Community Foundation awards new Bright Idea Fund grants to meet changing needs in the Fox Valley

APPLETON, Wis. – As its 2020 fiscal year came to a close on June 30, the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region announced that 44 local arts and culture, environment, and racial and ethnic support organizations received grants totaling $114,000 from its Bright Idea Fund.
This permanent charitable fund combines dollars from generous people who want to give back to the Fox Valley region, together, in ways that address ever-changing needs in Calumet, Outagamie, Shawano, Waupaca and the Neenah-Menasha area of Winnebago counties.

"As the impact of the COVID-19 crisis continues, the Community Foundation’s board of directors, guided by staff input, proactively awarded Bright Idea Fund grants that could help multiple organizations that have had fewer opportunities for funding or have been overlooked,” said Curt
Detjen, President and CEO, Community Foundation. “They all play an important role in our region’s quality of life.”

For local nonprofit organizations, the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic are widespread and long-term, including operational interruption, earned revenue and fundraising event losses, reduced volunteer participation due to safety concerns, and added costs such as
personal protective equipment.

Our community has given very generously to the COVID-19 Community Response Fund, which since March, has provided 87 grants totaling $916,400 primarily to nonprofit organizations providing urgent basic needs support. “This funding has been crucial to maintaining the region’s social safety net. Yet, we know things like listening to virtual concerts or taking a walk in the woods feed our soul and give us hope, which are also crucial. Our nation also faces urgent issues of equity and racial justice. Now is the
time to do our part and get engaged,” said Carolyn Desrosiers, community engagement manager, Community Foundation.

In addition to gathering feedback directly from Fox Valley nonprofits, the Community Foundation was also informed by a recent study on the impact of Covid-19 on the nonprofit sector conducted by the Helen Bader Institute for Nonprofit Management at the University of Milwaukee, in partnership with the Institute for Nonprofit Management Studies at the University of Wisconsin- Whitewater and affiliate faculty throughout the UW-System.

Bright Idea Fund Grant Recipients June 2020

Arts, Culture & Environment

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, many local arts, culture and environmental organizations are facing significant financial losses due to cancelled events, field trips, reduced ticket/entry fee revenue, and reduced philanthropic support. To demonstrate our commitment to these organizations, the Community Foundation proactively awarded small-medium sized unrestricted relief grants to select organizations based on their size, impact, relevance and whether they receive significant governmental support.

Appleton Boychoir
Attic Chamber Theatre
Bergstrom-Mahler Museum of Glass
Brillion Nature Study Center Association
Community Music & Arts Collaborative
Fallen Timbers (CESA Foundation, Inc.)
FC Environmental Learning Campus/Bubolz Nature Preserve
Fox Cities Performing Arts Center
Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra Association
Friends of Grignon Mansion
Friends of Hearthstone
Friends of Mosquito Hill
Friends of the 1,000 Island Nature Center
Friends of the Chilton Area Performing Arts
Heckrodt Wetland Reserve
Lawrence Academy of Music
Ledgeview Nature Center
Makaroff Youth Ballet
Navarino Nature Center
Neenah Historical Society
Outagamie County Historical Society
Paper Discovery Center
Shawano County Arts Council
The Building for Kids
The Trout Museum of Art
Waupaca Community Arts Board
Weyauwega Arts Organization

Racial and Ethnic Support

The Covid-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected racial and ethnic minorities. At the same time, our nation is facing urgent issues of equity and racial justice. Small proactive grants were awarded to organizations engaged in racial and ethnic support, advocacy and leadership work in
the Fox Valley region. Grants address needs related to Covid-19 and/or advancing equity locally.

African Heritage
Casa Hispana
Celebrate Diversity Fox Cities
Diverse & Resilient
Fox Valley Literacy
Hmong American Partnership
IndUS of Fox Valley
Umoja,Inc., a Black Heritage Experience
United Hmong American Association
World Relief Fox Valley