Since 1928, the Oshkosh Area Community Foundation has helped individuals, families, agencies, and other non-profit organizations establish charitable funds that strengthen our communities. The Foundation started with ten innovative, forward-thinking business leaders who established the Foundation as a vehicle to support the future needs of Oshkosh. At the turn of the century the then “Oshkosh Community Foundation” expanded the boundaries of its service area to include all of Winnebago, Waushara, and Green Lake counties, and the city of Ripon. In 2000, our name changed to the Oshkosh Area Community Foundation to better reflect the communities that we serve.
The Oshkosh Area Community Foundation supports Oshkosh and surrounding areas by providing leadership and funding to address current and emerging needs. Most recently, in an effort to reduce homelessness, the Foundation partnered with COTS Inc., an Appleton-based non-profit organization. COTS is a transitional shelter with a goal to end homelessness by helping individuals to transition to self-sufficiency and independent living. This vision became a reality in 2021 when the Oshkosh Area Community Foundation bought a building on Father Carr’s Place 2B campus for COTS to operate the program.
In addition to significant projects like COTS, the Oshkosh Area Community Foundation has helped lay the groundwork for community visioning. After closing its 40-year-old Pollock Pool in 2003, the city of Oshkosh was lacking aquatic recreation options. Catalyzed by a strong partnership with the city and the Foundation, along with high involvement from the community, the Foundation raised $6.9 million in private donations to bring Pollock Community Water Park to life. The facility opened in June 2006, and in the first two months had more than 50,000 visitors. The Foundation was also instrumental in the completion of major projects including the construction of Leach Amphitheater, the convention center renovation, and the revitalization of the downtown hotel.
“We are a forward-thinking Foundation, leading change and bringing people together to address local issues and opportunities. By collaborating and partnering with our valued donors, we strive to make a lasting impact and improve the lives of the residents in the communities we serve,” said Bill Wyman, Oshkosh Area Community President and CEO. Prior to being appointed President and CEO Bill served on the Board of Directors from 1997-2007, contributing effective leadership and collaborative thinking.
It is with great pride that we help our donors turn their charitable investments into projects that add energy and vitality to our communities. As we look to the future and reflect on the past 95 years, the Oshkosh Area Community Foundation is humbled and grateful. We continue the work to sustain and expand our founders’ vision to create a legacy now and for generations to come.