$1.2 million in grants to help fight poverty

Grants totaling more than $1.2 million — stemming from the annual U.S. Venture Open fundraiser — will go to 70 nonprofits in the Appleton, Green Bay and Oshkosh regions to fight poverty.

The Basic Needs Giving Partnership, a collaboration between several of the region’s largest charitable giving organizations, including the Greater Green Bay Community Foundation, recently approved $1,241,720 in new grants to battle poverty in northeast Wisconsin.

Seventy organizations will receive 37 new and multi-year grants, with a focus this year on the Poverty Outcomes Improvement Network Team project.

POINT is an 18-month initiative focusing on improving efforts to serve families in need and coordinating services around people at risk or in poverty. More than 100 nonprofits throughout northeast Wisconsin have joined in 84 improvement teams to learn and apply new tools and methodologies to address issues surrounding poverty.

The Basic Needs Giving Partnership is made up of the U.S. Venture Fund for Basic Needs, the J. J. Keller Foundation, the Greater Green Bay Community Foundation, the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region and the Oshkosh Area Community Foundation. Funds generated through donations to the annual U.S. Venture Open are established at each Community Foundation.

In 31 years, the partnership has given $18.3 million in grants to regional organizations.

“Our joint efforts have made a tremendous difference in our communities and encouraged nonprofit organizations to think more strategically and develop long-term solutions to benefit the people throughout northeast Wisconsin,” said Mary Harp Jirschele, J. J. Keller Foundation executive director.

Following are the grants made through the Greater Green Bay Community Foundation.

New grants:

Community Resource Empowerment Center: $25,000. To expand work and training program for Oconto County by becoming a community resource center focused on empowerment programs that will lead to gainful employment and improve quality of life. Assisting those who are disconnected from the workforce and are deficient in basic skills in obtaining health insurance coverage and post-secondary education enrollment. Collaborators: New Beginnings, Oconto County Child Support Agency, Family Services, Community Services Division/Department of Health & Human Services

Ecumenical Community Coordination Initiative: $30,000. Bring local churches into a continuum of care for those in need by aligning and tracking resource allocation. Strengthen the relationship between churches and providers of care through the utilization of a database. Collaborators: Ecumenical Partnership for Housing, St. Vincent de Paul, The Salvation Army, Trinity Lutheran

Latino Family Literacy Program: $8,000. To provide family literacy for Latino families to address both parents’ and children’s literacy and language needs, while also engaging parents in their child’s education and building a stronger school community. Collaborators: Literacy Green Bay, Inc., Green Bay Area Public Schools

Multi-year grants:

At-Risk Youth Employment & Training in Oconto County: $51,540 (Year 3 of 3, $156,545 total). Work and training program for Oconto County youth, ages 16-21 in the foster care and juvenile justice system. Work experience placements, along with educational courses are offered, as well as assessments of need and pairing with services of the collaborative partners. Collaborators: New Beginnings/Oconto County Partnership, UW-Extension Oconto County, Bay Area Workforce Development Board, Family Services of Northeast Wisconsin

Expanding Farmers Market SNAP and WIC Programs: $20,985 (Year 2 of 3, $64,994 total). To expand the original Basic Needs Giving Partnership planning grant and create sustainability, making healthy foods more accessible and affordable for low-income residents in Brown County. FoodShare and WIC participants will be able to use benefits at five farmer’s markets. Collaborators: LIVE54218, OnBroadway, Downtown Green Bay Inc., UW-Extension, Oneida Nations Farmers Market, Main St. Farmer’s Market, Brown County WIC Program

Fostering Youth Independence & Self Sufficiency: $99,820 (Year 2 of 3, $299,640 total). To address the gap in community resources and services dedicated to youth aging out of foster care and other at-risk youth groups sharing similar barriers to education and employment. Collaborators: Bay Area Workforce Development Board, American Foundation of Counseling Services, Brown County Human Services, CASA of Brown County, Advocates for Healthy Transitional Living

Greater Green Bay Mental Health Connection: $97,949 (Year 2 of 3, $290,001 total). Establish the Greater Green Bay Mental Health Connection to create better access for children, adults, and families; develop an improved system of mental health care grounded in collaboration and coordination; decrease stigma of mental illness; create a healthier community; and increase funding for community mental health services. Collaborators: American Foundation for Counseling Services, Bellin Health, Catholic Charities, Family Services, Hospital Sisters Health System

Long-term Supportive Transitional Housing Support: $50,400 (Year 3 of 3, $125,000 total). To address the increasing need for supporting transitional housing by providing resources to meet the needs of qualified families on the waiting list and families in the current program who are still experiencing barriers. Collaborators: Ecumenical Partnership for Housing, The Salvation Army

Summer Learning Initiative: $100,000 (Year 3 of 3, $259,350 total). To provide about 900 youth with year-round access to out-of-school learning opportunities through an expansion of the summer wrap-around programs at high-need elementary schools in Green Bay. To prevent summer learning loss in reading and math and prepare rising middle school students for a successful transition to secondary school. Collaborators: Boys & Girls Club of Green Bay, Green Bay Area Public School District

Regional grants:

NeighborCARE: $50,000 (Year 3 of 3, $300,000 total). To use the principals of “asset based community development” to mobilize community volunteers and match them to the needs of aging adults facing limitations and isolation. Collaborators: Goodwill Industries of North Central Wisconsin, Aging & Disability Resource Centers of Brown, Outagamie and Winnebago counties