Grant Awards – Summer 2015
United Fund awards $24,000 in grants to local causes
Family literacy program making a difference for young readers
BERLIN, Wis. — The day her daughter was married, Judy Munsey received a special gift from the bride-to-be. Embroidered on a handkerchief were the words, “I’ll love your forever, I’ll like you for always, As long as I’m living, your baby I’ll be.”
The phrase is from the book “Love You Forever” which Munsey read to her children over and over when they were young. As a mother and an educator, Munsey is an advocate for early literacy.
“Reading is something joyful. Parents need to make reading a part of the everyday routine with their children. It’s not just a school thing,” she says.
The Berlin Area School District’s Family Literacy program helps make that a reality by building a small library of books for children to keep in their homes in the hopes that the entire family will enjoy them and establish a daily reading habit.
The program is one of 14 to receive support from the Green Lake County Area United Fund, which awarded $24,000 in grants in August. The Fund, which grants money raised through an annual banquet, supports charitable projects and programs in Green Lake County, including Green Lake, Berlin, Princeton and Markesan, that nurture children, strengthen families, build self-sufficiency, promote health and wellness and care for people in crisis.
As 4K-5 Director of Instruction for the Berlin Area School District, Munsey knows that a young child’s ability to identify shapes and letters, and eventually read, often determines how successful they will be in school.
The goal of the Family Literacy program is to increase access to quality literature in the homes of children in the Community Collaborative 4K programs, including St. John Lutheran School, All Saints Catholic School and Berlin Community Daycare & Preschool in Berlin, and ADVOCAP Head Start in Markesan.
About 115 children ages 4 and 5 receive a book every two to three weeks for a total of 15 to take home and read with their family. Students are encouraged to keep their books in a special place in a “library” box provided by the school, Munsey says, and teachers often incorporate the book’s theme into classroom and school activities.
Since implementing the program a few years ago, she says a significant increase has been seen in children’s scores in state testing for print and word skills.
“By providing these books, we’re taking the pressure off of the families who are struggling financially,” she says. “Some parents don’t know how to help their children in school. The most important thing they can do is read to their children.”
United Fund President Susan Thom says it’s rewarding to be able to support programs like Family Literacy and know that the program is enriching the lives of local residents.
“The generosity of the people of Green Lake County is heartwarming,” says Thom. “We are grateful for each and every donation that comes our way. I look forward to our fundraiser in April next year and, with the help of generous donors, being able to have an even larger impact in our region.”
Since 2006, when the United Fund was established with the Green Lake County / Ripon Community Foundation, 160 grants have been awarded totaling nearly $221,000. The organization’s support for the community reaches back to its founding in 1948 as the Berlin Community Chest. To learn more about the United Fund, go to glcaunitedfund.org.
The following grants were awarded during a presentation on Aug. 10 in Berlin:
ADVOCAP, Inc.: $3,000
Support for the Rapid Rehousing Program, which provides rental assistance and access to resources for homeless families to become self-sufficient.
Berlin Area School District: $2,000
Support for family literacy by providing paperback books every two to three weeks to children in the 4K Community Collaborative Programs.
Boys & Girls Club of the Tri-County Area: $2,000
Support for the Triple Play program, which aims to increase club members’ knowledge of healthy habits, encourage more physical activity and strengthen positive relationships.
Christine Ann Domestic Abuse Services, Inc.: $2,500
Support for the Green Lake County Rural Outreach Program, which provides emergency shelter, advocacy, children and teen services, resources and educational outreach.
City of Berlin: $2,650
To help purchase two intubation scopes that will help paramedics quickly establish an airway for patients suffering from acute respiratory distress or cardiac arrest.
City of Princeton: $500
Support for the Christmas Shopping with City Staff program, which provides a shopping experience for 10 children and their families.
Community Options, Inc.: $1,000
Support for repairs and improvements to the child care center playground.
Fox River Industries, Inc.: $1,500
To help purchase iPads for use in educational programs aimed at increasing community employment opportunities for developmentally disabled individuals.
Green Lake County: $2,150
Support for the addition of a K-9 partner for the Sheriff’s Patrol Division to help combat an increase in drug activity in the county.
Green Lake County Health and Human Services: $3,700
Support for the Food Pantry Program.
Special Olympics Wisconsin: $1,000
Support for individuals to attend the State Outdoor Sports Tournament in Waukesha.
Wisconsin Association for Home & Community Education: $2,000
To purchase a set of eight new books for 180 children who might not otherwise have books at home.
Scouting Scholarships: $1,000
Financial assistance for children to participate in programming offered by the Bay Lakes Council Boys Scouts of America and Girl Scouts of the Northwestern Great Lakes, Inc.
The Green Lake County/Ripon Community Foundation benefits charitable organizations in the Green Lake County and Ripon area, including Berlin, Green Lake, Markesan and Princeton. Through charitable giving, the Community Foundation strives to make our communities thrive. An affiliate of the Oshkosh Area Community Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit, donors enjoy maximum tax benefits.