About

About Us

The Community Foundation of Central Wisconsin gives everyone the opportunity to make significant and lasting gifts to their community.

We manage over 250 funds that enhance Portage and Waushara counties. Together with our generous donors, we create a strong culture of philanthropy in Central Wisconsin.

We are a tax-exempt, 501(c)(3) public charity founded in 1982 to provide scholarships and grants to organizations and projects that improve the quality of life in Portage and Waushara counties.

Philanthropy is Our Only Business

We connect donors in Central Wisconsin to the causes they care about most. Our work is driven by the belief that when we give together our communities will grow forever. 

Mission Statement

We inspire charitable giving by connecting people and resources to enhance Central Wisconsin now and for future generations.

Vision

Portage and Waushara counties are thriving communities with a strong culture of philanthropy.

Values

Generosity
Integrity
Collaboration
Sustainability

The Community Foundation of Central Wisconsin is accredited with National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations® — the highest standards for philanthropic excellence. Achieving this accreditation means that we meet the most rigorous standards in philanthropy and is a promise to our community that we’ll continue to do this good work together, right here in Central Wisconsin.

History

We are a tax-exempt, 501(c)(3) public charity founded in 1982 to provide scholarships and grants to organizations and projects that improve the quality of life in Portage and Waushara counties.

1982
1983
1988
1996
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2018
2020

1982

Stevens Point Area Foundation established by a group of visionaries led by Mark Makholm, Gil Oelke, Jack Butler, and John Holdridge. Election of officers held June 30, 1982.

1983

First major gift to the newly formed foundation given in memory of Heidi Evenson. The Heidi Evenson Memorial Scholarship Fund is established.

1988

Stevens Point Area Foundation receives a $103,000 stock gift. Fund One is created to “feed the poor of Portage County.”

1996

Stevens Point Area Foundation changes name to Community Foundation of Portage County and hires Ann Shannon as first executive director. The foundation manages 12 funds and awards $11,000 in grants.

1997

The Women’s Fund establishes a new fund as part of the Community Foundation.

1998

The Community Fund, Green Circle Fund and Environment Funds are established, growing the foundation to 21 charitable funds. $46,000 distributed to the community.

1999

Seed-A-Future Funds are established, giving donors a new way of giving through smaller gifts over time. Foundation assets reach $1 million with 42 funds under management.

2002

Community Foundation establishes 11 new funds and collects $850,820 in new gifts. $73,000 is awarded to the community through grants from foundation funds.

2003

John Jury named executive director. Foundation assets grow to $3 million with 85 funds under management.

2005

Community Foundation of Portage County receives state and national recognition by meeting the National Standards for Community Foundations Documentation of Compliance.

2007

Community Foundation assets top $6 million with 150+ funds under management.

2008

Terry Rothmann named executive director. Foundation changes its name from the Community Foundation of Portage County to the Community Foundation of Central Wisconsin to help promote our expansion into Waushara County. Part-time staff increases to four.

2009

Gifts exceed $2 million while grants and scholarships exceed $431,000. Field of Interest Funds become Mission Funds, to better promote their growth. The Living Legacy Circle is created to recognize donors who include the foundation in their estate planning.

2010

The foundation offers its first Waushara County grant in from the Geraldine E. Hartford Estate. The C.O.L.L.E.G.E. Scholarship Fund is started and offers scholarships in the 2011 scholarship season.

2011

The foundation grants $986,751 to the community; first-time grants approach $1 million. Helen Godfrey is the first Living Legacy Circle Member to pass away; the gift from her estate is nearly $50,000. Arthur Heinz also dies, bequeathing nearly $4 million to the foundation. The Heinz Living Legacy Circle is created.

2012

The foundation celebrates its 30th anniversary and exceeds $10 million in total assets.

2013

The foundation creates an emergency fund to allow as-needed grants.

2014

The foundation passes another milestone by giving back more than $1 million in a single year.

2016

Erin Andrews named Executive Director. Foundation assets grow to $18 million with 264 funds under management.

2017

The Foundation completes strategic plan and launches online grants, scholarships and donor portal.

2018

Foundation team grows with new positions in Grants & Scholarships and Communications.

2020

Foundation launches new logo and website to enhance services to our community.