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Basic Needs Giving Partnership Holds Report to the Community


First time in Partnership history $5.56 million in new grants exceed $3.96 million raised at the U.S. Venture Open

December 13, 2017 — More than $5.56 million in grants to more than 200 nonprofit organizations are supporting innovative programs helping those in need throughout Northeast Wisconsin. One hundred and sixty-three 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 $3.50 million and distributed $2.25 million to multiple year grants;
  • Greater Green Bay Community Foundation awarded new grants of $1.02 million and distributed $585,041 to multiple year grants;
  • Oshkosh Area Community Foundation awarded new grants of $1.04 million and distributed $580,492 to multiple year grants.

On December 13, leaders of the Basic Needs Giving Partnership will host a Report to the Community at the KI Convention Center, 333 Main Street, in Downtown Green Bay from
8 a.m. to 9 a.m. 

The Basic Needs Giving Partnership is collaboration between the U.S. Venture Open, the J. J. Keller Foundation, and regional community foundations. Each of the three community foundations reviews and awards grants to regional nonprofits that address the root causes of poverty. Funds for the Basic Needs Giving Partnership are raised through the annual U.S. Venture Open charitable golf outing. Key partners match the grant making funds adding an additional $1.4 million; those partners are the J. J. Keller Foundation, Oshkosh Corporation, ThedaCare, the Rhoades Foundation and others. In 2017, partners and donors raised $3.96 million in the one-day event.

“We have seen resources in our communities increase as a result of donors working together,” said John Schmidt, President/CEO of U.S. Venture, Inc. “Collaboration between nonprofits is providing innovative solutions that are positively affecting the lives of thousands of area residents.”

This year is the first time in the history of the Partnership that newly awarded grants have exceeded the funds raised from the event. “This is a milestone because it shows increased collaboration between nonprofits to create effective programs in our communities addressing the core issues that keep people in poverty,” said Greg Vandenberg, director of giving & community engagement for U. S. Venture, Inc.

The report highlights several programs addressing the root causes of poverty and results they have achieved.

In Brown County, Bay Area Workforce Development used a grant to help foster children aging out of the state’s support system. The grant provides resources to help young adults with education, housing, apprenticeships, and independent living. “Without funding, every one of these kids would become a statistic,” said Matt Valiquette, program operations manager. “The Basic Needs Giving Partnership allows us to bridge the gaps where resources and existing funding streams were not able or prohibited from delivering services.”

In the Fox Valley, a grant for comprehensive school-based mental health program implemented E3 (Engage, Educate, Empower) in the Hortonville Area School District. Funds provided mental health assessments, education for teachers and families, and on-site therapy. The program is in its third year of funding and participants credit the Basic Needs Giving Partnership with their success.

“This would be a pretty hard program to run without the funding,” said Katie Jensen, director of access and outreach for Catalpa Health. “Kids more freely talking about seeing a counselor, their parents are starting to become more open to therapy, and we’ve been able to combine funding and collaborative efforts in a district and see the impact on a culture.”

In the Oshkosh area, a grant was used by the Oshkosh Area School District and Fox Valley Technical College to hire an alcohol and other drug abuse (AODA) expert to address the changing needs of incoming students at the Riverside campus. This alternative school addresses the needs of students who face a variety of social, health, and family challenges. “Without this funding, most of the students would end up dropping out and perhaps getting into legal troubles,” said Rhonda Bricco, program support specialist. “Many of these students have been homeless or dealing with drug and alcohol issues, and school becomes the support network in their lives,” she said.

Chief among regional initiatives is the POINT poverty initiative, which is equipping nonprofits with continuous improvement tools and initiating the formation of action groups around strategic initiatives focused on solving poverty in Northeast WI. More than 70 organizations have participated in POINT this year.

For LEAVEN, participating in POINT uncovered gaps in service for those in need. The organization analyzed client data and learned that 27% of their clients sought help from LEAVEN three or more times a year. By analyzing usage data and referrals, they determined having staff on-site increased the referral rate.

“I honestly thought the POINT process would slow us down, but in the end, the months we invested really strengthened our story,” said Mary Parsons, executive director for LEAVEN.

Recipients of the Basic Needs Giving Partnership Grants for 2017 are:

FY 2017 Basic Needs Giving Partnership Grants

$5,563,787 in new grant commitments

$3,418,692 in grants distributed

Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region

$3,499,780 in new grant commitments   

$2,254,159 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

Coming Home to Healthcare $153,365 (Year 1 of 3, $295,000 total)

To 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, Inc., COTS

Counseling for Low Income Spanish Speakers $93,872 (Year 1 of 3, $295,920 total)

To 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 Center of the Fox Valley, Inc., NAMI Fox Valley

Mindfulness Curriculum for Low-Income Preschoolers $166,675 (Year 1 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, Healthy Minds Innovation Team from UW-Madison

ServiceWorks for At-Risk Youth $123,656 (Year 1 of 3, $294,036 total)

To 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, and Boys & Girls Clubs of the Fox Valley

F.R.E.S.H. Project $93,467 (Year 1 of 3, $263,283 total)

To 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, Shawano County, Menominee Nation and Shawano/Menominee Counties Health Department

Triumph $120,000 (Year 1 of 3, $300,000 total)

To 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 & Little Chute School Area School Districts

Sober Living House $85,000 (Year 1 of 3, $115,000 total)

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

Collaborators: STEP Industries, The Mooring Programs, Nova Counseling Services

Neenah School-based Mental Health $137,000 (Year 1 of 3, $300,000 total)

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

Collaborators: Catalpa Health, Inc., Neenah Joint School District, NAMI Fox Valley, Samaritan Counseling

Scholars of Excellence $100,000 (Year 1 of 3, $300,000 total)

To improve academic achievement levels, graduation rates, and post-secondary participation rates of African-American and Black youth through creation of the Scholars of Excellence 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

Education Advocate $74,000(Year 1 of 3, $168,403 total)

To double the capacity of the successful Education Advocate program which removes barriers and helps people enroll in GED, English Language Learning (ELL), 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 Foundation, LEAVEN, Fox Valley Technical College

Almost Home Program Expansion $26,506 (Year 1 of 3, $69,180 total)

To expand the Almost Home program, which provides wraparound case management services that help at-risk families attain safe, affordable housing.

Collaborators: Greater Fox Cities Area Habitat for Humanity, Goodwill Industries of North Central Wisconsin

Day Resource Center $100,000 (Year 1 of 3, $266,000 total)

To create a day resource center where people who are experiencing homelessness and not connected to services can go to access services and which is a hub of all housing services.
Collaborators: Homeless Connections, Housing Partnership of the Fox Cities, Fox Valley Warming Shelter, St. Matthew Lutheran Church

LEAVEN Community Resource Center-Capacity Building Needs $107,153 (Year 1 of 3, $218,608 total)

To 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, Fox Valley Technical College, Energy Services, Inc.

Planning Grant to Identify Gaps in Service for Traumatic Brain Injury Clients $5,500

A planning grant to identify gaps in service related to traumatic brain injury (TBI) and to define and develop a possible Client Care Coordinator position to assist individuals with TBI.

Recipient: SOAR Fox Cities


Housing Partnership of the Fox Cities: $37,000 (Year 2 of 3, $141,000 total)

To 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 from one to three years.

Collaborators: Homeless Connections, Fox Valley Warming Shelter, Members of the Housing Coalition

Kids Succeed $20,000 (Year 3 of 3, $68,500 total)

To help children living in neighborhoods of concentrated poverty realize academic and personal success, and self-sufficiency.

Collaborators: Goodwill Industries, Neighborhood Partners, Columbus Elementary School

English Language Learning Staff $15,000 (Year 3 of 3, $45,000 total)

To expand organizational capacity by adding an English Language Learning staff member to improve the literacy skills of low income adult learners who are new in our country.

Recipient: Fox Valley Literacy Council

Sober Living $25,000 (Year 3 of 3, $150,000 total)

To open a "Sober Living House" providing peer recovery support, helping 18 to 22 addicts a year leave treatment and build new lives.

Collaborators: STEP Industries, The Mooring Programs, Nova Counseling

Collaborative Intake and Assessment $52,071 (Year 2 of 3, $225,248 total)

To develop a system of shared intake and assessment related to home repairs for at-risk individuals.

Collaborators: Rebuilding Together - Fox Valley, Greater Fox Cities Habitat for Humanity

Pay It Forward $64,479 (Year 2 of 3, $174,726 total)

To 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

Fresh Start Enhanced $54,576 (Year 3 of 3, $188,188 total)

To expand the Fresh Start Program to include a significant training component related to renewable energy, thereby increasing the potential for program graduates to secure life-sustaining jobs.

Collaborators: CAP Services – Stevens Point, City of Waupaca, Northwind Renewable Energy, Waupaca Foundry and Faulk’s Brothers Construction

Thrive Career Academy $50,000 (Year 3 of 3, $150,000 total)

To develop the Thrive Academy, giving individuals with disabilities the skills and support necessary to obtain and keep employment, thereby becoming self-sufficient.

Collaborators: Valley Packaging Industries, Community Care

Sex Trafficking $33,500 (Year 3 of 3, $100,500 total)

To support development and early implementation of a strategic plan for dealing with sex trafficking of juveniles in Outagamie County. 

Collaborators: Sexual Assault Crisis Center, Appleton and Grand Chute Police Departments, Harbor House, Outagamie County District Attorney, etc.

Day Treatment: Filling a Gap for Youth $60,000 (Year 3 of 3, $300,000 total)

To improve pediatric mental health care by launching a Day Treatment Center that provides intensive on-site mental health services for youth in grades 7 to 12. 

Collaborators: Catalpa Health, Lawrence University, St. Elizabeth Hospital

Comprehensive School-Based Mental Health $55,000 (Year 3 of 3, $201,000 total)

To implement E3 (Engage, Educate, Empower), a comprehensive school-based mental health program designed for the Hortonville Area School District by a group of mental health providers.

Collaborators: Catalpa Health, Samaritan Counseling Center, NAMI Fox Valley

Job Training and Placement for Veterans $45,179 (Year 3 of 3, $177,803 total)

To provide a structured job training program and job placement for veterans who have been offered an alternative to incarceration by the court system.
Collaborators: Riverview Gardens, Outagamie County Veterans Treatment Court

Neighborhood Revitalization $57,779 (Year 2 of 3, $300,000 total)

To 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

No Wrong Door $53,500 (Year 3 of 3, $169,500 total)

To train managers and front-line staff in the “no wrong door” philosophy and implement a web-based mental health referral system.

Collaborators: NEW Mental Health, Samaritan Counseling, NAMI Fox Valley, Catalpa Health

Downtown Appleton CARE Team $94,432 (Year 2 of 3, $272,142 total)

To 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

Oshkosh Area Community Foundation

$1,037,400 in new grant commitments   

$580,492 in grants distributed


Rise Up Program: $110,000 (Year 1 of 3, $300,000 total)

To 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 of mental health, reducing stigma and increasing tolerance.

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

Vocational Training Center at STEP Industries: $35,000 (Year 1 of 3, $95,000 total)

To develop a Vocational Training Center located at STEP Industries to expand the educational opportunities for STEP participants and enhance their ability to secure full-time employment or enroll in higher education.

Collaborators: Fox Valley Technical College, STEP Industries

Hub Collaboration Phase 2: $76,000 (Year 1 of 3, $285,000 total)

To 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, Fox Valley Technical College

Integrated School to Work Program: $25,000

To research and pilot a new program that provides Oshkosh Area School District students with the opportunity to earn their high school diploma while receiving on-the-job training at area employers in order to build skills needed to be employed immediately upon graduation in a job that pays a living wage.

Collaborators: Oshkosh Chamber Foundation, Inc., Oshkosh Area School District, Fox Valley Technical College

Recovery House for Men: $100,000 (Year 1 of 3, $170,000 total)
To open a third sober living house for men who no longer require the strict rules that are enforced in Mahalo, the current men's house, yet who still require some support on their journey of recovery.

Collaborators: STEP Industries, Inc., The Mooring Programs, Nova Counseling Services

Readers' Cafe Student Literacy Interventions: $50,000 (Year 1 of 3, $150,000 total)

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

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


Catalpa Trees from Seeds at the Club: $98,177 (Year 3 of 3, $300,000 total)
To provide children and their families with convenient access to mental health services and case management while instilling a deep understanding of living life with resiliency and support through integrated mental health programming and interaction with adults trained in trauma informed care.

Collaborators: Catalpa Health, Boys and Girls Club of Oshkosh, Inc.

Oshkosh Financial Wellness Center: $54,640 (Year 2 of 2, $96,390 total)

To open a Financial Wellness Center at the Oshkosh Fox Valley Technical College’s Riverside campus to ensure that students receive assistance when emergency needs arise, with the goal of lessening their debt and financial strain long-term.

Collaborators: FISC, Fox Valley Technical College

Riverside Program Addressing Emerging Barriers: $22,300 (Year 3 of 3, $69,500 total)

To better address the changing social dynamics of incoming Riverside students by hiring a dedicated Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse (AODA) expert as well as updating/enhancing the Financial Literacy and College and Career Readiness courses.

Collaborators: Fox Valley Technical College Foundation, Oshkosh Area School District


$1,026,607 in new grant commitments   

$585,041 in grants distributed


Youth Mental Health Matters: $100,000 (Year 1 of 3, $300,000)

The collaboration will enable more effective and efficient delivery of youth mental health services by bringing counseling professionals and students in training into the Boys & Girls Club to connect with high-need populations in a trusted and accessible setting while expanding the Resident Training Program. Collaborators: Boys & Girls Club of Greater Green Bay, Foundations (formerly American Foundation of Counseling Services), UW-Green Bay Social Field Placement Program

ELEvate (Education.Literacy.Engagement) Our ELL Families: $41,390 (Year 1 of 3, $147,945 total)

This work will expand upon a pilot program that targeted Latino families and incorporates additional family literacy programming sites in other schools with a high concentration of English Language Learners. The program addresses both the parents’ and their children’s literacy and language needs, while engaging parents in their child’s education; building stronger school connections and parent and child interaction; and assisting parents in acquiring skills to be self-sufficient.

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

Pathway to Self-Sufficiency: $100,000 (Year 1 of 3, $300,000 total)

Families ready to leave shelter or transitional housing will receive support through increased guidance to self-sufficiency, continued case management, and long-term supportive housing. Ecumenical Partnership for Housing will become the landlord for families who would otherwise not have access to affordable housing.

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

Educacion: Una Mejor Oportunidad (Education: A Better Chance for Hispanics): $25,000

A planning grant will strengthen an existing partnership to better address the educational needs of the Hispanic community through an action plan and needs assessment focused on increasing post-secondary awareness among middle school and high school students and their parents.

Collaborators: Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, CASA Alba Melanie Hispanic Resource Center of Green Bay

Community Resource Empowerment Program: $80,000 (Year 1 of 3, $236,500 total)

A coordinated approach will assist people who are disconnected from the workforce, deficient in basic skills, underemployed or 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.

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

Resiliency Development Strategies for Algoma's Youth: $17,162

A planning grant will establish a structure for initial screening of youth in areas impacting resiliency and mental health. In concert with data collection, a small-group resiliency building intervention will be piloted with analysis for further development and to outline potential barriers and areas of opportunity for resiliency strategies in future initiatives.

Collaborators: Live Algoma, Algoma School District, UW-Green Bay Social Work Professional Programs, City of Algoma Parks & Recreation Department


Fostering Youth Independence & Self-Sufficiency: $100,000 (Year 3 of 3, $299,640 total)

The work addresses the gap in community resources and services dedicated to youth aging out of foster care and other at-risk groups sharing similar barriers to education and employment.

Collaborators: Bay Area Workforce Development Board, Foundations (formerly American Foundation of Counseling Services), Brown County Human Services, CASA of Brown County, Advocates for Healthy Transitional Living

Expanding Farmers Market SNAP and WIC Programs: $22,540 (Year 3 of 3, $53,785 total)

This initiative expanded upon a Basic Needs Giving Partnership planning grant opportunity to create sustainability, making healthy foods more accessible and affordable for low-income residents in Brown County. FoodShare and WIC participants are able to use benefits at farmers markets.
Collaborators: Live54218, OnBroadway, Downtown Green Bay Inc., UW-Extension, Oneida Nation Farmers Market, Main Street Farmers Market, Brown County WIC Program

Connections for Mental Wellness: $97,949 (Year 3 of 3, $284,598 total)

Connections for Mental Wellness (formerly Greater Green Bay Mental Health Connection and Mental Wellness Connections) was established to create better access for children, adults and families; develop an improved system of mental health care grounded in collaboration and coordination; decrease the stigma of mental illness; create a healthier community; and increase funding for community mental health services.

Collaborators: Foundations (formerly American Foundation for Counseling Services), Bellin Health, Catholic Charities, Family Services, Hospital Sisters Health System


Fresh Start - Regional Hunger Coalition: $24,800
To form a regional hunger coalition in order to learn about each other and identify opportunities to align resources to impact hunger and poverty at the regional scale.

Collaborators: Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin, St. Joseph Food Program, Salvation Army Fox Cities and Oshkosh Area Community Pantry

NeighborCARE $21,074
To use the principles 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 (ADRC) of Brown, Outagamie and Winnebago Counties

*Note: The grants represented are based on the calendar year of the U.S. Venture Fund for Basic Needs and the Basic Needs Giving Partnership. Community Foundation Fiscal Years vary.



About the U.S. Venture Open

The U.S. Venture Open is the nation’s single largest one-day charitable event dedicated to fighting poverty. 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 nonprofit organizations focused on the root causes of poverty in Northeast Wisconsin. 

The event started in 1986 with 100 golfers and has grown to 1,100 attendees representing more than 500 donor partners from across the nation. Follow the event on Facebook, Twitter, or visit the U.S. Venture Open website.

About the Basic Needs Giving Partnership

The Basic Needs Giving Partnership (BNGP) aims to end poverty by targeting root causes. 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.

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 refined and renewable energy products, lubricants, and aftermarket tires and parts. 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
, U.S. Venture Open

Mary Schmidt


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