The Community Foundation says the unrestricted fund is improving quality of life in five strategic focus areas:
- Arts and culture
- Basic needs and self-sufficiency
- Community development
- Environmental sustainability
- Nonprofit effectiveness.
Within these five categories, proposals for grants are evaluated by a group of community volunteers, and through the Foundation’s unique Bright Idea Forum, an interactive pitch session.
The Bright Idea Fund combines dollars from endowments established by generous donors to address ever-changing community needs in Outagamie, Calumet, Waupaca and Shawano counties and the Neenah-Menasha area of Winnebago County.
Interested applicants can find details at www.cffoxvalley.org/brightidea.
The Foundation has awarded Bright Idea Fund grants totaling $348,641 since July 1, 2018.
Bright Idea grants awarded to nonprofits in winter 2019 include:
Transferable Skills Training for Fox Cities Community Employment $54,730 to Valley Packaging Industries to increase clients served, client skills developed, and clients placed in competitive, community-based jobs by incorporating overall wellness, technology skills, and service-oriented transferable skills training for people with disabilities.
Child Advocacy Center – Promoting Healing for Child Victims $30,000 to increase capacity by 1.5 FTE medical staff to accommodate for a recent upsurge in child abuse referrals and mitigate the risks of secondary traumatic stress (STS) on providers. This project was also supported by a $20,000 grant from the Robert Dohr and Lilas Dohr Current Community Needs Fund within the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region.
Calumet County Mural Initiative $29,950 to Calumet County Historical Society to create a series of culturally rich, historically informed public murals in Chilton and Stockbridge that celebrate these communities’ diverse histories and interconnected narratives, while crafting related curriculum and visual arts opportunities for local youth. Collaborators include ART Attack! and the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design.
Province Terrace Trail Extension $9,949 to the City of Menasha Park & Recreation to extend the Paper Trail starting at the corner of State highways 10 and 114 in Menasha up to Nature’s Way, closing an unsafe gap in the trail and bringing two sides of the community together while encouraging outdoor recreation.
Cycling Without Age & Making the Ride Happen $6,240 over three years to Fox Cities Greenways, Inc. to enhance the Making the Ride Happen program, which currently coordinates vehicle transportation options for non-driving seniors, to add a network of trained volunteers who can provide trishaw bicycle rides, allowing seniors to spend time outdoors interacting with their community. A partnership of Fox Cities Greenways, Lutheran Social Services, Volunteer Fox Cities, and the Wisconsin Bike Federation.
Young Women’s Initiative Mental Health Services $5,625 to Women’s Fund for the Fox Valley Region, Inc. to pilot the addition of mental health services for participants and graduates of the Starting Point 2.0 and EmpowHer programs, which are designed to improve the long-term economic security of young women ages 18- 29. Collaborators include B.A.B.E.S. Inc., Fox Valley Technical College, and Samaritan Counseling.