greater Fox Cities Area Habitat for Humanity, Goodwill Industries of North Central Wisconsin.
  • Counseling for low-income Spanish speakers: $118,774 (Year 3 of 3, $295,920 total): Establish and strengthen a center of excellence for Spanish speakers to seek mental health treatment, education and support in one place, located close to the heart of our region’s Spanish-speaking neighborhoods. Collaborators: Samaritan Counseling of the Fox Valley, NAMI Fox Valley.
  • Education Advocate: $38,070 (Year 3 of 3, $168,403 total): Double the capacity of the successful Education Advocate program, which removes barriers and helps people enroll in GED, English Language Learning and/or Fox Valley Technical College programs, with a long-range goal of improving their economic stability. Expanding the program will allow it to serve the communities of Chilton, Hortonville, Seymour and New London. Collaborators: Fox Valley Technical College, LEAVEN.
  • Enhancing educational programming for 3-5-year-olds: A Mindfulness-Based Kindness Project: $48,000 (Year 3 of 3, $296,450 total): To reduce poverty-based achievement gaps by implementing and testing a mindfulness-based curriculum with preschoolers. Collaborators: Community Early Learning Center of the Fox Valley, Lawrence University, UW-Fox Valley, UW-Madison Healthy Minds Innovation Team.
  • Pillars Day Resource Center: $76,000 (Year 3 of 3, $266,000): To create a day resource center where people who are experiencing homelessness and not connected to services can access service and provide a hub of homelessness services. Collaborators: Pillars, Inc., St. Matthew Lutheran Church.
  • STAR Program: $100,000 (Year 3 of 3, $300,000 total): Improve academic achievement levels, graduation rates and post-secondary participation rates of African-American and Black youth through creation of the STAR program. Collaborators: Boys & Girls Clubs of the Fox Valley, African Heritage Inc., Menasha Joint School District, Appleton Area School District, Fox Valley Technical College, Lawrence University.
  • Community Resource Center: $79,516 (Year 2 of 3, $248,608 total): Ensure effectiveness for the new multiagency LEAVEN Community Resource Center by adding needed staff and data management tools. Collaborators: LEAVEN, FISC, St. Vincent de Paul, Fox Valley Technical College, Energy Services, Inc.
  • Eliminating barriers to long-term employability: $90,860 (Year 2 of 3): To provide supported employment services to Riverview Gardens clients who face significant barriers to long-term employment. Collaborators: Riverview Gardens, Valley Packaging Industries.
  • Individual Placement Support Services Program: $57,426 (Year 2 of 3, $212,343 total): To implement a new evidence-based Individual Placement and Support Services program that helps those with severe and persistent mental health illness find, keep and thrive in jobs. Collaborators: Valley Packaging Industries, Aspire Vocational Services, Outagamie County Mental Health, Wisconsin Department of Health Services, NAMI Fox Valley-Iris Place.
  • Shawano Area Early Childhood Partnership: $59,265 (Year 2 of 3, $178,523 total): Develop an early childhood coalition that will, among other things, work with vulnerable parents within their natural home environment using the Parents as Teachers model. Collaborators: Family Services of Northeast Wisconsin, ThedaCare, Family and Childcare Resources of Northeast Wisconsin, Shawano County Department of Human Services.
  • Single-room occupancy program: $50,000 (Year 2 of 3, $150,000 total): Create a single room occupancy program for individuals living in shelter who can pay rent but have barriers that keep them from renting in the housing marketplace. Recipient: Pillars, Inc.
  • Spanish resource advocate: $39,000 (Year 2 of 3, $118,995 total): Hire a Spanish resource advocate who will build trust between basic needs agencies and the Hispanic community, educate service providers about best practices and provide culturally responsive services that increase access and lead to greater self-sufficiency. Collaborators: St. Vincent de Paul, LEAVEN, Partnership Community Health Center.
  • Traumatic Brain Injury Support Program: $134,204 (Year 2 of 3, $295,491): To develop and implement a Traumatic Brain Injury Support Program including services to survivors, whether or not they are living in homeless shelters, and educational programming. Collaborators: SOAR Fox Cities, Pillars, Inc., Harbor House Domestic Abuse Programs, Apricity, Neuroscience Group, Christine Ann Domestic Abuse Services.
  • Wisconsin Veterans Village Navigator: $67,140 (Year 2 of 3, $201,420 total): To staff the emerging Wisconsin Veterans Village with a “navigator” who will help connect Veterans to internal and external services appropriate to their needs. Collaborators: Wisconsin Veterans Village Association, Goodwill Industries, ThedaCare, Outagamie County Housing Authority, Fox Valley Technical College.


New grants

  • Spanish Health Navigator: $15,000: Pilot a Spanish Health Care Navigator program to help Hispanic patients navigate the clinical care, community health and health insurance systems to improve access and health outcomes. While the range of services vary, personalized assistance with complicated issues will help remove logistical barriers and provide informed guidance, connecting Hispanic community members to the care and services they need. Collaborators: Casa ALBA Melanie, Hispanic Community Resource Center, Aging & Disability Resource Center; Northeast Wisconsin Technical College.
  • Certified Peer Specialist and Housing Continuum: $15,000: Pilot a program connecting Options’ Certified Peer Specialists to people with mental health and substance use issues in NEWCAP’s Permanent Supportive Housing Program to determine the effectiveness of this approach and the resources needed to expand this service to other people who are housing insecure or experiencing homelessness. This person-centered model could yield results that can be replicated across the housing continuum of care and within the community. Collaborators: Options for Independent Living, NEWCAP.
  • Hungry to Learn: $13,755: Aligning systems to address the growing number of students who can’t afford basic necessities, like food, which can derail the education required for a career that offers a family-sustaining wage. To develop a plan for reducing food insecurities among NWTC’s neediest students and increase the number of clients from Paul’s Pantry coming to the college through improved collaboration and targeted strategies. Collaborators: Northeast Wisconsin Technical College Educational Foundation, Paul’s Pantry.
  • Business Enterprise Center: $15,000: With a goal of developing a Business Enterprise Center for students with disabilities and their typically developing peers, the school district will partner with the ADRC and Options on their unique collaboration around durable medical equipment. The business model could prepare students for future careers and provide durable medical equipment to individuals who cannot otherwise afford it. Collaborators: Green Bay Area Public Schools, Aging & Disability Resource Center, Options for Independent Living.
  • Racism and its Impacts on Health: A Collaborative Community Study: $14,000: To explore racism’s impact on health and well-being in our community. Community members will participate in focus group sessions to look at perceptions, attitudes and beliefs related to racism and well-being. The project will be included in Brown County’s Community Health Assessment and will inform the Community Health Improvement Plan. Collaborators: YWCA of Greater Green Bay, Brown County Health & Human Services.
  • Resident services program: $15,000: People who find a home through NeighborWorks Green Bay have often struggled with some of life’s toughest challenges, from job loss and illness to substance abuse, trauma and isolation — barriers facing residents as they work to create a stable life. Creating a resident services program using affordable housing to connect families and individuals to services that increase their housing stability and provide opportunities for asset building can lead to greater self-sufficiency and break the cycle of poverty. Collaborators: NeighborWorks, NEWCAP.
  • Accessible mental wellness initiative: Resident therapist for long-term care of clients in need: 3 year total, $201,210 total: To shift from inviting therapists into homeless shelters and other social service organizations to inviting the clients of those homeless shelters to receive a full array of long-term mental health, addiction therapy and psycho-education at the main clinic. Hire a resident therapist who is dedicated to address these unique well-being challenges. Additional capacity means more ability to help more people address mental illness and addiction, get out of homelessness and stay stable. Collaborators: Foundations Health & Wholeness, Freedom House, House of Hope, Micah Center, N.E.W. Community Clinic, New Community Shelter.
  • Turbo Go Centers: 3 years, $299,691 total: Create a space for academic, college and career planning in an age- and culturally appropriate manner at targeted Green Bay middle schools with the highest concentration of free and reduced-price lunch. Turbo Go Centers would be established in three middle schools to provide integrated career and academic planning to students, engage parents and serve as a designated area for community programming focused on helping underrepresented and marginalized students succeed academically and plan for their future. Collaborators: Green Bay Area Public Schools, UW-Green Bay; Boys & Girls Club of Greater Green Bay; Northeast Wisconsin Technical College.
  • House of Hope Youth Shelter: 3 years, $300,000 total: House of Hope would open a licensed facility in Brown County to provide shelter and supportive services for pregnant and parenting youth, including minors and their children. These services would be provided on a voluntary basis and would fill the gap for youth not receiving services from the foster care or the juvenile justice systems. These youth are faced with nearly insurmountable barriers, including limited education, lack of access to prenatal care and safe, stable shelter and significant experience with abuse and neglect. House of Hope would provide safe, stable shelter and access to necessary services to help youth and their children establish self-sufficiency and allow young families to remain intact. Collaborators: House of Hope Green Bay, Foundations Health & Wholeness, N.E.W. Community Clinic, Family Services of Northeast Wisconsin.
  • Offender education and workforce training program: 3 years, $245,000 total: Build on workforce development programming within the Oconto County Law Enforcement Center by supporting the whole person and addressing psychological barriers as well as educational challenges. It will provide inmates with education, soft-skill training, cognitive intervention, budgeting skills and connections to county resources and establish relationships that will continue post-release. Collaborators: New Beginnings, Oconto County Department of Health & Human Services, Sheriff’s Department, Law Enforcement Center and Department of Child Protection.
  • The Farmory: 3 years, $150,000 total: To strengthen and expand the programs of the aquaponics farm and fish hatchery that build the economic self-sufficiency of residents. Provide the capacity to reach traditionally underserved groups in the low-income neighborhood where the facility is located where residents seek jobs with livable wages that increase their financial self-sufficiency. The volunteer and service-learning opportunities will provide individuals with defined work experiences in the farm and state-of-the-art yellow perch fish hatchery. The education partnership program will bridge the school-to-career pipeline from K-12 to post-secondary institutions with real-world applications in the agriculture technology sector. Partnerships provide students with field trips, job shadows, externships and internships, and use The Farmory as a living classroom. Collaborators: Urban Partnership Community Development Corporation (The Farmory), UW-Green Bay; NeighborWorks; NWTC Sustainable Agriculture; Green Bay Area Public Schools; West De Pere High School; E-Hub Urban Hope.
  • Blacktivity: Engaging Black Youth in Health and Wellness: 3 years, $300,000 total: We All Rise: African American Resource Center works to establish safe and unapologetic spaces where Black youth and families can learn their history, increase their self-advocacy and become more positive participants in healthy relationships. Blacktivity will build on current programming and take the youth from the classroom to the community. The center established equity in its classroom work, and with the knowledge and skills that youth have gained, they have identified the next step in addressing social determinants of health — strategically engaging with community partners to increase youth activism. Blacktivity is getting youth engaged in community art shows, farmers markets, swimming lessons, yoga classes, and ensuring that they have been paired with a mentor to support/monitor their progression. Collaborators: We All Rise: African American Resource Center, YWCA Greater Green Bay.

Multiyear grants

  • Resiliency-Based Program for Youth (Algoma Wolf Den): $76,000 (Year 3 of 3, $273,000 total): A year-round resiliency program for at-risk youth in the Algoma community involves youth as leaders and targeted group activities focused on social and emotional learning. A lack of formal services necessitates an increase in early intervention, and low-intensity services are geared toward improving social and emotional skills in youth. These programs are designed to develop those skills, which in turn foster emotional well-being overall. Collaborators: School District of Algoma, UW-Green Bay Social Work Program, St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran School, St. Mary’s Catholic School.
  • Safe to Study-Homeless Student Housing Partnership: $100,000 (Year 2 of 3, $300,000 total): The project is an effort to help students at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College who are financially struggling to secure housing that allows them to live independently and work towards their post-secondary education. The goal is: 1) find and assess students who are homeless or have unstable housing; 2) assist students in gaining access to the Brown County Coordinated Entry System for the Homeless; and 3) help students secure safe and stable housing, including financial assistance when needed. Collaborators: NWTC, Family Services of Northeast Wisconsin.
  • Be Great: Graduate school-based expansion: $100,000 (Year 2 of 3, $300,000 total): Connect a minimum of 105 students at risk of dropping out of school with the Boys & Girls Club’s academic mentoring program. The project is developed in response to Achieve Brown County’s recommendation to offer Be Great: Graduate as a proven mentoring intervention to support the highest-need students in Brown County middle and high schools. Add dedicated Graduation Specialists at seven schools across Brown County. Collaborators: Boys & Girls Club of Greater Green Bay, Howard-Suamico, Denmark & Green Bay Area Public School Districts.
  • Navigating Our Wealth: $100,000 (Year 2 of 3, $300,000 total): To improve Circles Green Bay’s capacity and effectiveness through a shared staffing model with The Salvation Army. Development of a Cliff Effect Calculator will use household data to predict financial pitfalls and help offset the financial crisis of the household as they move away from benefit dependency. The project will also gather, educate and rally the community to focus on developing a model that is inclusive of all groups serving households in poverty. Collaborators: Circles Green Bay, The Salvation Army of Greater Green Bay.
  • Dynamic Measurement & Community Engagement to actively improve health equity in Brown County: $105,750 (Year 2 of 3, $280,000 total): Combines data, technology and engagement to reduce health inequities in Brown County. Collaborators will implement an adapted version of the World Health Organization survey, successfully piloted in 2018, to gather information on the well-being of residents in Brown County. Funding will support the countywide implementation and analysis for data-driven interventions to improve health and reduce inequities. Collaborators: Wello, St. Norbert College, UW-Green Bay, healthTIDE/Wisconsin.


New grants

  • Teens 2 Work: $80,025 (Year 1 of 3, $237,073): Expand Teens 2 Work into a year-round program that will provide teens with safe, supportive work experiences at partnering employers. Employment barriers, like transportation, that teens might normally face in a rural community will be addressed and eliminated through this program. Collaborators: Boys & Girls Club of the Tri-County Area, Green Lake Conference Center, Drexel Building Supply Center, and Crossroads Market.
  • Early childhood developmental screening expansion: $89,900 (Year 1 of 3, $256,200): Improve outcomes for young children living in Winnebago County by increasing the number of children that receive developmental screenings and increasing the number of families that are connected to resources and care through a centralized access point. Collaborators: First Five Fox Valley, Child Care Resource & Referral, Early Intervention Program, Winnebago County Health Department, Oshkosh Area School District, ThedaCare, Davis Child Care Center, Family Services of Northeast Wisconsin, and UW-Oshkosh Head Start.
  • Transition to success for ex-offenders: $51,009 (Year 1 of 3, $158,130): Link ex-offenders with a case manager to help them successfully move from a correctional facility back into the community and navigate their career and educational journeys to sustainable wage jobs. Collaborators: Forward Service Corporation and Wisconsin Department of Corrections Probation and Parole.
  • School District of Omro’s Mental Wellness Program: $90,517 (Year 1 of 3, $247,307): Launch Omro NOW (Nurturing Omro’s Wellness), a system that provides screening, education and the necessary tools to help all students and staff feel mentally, emotionally and socially prepared for life’s ups and downs. This multipronged approach will increase mental health programming and access to services and create a culture of mental health awareness while reducing stigma. Collaborators: School District of Omro, Samaritan Counseling, N.E.W. Mental Health Connection, NAMI Oshkosh, and Collaborative Wellness.
  • Head Start Early Childhood Mental Health: $67,078 (Year 1 of 3, $301,000): Improve Head Start students’ social-emotional and self-regulation skills by deepening teachers’ use of Conscious Discipline techniques and embedding coaching and mental health supports in the classroom and via home visits with families. Conscious Discipline is a research-based classroom management system that addresses teachers’ social-emotional skill sets and internal states first and then empowers them to teach and model these skills with students. Collaborators: UW-Oshkosh Head Start and Catalpa Health.
  • Eviction Prevention Planning Project: $25,000: To explore options and opportunities to develop and sustain a program of education and services to reduce evictions in Winnebago County. This collaboration may include direct intervention through pre-eviction mediation services, education for landlords and tenants, and/or other services recognized through the planning grant process. Collaborators: Winnebago Conflict Resolution Center, Inc., Oshkosh Landlords Association, City of Oshkosh, Rent Smart.

Multiyear grants

  • Rock the Block Oshkosh: $100,000 (Year 3 of 3, $300,000 total): Empower residents to revive their low-income neighborhoods and enhance their quality of life by working together on home repair, preservation and beautification projects. Collaborators: Habitat for Humanity of Oshkosh, Greater Oshkosh Healthy Neighborhoods, and City of Oshkosh.
  • Mentor 2.0: $105,000 (Year 2 of 3, $300,000 total): Implement a nationally successful, technology-enhanced, vocational mentoring program within Oshkosh North High School that provides individualized support and guidance to empower students to succeed in and after high school. Collaborators: Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Fox Valley Region and Oshkosh Area School District.
  • Mentoring program expansion: $115,700 (Year 2 of 3, $286,500 total): Grow the mentoring program that was piloted in the Berlin Area School District in 2018-19 for youth ages 9-17 and launch a similar program partnership with the Green Lake Area School District. Collaborators: Boys & Girls Club of the Tri-County Area, Berlin Area School District and Green Lake Area School District.
  • Healthy Families Waushara County: $30,944 (Year 2 of 3, $94,938 total): Offer voluntary nurse home visiting services to parents facing challenges such as single parenthood, low income, and current or previous issues related to substance abuse, mental health issues, and/or domestic violence. Collaborators: Waushara County Health and Human Services Departments, CAP Services, Aurora Health Care, ThedaCare.


  • Community Suicide Prevention Coordinator: $71,500 (Year 2 of 3, $226,000 total): To hire a staff member who will work on a three-year work plan to build infrastructure enabling our community to respond uniformly and effectively to suicide attempts and completions. Included will be work to implement the Zero Suicide Framework in health care, align systems for prevention and suicide care and assist with the creation of a Tri-County Adult Suicide Death Review. Collaborators: Samaritan Counseling Center of the Fox Valley, NEW Mental Health Connection members.

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