Basic Needs Grants Top $1 Million

School-based mental health services and self-sufficiency coaching were among six new grants awarded to more than 17 nonprofits in the Oshkosh area to fight poverty. The grants total $1,037,400 – almost twice the highest amount awarded in any year during the Basic Needs Giving Partnership grantmaking program’s 9-year history at the Oshkosh Area Community Foundation.

The Basic Needs Giving Partnership is supported by the U.S. Venture Fund for Basic Needs within the Oshkosh Area Community Foundation, the J.J. Keller Foundation, and other community partners. Proceeds from the U.S. Venture Open help fund the U.S. Venture Fund for Basic Needs. The golf outing raised $3.6 million in 2016, and this year’s event scheduled for August 9th may set another record!

The Rise Up Program will receive $300,000 over three years. The program will support the expansion of emotional wellness screening provided by Samaritan Counseling and site-based mental health services provided by Catalpa Health to select schools within the Oshkosh Area School District (OASD). Matt Kaemmerer, Director of Pupil Services, says it “will create a streamlined model at both high schools where students who are identified as being in need of support through the screening process can access the clinical services they need right at school.”

“The evidence showing the connection between mental illness and educational achievement as well as poverty is everywhere, and we are hoping that the Rise Up program will help close the gap in mental health services for area youth,” says Amy Putzer, Director of Programs for the Oshkosh Area Community Foundation.

The suicide rates among Wisconsin’s youth are 30 percent higher than the national average. Findings that were self-reported by OASD students show that 19% of high school students and 20% of middle school students considered suicide in the past 12 months.

Meanwhile, adults residing in the OASD will benefit from increased access to Hub coaching, thanks for a $285,000 grant over three years. The Hub is a network of over 25 local organizations working together to wrap services around people in need to help them get ahead and stay ahead.

Hub coaches help participants who are motivated to improve their lives to set and achieve goals and access multiple supportive services in the community.

Other grants were awarded to:

Integrated School to Work Program

A planning grant will support the research and piloting of a new School2Work 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. This integrative approach will have students building real-world skills needed to be employed immediately upon graduation in a job that pays a living wage. Collaborators are the Oshkosh Area School District, Oshkosh Chamber Foundation, and Fox Valley Technical College ($25,000 for one year).

Reader’s Cafe Student Literacy Interventions

Reader’s Cafe programs will increase reading confidence, fluency, and proficiency for Boy’s & Girl’s Club of Oshkosh members who are experiencing academic challenges with reading. Low literacy skills will be improved through tutoring, readers theaters, choral reading, and book clubs. Collaborators are the Winnebago County Literacy Council and Boys & Girls Club of Oshkosh ($150,000 over three years).

Recovery House for Men

A third sober living house will open for men who no longer require the strict rules that are enforced in Mahalo, a current men’s house, yet who still require some support on their journey of recovery from alcohol or drug addiction. Collaborators are STEP Industries, The Mooring Programs, and Nova Counseling ($170,000 over three years).

Vocational LEARNing Center

A Vocational Learning Center located at Apricity (formerly STEP Industries) and Fox Valley Technical College ($95,000 over three years).

Fresh Start Regional Hunger Coalition

Several area pantries will come together 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 are Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin, St. Joseph Food Program, Salvation Army Fox Cities, and the Oshkosh Area Community Pantry ($24,800 for one year with $12,400 from the Oshkosh Area Community Foundation and $12,400 from the Community Foundation of the Fox Valley Region).

About Basic Needs Giving Partnership

The Basic Needs Giving Partnership funds innovative solutions to address the root causes of poverty in northeast Wisconsin and is funded by the U.S. Venture Open and J.J. Keller Foundation. The U.S. Venture Open is one of the nation’s single largest one-day charitable events with $1,100 participants representing more than 500 partners. More than $33 million has been raised since its inception in 1986. U.S. Venture pays all event expenses, ensuring 100% of contributions go directly to the U.S. Venture Fund for Basic Needs. The Basic Needs Giving Partnership collaborators including the: U.S. Venture, J.J. Keller Foundation, Community Foundation of the Fox Valley Region, Greater Green Bay Community Foundation, and Oshkosh Area Community Foundation.

Any questions or for more information, please contact Amy Putzer at [email protected]

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