CLH: Major Projects Grant Cycle

May 8, 2023 | News & Events

Foundation CEO Jenny Riggenbach was recently joined by Marlee Samuels (CFCWI Director of Donor Services & Programs) and Shelly Mondeik (President at Mid-State Technical College) to discuss the Major Projects Grant Cycle. Every year, the application process for the Major Projects Grant Cycle is open from May 15 to June 15. The winning grant receives $25,000-$50,000 to support the growth and development of one community project that makes a significant impact in Portage and/or Waushara counties.

As we reflect on our learning journey, we are beginning to consider how we formally use our values to filter our decisions. We recognize that there are no shortages of great projects and that we must ensure that the projects we fund align with our values.

  • Generosity. Is there a right-size project for our work to contribute to?
  • Integrity. Are we funding projects and organizations that build trust in the community?
  • Collaboration. How does this project bring people and/or organizations together?
  • Inclusivity: Does this project build a sense of belonging?  What populations were considered when designing the project? 
  • Sustainability: Are we supporting projects with a plan to complete project in a reasonable time? Will this project be able to continue into the future?

In the conversation, Jenny, Marlee, and Shelly delved deeper into several of these values. Demonstrating collaboration is crucial in the grant application process. While the Foundation does not have a specific definition of collaboration, applicants are encouraged to think about who is at their table making decisions. Collaboration is not just about financial resources but also learning from others in the community or from examples elsewhere in the world.

We explored how inclusivity showed up in past Major Projects Grants. Shelly discussed the importance of being proactive about creating a sense of belonging, from the accessibility of courses to how the AMETA environment is designed to feel more welcoming to people of all backgrounds. Marlee shared how Lake Pacawa Park intentionally made every aspect of the project accessible to people of all abilities, from walkways to playgrounds to parking.

Lake Pacawa Park Ribbon Cutting

The Foundation recognized that their top donation of $50,000 might appear modest in comparison to contributions from other donors, which led to some questions on the extent of their impact on the project. Shelly expressed her gratitude for the Foundation’s generosity and explained that their partnership allowed AMETA to demonstrate community support, attract additional donors, and foster long-term relationships that extended beyond the grant funding. Marlee shared that the Foundation’s relationship with a project continues after a check is issued. Major project grant recipients have quarterly check-ins to share progress and discuss how the Foundation can help support their work, whether it is attending events, building new connections, or collaborating in another way.

The Foundation does not have a standard for where applicants are in their project process, but it is important to note that the grant cycle is for projects that will come to fruition and be sustainable. We are committed to funding projects that demonstrate integrity by building a stronger Central Wisconsin community now and into the future.

The Major Projects Grant cycle runs once a year and is not for operational or programmatic support. Those interested in operational or programmatic support are encouraged to apply instead to our fall and spring grantmaking cycles.

We invite you to keep the conversation going and take action with us:

  • REGISTER for our upcoming community lunch hour with the Arts and Culture Fund.
  • CONTACT Marlee with any questions or feedback on your potential application
  • VISIT our Major Projects Grant website for guidelines and timelines
  • LEARN more about past Major Projects grantees AMETA Center and Lake Pacawa Park.
  • REVIEW our video recording where Marlee, Jenny, and Shelly discuss the Major Grant Project Cycle in more depth
  • APPLY for the Major Projects Grant from May 15-June 15!
  • GIVE to the Community Foundation of Central Wisconsin to support the work today and into the future

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