Basic Needs Giving Partership announces $3 million in grants

Appleton, WI – June 23, 2015 – The Basic Needs Giving Partnership, a unique collaboration between several of the region’s largest charitable giving organizations, has approved more than $3 million in new grants to fight poverty in Northeast Wisconsin. 164 organizations in the Greater Green Bay, Fox Valley and Oshkosh areas will receive 28 new grants and continued funding for 27 multi-year grants. Grants are awarded to projects equipping individuals and families to break the cycle of poverty.

The Basic Needs Giving Partnership is a collaboration between the U.S. Venture Fund for Basic Needs, the J. J. Keller Foundation, Inc., the Greater Green Bay Community Foundation, the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region and the Oshkosh Area Community Foundation. Donations to the annual U.S. Venture Open support the U.S. Venture Fund for Basic Needs established at each Community Foundation. The J. J. Keller Foundation in turn matches up to $800,000 of the annual grantmaking budget from the fund. The three Community Foundations complete this partnership, bringing their expertise in community needs and strategic grantmaking.

“The power of this partnership is that we are fostering and supporting collaborative projects that reach thousands of needy individuals throughout Northeast Wisconsin,” said Greg Vandenberg, U.S. Venture director of giving and community engagement. “Together we are able to make an impact far greater than any of us would be able to do individually.”

In 30 years the partnership has given $16.9 million in grants to regional organizations. Last year $2.8 million in new grants were awarded to help residents move from poverty to self-sufficiency. Over 68% of these grants were collaborations which facilitated new nonprofit interactions.

“We are encouraged by the impact of our joint efforts,” said Mary Harp Jirschele, J. J. Keller Foundation executive director. “Nonprofits are thinking more strategically and creating long-term solutions to affect the residents of Northeast Wisconsin.” Since 2007, the J. J. Keller Foundation has contributed $5.9 million to this root-cause effort.

Recipients of the Basic Needs Giving Partnership Grants for Fiscal Year 2015 are:

FY 2015 Basic Needs Giving Partnership Grants

$3,005,886 in new grant commitments
$2,548,334 in grants distributed

Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region
$1,638,151 in new grant commitments
$1,038,159 in grants distributed


CAP Services: (Year 1 of 3, $188,888 total)
Expand the Fresh Start Program to include training related to renewable energy to increase the potential for program graduates to secure life-sustaining jobs. Collaborators: City of Waupaca, Northwind Renewable Energy, Waupaca Foundry and Faulk Brothers Construction

Catalpa Health: (Year 1 of 3, $300,000 total)
A day treatment center that provides intensive mental health services for youth in grades 7 to 12. Collaborator: CESA 6

Catalpa Health YESS! Program: (Year 1 of 3, $201,000 total)
A comprehensive mental health program in the Hortonville Area School District designed by a group of mental health providers. Collaborators: Samaritan Counseling Center, NAMI Fox Valley and Family Services of Northeast Wisconsin

COTS, Inc.: $4,275
To plan a new mentoring program serving people who are nearly homeless and chronically homeless. Collaborator: Fox Valley Warming Shelter

Fox Valley Literacy Council: $15,000 (Year 1 of 3, $45,000 total)
Expand organizational capacity by adding an English Language Learning staff member to improve the literacy skills of low-income adult learners who are new to our country. Collaborator: Fox Valley Literacy Council

Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Wisconsin (Year 1 of 3, $150,000 total)
Fox Valley Technical College Foundation: (Year 1 of 3, $81,385 total)
To teach individuals living at or near the poverty line essential life skills and welding, place them in high-demand jobs and help them reach self-sufficiency. Collaborators: Casa Hispana, Miller Electric and Fox Valley Technical College

LEAVEN: $8,400 planning grant
To develop a system that offers clients loans and financial counseling as an alternative to the traditional service model. Collaborator: FISC

Riverview Gardens: (Year 1 of 3, $177,803 total)
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

Samaritan Counseling: $7,900
To study how best to equip faith communities to be effective doorways to mental health treatment, early intervention, awareness and prevention. Collaborators: NAMI Fox Valley, NEW Mental Health Connection and LEAVEN

Sexual Assault Crisis Center: (Year 1 of 3, $100,000 total)
To support implementation of a strategic plan for dealing with sex trafficking in Outagamie County and reaching the victims sooner, tracking the numbers of girls involved more accurately and increasing community education. Collaborators: Appleton and Grand Chute Police Departments, Harbor House and Outagamie County District Attorney

STEP Industries: (Year 1 of 3, $150,000)
To open a “Sober Living House,” helping 18 to 22 addicts a year leave treatment and build new lives with peer support. Collaborators: STEP Industries, Mooring Programs, Nova Counseling

Sustainable Fox Valley: (Year 2 of 3, $73,500 total)
Help children living in neighborhoods of concentrated poverty realize academic and personal success and self-sufficiency. Collaborators: Sustainable Fox Valley, Columbus Elementary School

Valley Packaging Industries: (Year 2 of 3, $150,000 total)
Develop Thrive Academy, which will give individuals with disabilities the skills and support necessary to obtain and keep employment to become self-sufficient. Collaborators: Valley Packing Industries, Community Care


Academic Support in Little Chute: $47,300 (Year 3 of 3, $142,000 total)
A new Boys & Girls Club in Little Chute to provide academic support for elementary school students while positively affecting their emotional, social and physical development.
Collaborators: Boys & Girls Club Fox Valley, Little Chute Elementary School

Appleton Ready to Read: $15,000 (Year 2 of 3, $45,000 total)
To improve kindergarten readiness of Hmong and Hispanic children in Appleton, an indicator of
long-term academic success. Collaborators: Friends of Appleton Public Library, Appleton Area School District

“Cuidate” Program: $5,000 (Year 3 of 3, $15,000 total)
To implement a national framework for Latino teens to fulfill their full potential in life by focusing on the reduction of teen pregnancy. Recipient: Partnership Community Health Center

Dementia-friendly Community: $76,800 (Year 3 of 3, $228,156 total)
To develop memory cafés, a family welcome/resource center, dementia assessment center and employment support initiatives to serve individuals with dementia and their families.
Collaborators: Lutheran Social Services, UW Family Residency, ThedaCare

Economic Empowerment for Women: $25,000 (Year 3 of 3, $145,000 total)
For a full-time economic advocate to work with domestic abuse victims to partner with businesses and community partners to secure sustainable employment and permanent housing.
Collaborators: Harbor House Domestic Abuse Programs, COTS, Housing Partnership of the Fox Cities

Mental Health Access for Children: $100,000 (Year 3 of 3, $300,000 total)
To hire two additional therapists, increasing the number of child patients who can be treated by 20%
Collaborators: Catalpa Health, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, Affinity Health Systems, ThedaCare

No Wrong Door: Referral Access Information Link Pilot: $53,500 (Year 2 of 3, $190,000 total)
To train managers and front-line staff in the “no wrong door” philosophy and implement R.A.I.L.,
a web-based mental health referral system. Collaborators: NEW Mental Health Connection, Inc., NAMI Fox Valley, Samaritan Counseling Center, Catalpa Health

Oral Health for Children: $15,000 (Year 2 of 3, $45,000 total)
To create an orthodontics program for children with severe oral health problems from low-income households. Recipient: Tri-County Community Dental Clinic

Positive Youth Development: $15,000 (Year 2 of 3, $45,000 total)
To help Youth Go serve the increased number of youth coming to the facility for guidance and support.
Recipient: Youth Go, Inc.

Recovery from Addiction Program: $15,000 (Year 3 of 3, $45,000 total)
For a recovery coach to focus on the special needs of those recovering from the disease of opiate addiction. Recipient: STEP Industries

Rural Health Initiative Expansion: $15,000 (Year 2 of 2, $40,000 total)
To expand the Rural Health Initiative into Outagamie and Waupaca counties, providing preventive health services to underinsured farm families and employees. Collaborators: Rural Health Initiative, Inc., Outagamie County, Waupaca County

Savings for Personal Growth: $25,000 (Year 2 of 3, $75,000 total)
To help low-income residents move from dependence to self-sufficiency by learning to save, and then putting away money for education, a home or a small business. Collaborators: Greater Fox Cities Area Habitat for Humanity, Goodwill Industries of North Central Wisconsin, Fox Valley Technical College Foundation

ServiceWorks Program Expansion: $42,842 (Year 2 of 3, $123,398 total)
To expand the ServiceWorks program, enrolling ex-prisoners and helping them develop work skills and references while working to create public park space and gardens at Riverview Gardens.
Collaborators: COTS, Riverview Gardens, Ryan Community

Teen Screen: $41,666 (Year 3 of 3, $125,000 total)
To expand a successful pilot providing emotional wellness screenings to prevent teen suicide.
Collaborators: Samaritan Counseling Center, CHAPS Academy, Catalpa Health, Lawrence University


$673,535 in new grant commitments
$692,053 in grants distributed

    NEW GRANTS IN 2015

English Language Community School: $18,900 planning grant
This planning grant is for Literacy Green Bay to work out the logistics of an English Language Community School to provide an English Language Family literacy program within a Green Bay Area Public School. Collaborators: Green Bay Area Public Schools

Expanding Farmer’s Market SNAP and WIC Programs: $10,260 (Year 1 of 3, $64,994)
This collaboration proposes to expand and create sustainability for a program originally funded through a Basic Needs Giving Partnership planning grant that will make healthy foods more accessible and affordable for low-income residents in Brown County. Under this program, FoodShare and WIC participants will be able to use their benefits at five farmer’s markets. Collaborators: LIVE54218, OnBroadway, Downtown Green Bay Inc, UW Extension, Oneida Nations Farmer’s Market, Main Street Farmer’s Market, Brown County WIC Program

Fostering Youth Independence & Self-Sufficiency: $99,820 (Year 1 of 3, $299,640)
This collaborative is designed 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, AFCS, Brown County Human Services, CASA of Brown County, Advocates for Healthy Transitional Living

Greater Green Bay Mental Health Connection: $88,201 (Year 1 of 3, $290,001)
Establish the Greater Green Bay Mental Health Connection which 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


Achieve Brown County: $63,928 (Year 3 of 3, $200,000 total)
The community’s cradle to career initiative focused on aligning all stakeholders to progress and achieve common outcomes for all youth in Brown County.

At-Risk Youth Employment and Training in Oconto County: $53,650 (Year 2 of 3, $156,545 total)
To begin a work and training program for Oconto County youth, ages 16-21, in the foster care and juvenile justice system. Collaborators: New Beginnings/Oconto County Partnership, UW Extension Oconto County, Bay Area Workforce Development Board, Family Services of Northeast Wisconsin

Children First Family Literacy Program: $58,144 (Year 3 of 3, $179,660 total)
Aims to break the cycle of family poverty through the support of the literacy needs of the whole family.
Collaborators: Literacy Green Bay, Inc., YWCA Green Bay – De Pere, Northwest Technical College

Long-term Supportive Transitional Housing Program: $47,400 (Year 2 of 3, $125,000 total)
To address the increasing need of homeless families by providing resources for qualified families on the waitlist who have some income but are experiencing situational poverty, and families who have participated in the traditional transitional housing program but still have barriers. The collaboration will work with rental property managers instead of the traditional model of purchasing properties for transitional housing. Collaborators: Ecumenical Partnership for Housing, The Salvation Army

Seeds 2 Service: $14,500 (Year 3 of 3, $51,884 total)
To establish an after-school and summer school program to educate students in grades 3 to 5 about nutrition and sustainability through gardening, while promoting intergenerational interaction.
Collaborators: Gillett School District, UW Extension-Oconto County, Woodlands of Gillett, Gillett PTO, NE Wisconsin Garden Club, Gillett Public Library, Green Bay Botanical Garden

SOS for Dementia Care: $97,250 (Year 2 of 2, $194,500 total)
Work with families to provide in-home care for someone with Alzheimer’s disease or similar disorders with a goal of improving mental, physical and emotional health, safety and independence through home assessments and innovative techniques and technologies. Collaborators: N.E.W. Curative Rehabilitation, Options for Independent Living, Aging and Disabilities Resource Center of Brown County

Summer Learning Initiative: $100,000 (Year 2 of 3, $259,350 total)
To provide youth with summer access to learning opportunities to prevent summer learning loss in reading and math through the support and expansion of summer wrap-around programming at high need elementary schools. Collaborators: Boys and Girls Club of Green Bay, Green Bay Area Public School District

Supporting Our Families Together project (SOFT): $40,000 (Year 3 of 3, $135,000 total)
To efficiently provide services to unsheltered families with children with the ultimate goal of ending homelessness. Collaborators: Freedom House Ministries, Inc., Integrated Community Solutions, Family Services Crisis Center



$474,200 in new grant commitments
$472,122 in grants distributed

    NEW GRANTS IN 2015

Catalpa Trees from Seeds at the Club $130,372 (Year 1 of 3, $300,000 total)
Provide children and their families with access to mental health services and case management, integrated mental health programming and interaction with adults trained in trauma informed care. Collaborators: Catalpa Health, Boys and Girls Club of Oshkosh, Inc.

Children’s Vision Screening Project: $3000
To support vision screening for preschool children at two Oshkosh Head Start sites and launch the program at a Head Start location in Markesan. Collaborators: Prevent Blindness Wisconsin

Mental Health Collaboration: $15,000
Determine how to create a meaningful extension of the N.E.W. Mental Health Connection in Oshkosh that fosters and encourages collaboration among stakeholders in mental health in the Fox Valley region. Collaborators: N.E.W. Mental Health Connection, Catalpa Health, Friendship Place, Samaritan Counseling Center

Riverside Program Addressing Emerging Barriers: $24,900 (Year 1 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

Rental Housing in Oshkosh Mediation Effort (R HOME): $36,700
Creates the Rental Housing in Oshkosh Mediation Effort (R HOME) aimed at helping tenants avoid eviction and the challenges that often come with having a public eviction record.
Collaborators: Winnebago Conflict Resolution Center, Winnebago Apartment Association, Winnebago County UW-Extension

Supportive Housing Program: $50,000
Supports eight units of transitional housing for families fleeing domestic violence to replace units lost more than a year ago when the Siena Transitional Living property was sold. Collaborators: Winnebago County Housing Authority, Christine Ann Domestic Abuse Services


Connected Community Wellness Screen: $26,516 (Year 2 of 3, $50,000 total)
To help prevent teen suicide by providing free emotional wellness screening to students at public and private schools in Oshkosh, Omro and Winneconne school districts. Collaborators: The Samaritan Counseling Center of the Fox Valley, Oshkosh, Omro and Winneconne School Districts; UW Oshkosh Dept. of Professional Counseling; Winnebago County Health Dept./re:TH!NK; Li ving Healthy Community Clinic

Great Futures Mentoring Program: $32,300 (Year 3 of 3, $86,700 total)
To help reverse the growing numbers of people living in poverty by equipping middle and high school students in poverty with a mentor who can help navigate the path to self-sufficiency.
Collaborators: ADVOCAP, Oshkosh Area School District, Oshkosh Community YMCA, UW Oshkosh Center for Career Development and Employer Training

The Hub: $75,000 (Year 2 of 2, $150,000 total)
A community-wide initiative combining emergency/crisis intervention services with long-term coaching services, with the ultimate goal of financial stability for participating households.
Collaborators: ADVOCAP, Verve Credit Union, Goodwill Industries, Oshkosh Area Community Foundation, Oshkosh Area United Way, St. Vincent de Paul Society Oshkosh, UW-Extension, Winnebago County Department of Health and Human Services

Oral Health Care for Children: $15,000 (Year 2 of 3, $45,000 total)
To provide orthodontics for children with severe oral health problems from low-income households in southern Winnebago County. Recipient: Tri-County Community Dental Clinic

Memory Café Launch: $8,334 (Year 2 of 3, $25,000 total)
To introduce Memory Cafés in Oshkosh that serve those with early stage dementia, mild memory loss or cognitive impairment, and the family and friends of those affected. Recipient: Alzheimer’s Association of Greater Wisconsin

Road to Work Project: $50,000 (Year 3 of 3, $150,000 total)
To provide refugees with intensive employment-related training services including workplace literacy, interpreters as needed and support of transportation, child care, work clothing and other needs. Collaborators: ADVOCAP, Winnebago County Literacy Council

Skills Enhancement Program: $5,000 (Year 3 of 3, $22,500 total)
To help low-income wage earners access the education and training needed to secure higher-paying jobs with benefits so they can transition from dependence on public assistance to economic
self-sufficiency. Recipient: ADVOCAP


$220,000 in new grant commitments
$346,000 in grants distributed

Driven to Empower: $100,000
To identify ways to overcome transportation barriers facing victims of abuse through affordable car repair services, education on car repair and maintenance, and empowerment through potential new career opportunities. Collaborators: Christine Ann Domestic Abuse Services, Harbor House Domestic Abuse Programs, Fox Valley Technical College

NeighborCARE: $100,000 (Year 2 of 3, $300,000 total)
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

Sober Living Grant (SILE): $26,000 (Year 2 of 3, $90,000 total)
To investigate the requirements of establishing sober living houses in Appleton and Oshkosh to provide supportive housing after treatment and increase a person’s ability to achieve long-term sobriety.
Collaborators: STEP Industries, The Mooring Programs, Inc., NOVA Counseling Services

Social Innovation Leadership Experience (SILE): $80,000
A unique, executive education program to create a mind shift in nonprofit executive directors from basic needs-related organizations in Northeast Wisconsin. Collaborators: Marquette University, UW-Oshkosh, Innovative Learning Strategies

Sustainable Protein Project Planning: $25,000
Creates a socially innovative enterprise that produces a stable source of fresh fish protein for
low-income children and pregnant women to access through area food programs and pantries. Collaborators: Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin, Blue Planet.

Young Adults with Mental Health (SILE): $15,000
This planning grant provides a unique opportunity to serve young adults with chronic and persistent mental illness by building their self-sufficiency through independent living. By providing affordable housing, supportive services and employment opportunities, these individuals will be better equipped to effectively cope with their illnesses and avoid crisis situations. Collaborators: NAMI and the Housing Partnership

About the U.S. Venture Open
The U.S. Venture Open is Northeast Wisconsin’s single largest one-day charitable event dedicated entirely to fighting poverty. Over 1,100 participants representing more than 500 partners golf at regional golf courses to raise money for programs that help to fight the root causes of poverty. Over $3 million was raised in 2014. Follow the event on Facebook, Twitter, or visit the U.S. Venture Open website. The U.S. Venture Fund for Basic Needs is 100% funded by the proceeds of the annual U.S. Venture Open.

U.S. Venture, Inc.
For over 60 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.

About the J. J. Keller Foundation
The Foundation is widely recognized for its focus on the causes and consequences of poverty and other special areas of interest, most notably mental illness. Funding is provided for such programs as physical and mental health and healing, human services, life-skills education, preventative programming and critical community needs. The Foundation was established by the late John J. “Jack” Keller, founder of J. J. Keller & Associates, in honor of his wife Ethel’s 70th birthday as a way to give back to the community in which they lived, worked and played. For more information:

Contact Information:
Dawn Ruchala
Manager, U.S. Venture Open
Office: 920-243-2529

Mary Schmidt
Mobile: 920-284-7165