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Basic Needs Giving Partnership awards new grants of nearly $1.6 million to end poverty


Basic Needs Giving Partnership awards new grants of nearly $1.6 million to end poverty

(APPLETON, WI) — December 19, 2018 — Nearly $1.6 million has been awarded to 135 nonprofit organizations supporting innovative programs helping those in need throughout Northeast Wisconsin. Collaborating nonprofits/organizations were granted funds for programs addressing the root causes of poverty through the community foundations in Green Bay, Fox Valley and Oshkosh.

Funding breakdowns are:

  • Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region awarded new grants of $557,018 million and distributed more than $1.1 million to multiple year grants;
  • Greater Green Bay Community Foundation awarded new grants of $549,415 and distributed $533,554 to multiple year grants;
  • Oshkosh Area Community Foundation awarded new grants of $488,302 and distributed $460,802 to multiple year grants.


Grants are focused on programs that reduce poverty by creating economic stability, increasing access to education, building family support and social connection, and improving health and wellness. Funding for the grants is generated by the annual U.S. Venture Open, the nation’s single largest one-day charitable event dedicated to ending poverty. In 2018, the event raised $4.13 million for the Basic Needs Giving Partnership and 100% of every dollar donated is invested in the fund. In the 33-year history of the U.S. Venture Open, $26 million has been granted to regional nonprofits.


“All of the organizations receiving grants have created collaborative and innovative programs that are uniquely addressing the issues surrounding poverty,” said Greg Vandenberg, director of giving and community engagement for U.S. Venture. “Poverty is complex and requires multiple approaches to meet the needs of individuals and families. The programs funded represent solutions that can scale and grow over time.”

A grantmaking match of $800,000 from the J. J. Keller Foundation and a $200,000 commitment from Oshkosh Corporation, ThedaCare, and the Thrivent Foundation lead this effort. Three community foundations review and award grants to regional nonprofits that address poverty.


“We are indebted to our partners who have made significant investments into our annual event,” Vandenberg said. “They are dedicated to supporting and transforming this regional initiative to addresses poverty in an innovative manner.”


Recipients of the Basic Needs Giving Partnership Grants for 2018 are:

2018 Basic Needs Giving Partnership Grants

$1,594,735 in new grant commitments

$2,153,108 in total grants distributed


Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region

$557,018 in new grant commitments 

$1,158,752 in grants distributed



Youth Housing: $12,000 (Year 1 of 3, $300,000 total)

To give young adults who have mental illness stable housing and customized, broad-based supportive services designed to build independence and healthy living skills.

Collaborators: Housing Partnership of the Fox Cities, NAMI Fox Valley


Spanish Resource Advocate: $46,995 (Year 1 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

First Time Parent Support Initiative: $9,500
Planning grant to develop and pilot an initiative ensuring a healthy start for children born in our community.

Collaborators: Building for Kids Children’s Museum, Family Services, Early Intervention of Winnebago & Outagamie Counties, Lawrence University


Shawano Area Early Childhood Partnership: $63,218 (Year 1 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: $60,000 (Year 1 of 3, $150,000 total)

Create a single room occupancy program for individuals currently living in shelter, who can pay rent but have barriers that keep them from renting in the housing marketplace.
Collaborators: Pillars, Inc. (formerly Housing Partnership of the Fox Cities, Fox Valley Warming Shelter, Homeless Connections)



Neighborhood Revitalization: $96,100 (Year 3 of 3, $300,000 total)
Develop a new neighborhood revitalization program with “Rock the Block” events. Home repairs, preservation projects, improved relationships between neighbors and increased neighborhood pride will result in a significant shift from a culture of poverty.

Collaborators: Greater Fox Cities Area Habitat for Humanity, Rebuilding Together – Fox Valley, Neighborhood Partners, City of Appleton

Pay It Forward: $47,036 (Year 3 of 3, $174,726 total)
Use outcomes of a Basic Needs Giving Partnership planning grant to implement a new no-fee loan program with a financial counseling requirement.

Collaborators: LEAVEN, FISC,

Coming Home to Healthcare: $81,615 (Year 2 of 3, $295,000 total)
Expand the scope and reach of the Partnership Community Health Center’s clinic at COTS, serving new vulnerable patients living at or below the poverty level, reducing barriers to healthcare and introducing health literacy.

Collaborators: Partnership Community Health Center, COTS

Youth Housing:
$90,000 (Year 2 of 3, $300,000 total)
Give young adults who have mental illness stable housing and customized, broad-based supportive services designed to build independence and healthy living skills.
Collaborators: Pillars (formerly Housing Partnership of the Fox Cities), NAMI Fox Valley


Counseling for Low Income Spanish Speakers: $83,274 (Year 2 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


Triumph: $110,320 (Year 2 of 3, $300,000 total)
Integrate wraparound mental health care and educational services, helping high school students successfully transition back to their home school after intensive mental health services.
Collaborators: Family Services of Northeast Wisconsin, Kimberly, Kaukauna and Little Chute School Area School Districts


F.R.E.S.H. Project: $65,804 (Year 2 of 3, $263,283 total)

Create a food system that gives low-income families the tools they need to secure healthy foods, improve their health and stretch their food dollars, which will help them move out of poverty.

Collaborators: Shawano United Methodist Church, Shawano County, UW-Extension, Stockbridge-Munsee Community, Menominee Nation, Shawano/Menominee County Health Departments


ServiceWorks for At-Risk Youth: $95,420 (Year 2 of 3, $294,036 total)
Address unemployment and underemployment as a root cause of homelessness and poverty in high school youth through the ServiceWorks program.

Collaborators: Riverview Gardens, Appleton Area School District, Boys & Girls Clubs of the Fox Valley


Downtown Appleton CARE Team: $60,970 (Year 3 of 3, $272,142 total)
Expand ServiceWorks and reach out to individuals in crisis through a new job training program that will take place in downtown Appleton.

Collaborators: Riverview Gardens, Appleton Downtown, Inc., City of Appleton


Neenah School-Based Mental Health: $101,000 (Year 2 of 3, $300,000 total)

Develop and implement a comprehensive school-based mental health program for students in grades K-5.

Collaborators: Catalpa Health, Neenah Joint School District, NAMI Fox Valley, Samaritan Counseling Center of the Fox Valley


Project RUSH Manager: $70,000 (Year 3 of 4, $211,000 total)
Ensure broad-scale action and community impact from Project RUSH (Research to Understand and Solve Homelessness) by hiring a project manager who will implement and oversee the work in eight strategic areas of focus. Grant extended to four years.

Collaborators: Pillars, other members of the Housing Coalition


Expanding a Recovery Community: $15,000 (Year 2 of 3, $115,000 total)

Open a third sober living house that supports long-term addiction recovery.

Collaborators: Apricity (formerly STEP Industries & The Mooring Programs) and Nova Counseling Services



STAR Program (formerly Scholars of Excellence): ($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 (FVTC), Lawrence



Education Advocate: ($168,403 total)

Double the capacity of the successful Education Advocate program which removes barriers and helps people enroll in GED, English Language Learning (ELL), and/or FVTC 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 Foundation, LEAVEN, FVTC


Community Resource Center: ($218,608 total)

Ensure effectiveness for the newly created multi-agency LEAVEN Community Resource Center by adding needed staff and data management tools.

Collaborators: LEAVEN, FISC, St. Vincent de Paul, FVTC, Energy Services, Inc.


Almost Home Expansion: ($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

*Payments made outside of 2018


Greater Green Bay Community Foundation

$549,415 in new grant commitments 

$533,554 in grants distributed



Responding Together to Homelessness in Brown County: $55,000 (Year 1 of 3, $125,000 total) A dedicated system navigator and leader will focus on the housing coalition’s mission and strategic objectives: address an inadequate supply of emergency and supportive housing options, provide a common voice in teaching and advocacy and build on providing strong leadership to align committees, resources and communications.

Collaborators: Brown County Homeless & Housing Coalition, Golden House, Ecumenical

Partnership for Housing


Improving Mental Health for Low-Income Older Adults & Adults with Disabilities: $54,789 (Year 1 of 3, $151,415 total)

This project represents a coordinated response to unmet mental health needs for low-income older adults and adults with disabilities in Brown County. Foundations will embed a resident clinician at the ADRC location 20-28 hours/week to provide outreach/casual support to build rapport and screen for mental health concerns; individual and group mental health counseling; community educational services; and intensive clinical supervision and training.

Collaborators: Foundations Health & Wholeness, Aging & Disability Resource Center


Resiliency-Based Program for Youth (Algoma Wolf Den): $91,000 (Year 1 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. Lack of formal services necessitates an increase in early intervention and low-intensity services geared toward improving social and emotional skills in youth. These programs are designed to develop those skills, which in turn foster emotional wellbeing overall.

Collaborators: School District of Algoma, UW-Green Bay Social Work Program, St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran School, St. Mary’s Catholic School



Community Resource Empowerment Program: $78,250 (Year 2 of 3, $236,500 total) Coordinated approach to assist those disconnected from the workforce, deficient in basic skills, underemployed and in need of assistance in attaining post-secondary education, specifically the incarcerated, noncustodial unemployed parents, alcohol and other drug abuse or mental health patients and victims of domestic or sexual abuse in rural Oconto County.

Collaborators: New Beginnings Work & Training Center, Oconto County Sheriff’s Department, Bay Area Workforce Development, FALS-Oconto Falls Alternative School


Pathway to Self-Sufficiency: $100,000 (Year 2 of 3, $300,000 total)

An increased capacity to assist families in need of long-term supportive housing, including guidance to self-sufficiency, involves acquiring three duplexes and four single-family homes. Collaborations with partner organizations allow for a continuum of care for families ready to leave shelter or transitional housing but unable to find safe and affordable housing.

Collaborators: Ecumenical Partnership for Housing, The Salvation Army, Golden House,

Freedom House


ELEvate (Education.Literacy.Engagement) Our ELL Families: $54,515
(Year 2 of 3, $147,945 total)

Expanded pilot program for Latino families to incorporate additional family literacy sites to address both the parents’ and their children’s language needs while engaging parents in their child’s education and in parent/child interaction, building stronger school connections, and assisting parents in acquiring skills to be self-sufficient.

Collaborators: Literacy Green Bay, Green Bay Area Public Schools, Northeast Wisconsin Technical College


Youth Mental Health Matters: $100,000 (Year 2 of 3, $300,000 total)

A multi-faceted effort to address the unmet mental health needs of a segment of the community’s most vulnerable youth brings counseling professionals and students in training into the Boys & Girls Club to connect with high-need populations in a trusted, accessible setting.

Collaborators: Boys & Girls Club of Greater Green Bay, Foundations, UW-Green Bay Social

Field Placement Program


Oshkosh Area Community Foundation

$488,302 in new grant commitments 

$460,802 in grants distributed



Supporting Youth Mental Health Needs: $12,400

Planning grant to use the Results-Based Accountability framework to better understand youth mental health needs and gaps in services, and identify feasible strategies that could be implemented to ensure all youth and their families in the Berlin area have convenient access to case management and mental health services.

Collaborators: Boys & Girls Club of the Tri-County Area, Catalpa Health, Berlin Area

School District, Green Lake County Health & Human Services


Peer Recovery Support Services: $25,000

Planning grant to support the organic growth, mobilization, and training of Waushara County’s recovery community to develop and offer peer recovery support services in a community where no such services exist today.

Collaborators: Family Health/La Clinica de los Campesinos, Inc.


Rock the Block Oshkosh: $100,000 (Year 1 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, City of Oshkosh, Greater Oshkosh Healthy Neighborhoods, Inc.


State of the Child Deeper Dive: $13,430

Planning grant to identify and test strategies to address gaps and/or scale effective services to improve the state of the child in Winnebago County.

Collaborators: Valley Packaging Industries, Child Care Resource and Referral, Winnebago County

Health Department & Department of Human Services, Family Services, UW Extension, Fox Valley Early Childhood Coalition, Oshkosh Area United Way, UW Oshkosh Head Start, Oshkosh Area School District, Partnership Community Health Center


Qualitative Study of Youth Suicide- Related Behaviors: $10,000

Conduct a research project to determine why 12-18 year olds in Calumet, Outagamie, and Winnebago Counties are attempting suicide at nearly twice the rate of the rest of the state and national averages in order to develop real, local, targeted prevention and intervention strategies.

Collaborators: NEW Mental Health Connection, Neenah Joint School District, Outagamie County Public Health, Mosaic Health, Samaritan Counseling for the Fox Valley, Catalpa Health, Winnebago County Public Health, Medical College of Wisconsin


Grade 8 Mental Health Screening in Oshkosh Schools: $17,472 (Year 1 of 2, $27,472 total)

Add 0.35 full-time employee of case management capacity in order to expand mental health wellness screening to 8th graders, which was planned but put on hold due to the higher than anticipated positive screens in grades 9-12 (expected 30% positive screens and actual is 40%).

Collaborators: Samaritan Counseling, Oshkosh Area School District, Catalpa Health



Recovery House for Men: $35,000 (Year 2 of 3, $170,000 total)

Open a third sober living house for men who no longer require the strict rule that are enforced in Mahalo, the current men’s house, yet who still require some support on their journey of recovery.

Collaborators: Apricity (formerly STEP Industries & The Mooring Programs) and Nova Counseling Services


Oshkosh School-Based Mental Health: $90,000 (Year 2 of 3, $300,000 total)

Launch a comprehensive, school-based mental health program that will allow for earlier detection, increased access to services and heightened awareness aimed at building a culture for mental health, reducing stigma and increasing tolerance.

Collaborators: Catalpa Health, Oshkosh Area School District, Samaritan Counseling of the

Fox Valley


Vocational Learning at Apricity: $30,000 (Year 2 of 3, $95,000 total)

Develop a Vocational training center located at Apricity to expand the educational opportunities for participants and enhance their ability to secure full-time employment or enroll in higher education.

Collaborators: Fox Valley Technical College, Apricity


Hub Collaboration Phase 2: $15,000 (Year 2 of 3, $285,000 total)

Engage more participants in self-sufficiency coaching by increasing coaching capacity and making it easier for people looking to get ahead and stay ahead to access hub services.

Collaborators: Oshkosh Area United Way, ADVOCAP, Oshkosh Salvation Army


Reader’s Café Student Literacy Interventions: $50,000 (Year 2 of 3, $150,000 total)

Increase reading confidence, fluency and proficiency for Boys & Girls Club members that are experiencing academic challenges because of low literacy skills through tutoring, Readers Theaters, choral reading and book clubs.

Collaborators: Winnebago County Literacy Council, Boys & Girls Club of Oshkosh



JumpStart Auto Repair: $125,000 (Year 1 of 2, $200,000 total)

Fund second and third years of JumpStart, an auto repair business open to the public that uses profits to provide free or low cost auto services to victims of domestic abuse.

Collaborators: Christine Ann Domestic Abuse Services, Harbor House Domestic Abuse Programs

Note: The grants represented are based on the fiscal year of the fund and the Basic Needs Giving Partnership. Community foundation Fiscal Years vary.


About the Basic Needs Giving Partnership

The Basic Needs Giving Partnership aims to end poverty in Northeast Wisconsin. The funds raised through the U.S. Venture Open from generous corporations, family foundations and individuals are administered by grant teams established at three community foundations. The awarded grants support nonprofits collaborating to coordinate services for people in need throughout Northeast Wisconsin, with a focus on the organizations that are embracing continuous improvement, social innovation, shared measurement, sustainability and scalability.

U.S. Venture Open

The U.S. Venture Open is the nation’s single largest one-day charitable event dedicated to ending poverty. It’s held at several regional golf courses: Oneida Golf and Country Club, Green Bay; North Shore Golf Club, Menasha; Thornberry Creek, Oneida, Oneida; Fox Valley Golf Club, Kaukauna; Butte des Morts Country Club, Appleton; Wander Springs Golf Course, Greenleaf.

U.S. Venture underwrites all costs of the event and has done so since the inception. Funds from the event are held within the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region, the Greater Green Bay Community Foundation and the Oshkosh Area Community Foundation, with grants made to collaborating non-profit organizations in Northeast Wisconsin.

The event started in 1986 with 100 golfers and has grown to 1,100 attendees representing more than 500 partners who golf at regional courses to raise money for programs that help end poverty. Follow the event on Facebook, Twitter, or visit the U.S. Venture Open website.


About U.S. Venture, Inc.

For more than 65 years, U.S. Venture, Inc. has been recognized as an innovative leader in the distribution of petroleum and renewable energy products, lubricants, and tires and parts for the automotive aftermarket. Guided by its company vision, “To be the very best value-adding distributor of products that vehicles consume in North America,” they deliver unconventional, creative solutions that give their customers a competitive edge. Headquartered in Appleton, Wisconsin, the company’s business divisions are U.S. Oil, U.S. AutoForce®, U.S. Lubricants and U.S. Gain.

Contact Information:
Dawn Ruchala

Manager, U.S. Venture Open

[email protected]



Mary Schmidt

[email protected]