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Grants to Help Nonprofits Impacted by Recesion

APPLETON, Wis. – The Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region has launched a new grant program designed to help charitable organizations deal with the added budget pressures created by the recession.

The Foundation is redirecting about $650,000 from existing grant programs to its new “Bridge Grant Program.” Bridge Grants, to be awarded in fall, are designed to support a limited number of charitable organizations that had been stable going into the recession and that have good prospects of returning to fiscal health.

“Last fall, our Survey of Nonprofits and the Economy indicated most nonprofits were spending more than they were taking in and a large majority felt financially vulnerable going into 2009,” President/CEO Curt Detjen said. “Now we’re hearing from our colleagues in the nonprofit sector that they are borrowing against their reserves to pay their daily expenses, even after implementing layoffs and other budget cutting approaches.”

Under the new program, qualifying charitable organizations can submit grant requests of up to $25,000 to help with operating expenses. The application deadline is Oct. 9. Details are available at

The Community Foundation is offering information sessions on the Bridge Grant Program at
9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Tuesday (June 16) and two more on Aug. 19. Both days’ sessions are at the Community Foundation office, 4455 W. Lawrence St. in Grand Chute.

To fund the Bridge Grants, the Community Foundation temporarily has suspended its Capacity Building grants, which assist nonprofits accomplish strategic growth or stability. Project grants, which support innovative projects or programs, will continue.

“This didn’t seem to be the appropriate time to be offering grants for charitable organizations to expand their services,” Detjen said. “The need right now is overcoming the decline in contributions and increased demand for services many are experiencing.”

Applicants must be charitable organizations under section 501(c)(3) of the federal tax code. Government agencies, schools, churches and religious organizations are not eligible for Bridge Grants due to the limited amount of funding available and foundation policies against supporting organizations dedicated to a specific religious faith with its unrestricted grant dollars.

The Community Foundation will welcome gifts in any amount from other grant-making organizations, businesses or families wishing to become funding partners and to extend the reach of the program to more charitable organizations.

“The truth is that, although $650,000 is a large sum, it will only help a limited number of charitable organizations deal with their shortfalls this year,” Detjen said.

A Foundation committee of community volunteers will thoroughly review the requests, with the goal being to make the limited dollars do the most possible good. Grant decisions will be announced in late November.

The mission of the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region is to strengthen our community for current and future generations by helping people make a difference in the lives of others. Since its founding in 1986, donors to the Community Foundation have enabled it to award more than $100 million in grants to nonprofit organizations from hundreds of charitable funds under its administration. The Foundation is among the largest certified community foundations in Wisconsin and among the top 10 percent nationally. Affiliated community foundations are located in Chilton, Clintonville, Shawano and Waupaca.