History of the Foundation

Our History

We’ve been part of the community since 1928, when ten innovative and forward-thinking business leaders established the Oshkosh Area Community Foundation to encourage “public spirited citizens” to invest in the future of Oshkosh. 90 years later, we are sustaining and expanding our founders’ vision to create a legacy that will benefit Winnebago County, Waushara County, Green Lake County and Ripon, now and for generations to come.  It is with great pride that we help our donors turn their charitable investments into projects that add energy and vitality to our community.

We are the stewards of the community’s endowment – a reserve of charitable dollars that we grow through investment and attracting new gifts from generous donors of all means and walks of life.

An excerpt from the Daily Northwestern, from Saturday Evening February 22nd, 1928

Institution of public trust is formed after careful study

After nearly two years of careful study and preparation, announcement is made for the first time today of a new institution of public trust that has been created in this city, which promises to play an important part in the future improvements and betterment of Oshkosh and its citizens.

This institution is to be known as the Oshkosh Foundation, established and designed to insure the proper management of trust funds that may from time to time, be bequeathed to the city for charitable purposes.

Originating from a desire on the part of a number of wealthy and public spirited citizens to leave valuable property to the city of Oshkosh with assurance that it will be wisely and efficiently administered, the Foundation, it is expected, will also serve to encourage other contributions of a similar nature.

Examples of projects in recent history can be seen everywhere throughout the Oshkosh Area ranging from the Leach Amphitheater to the Fox River Bridge Lighting, Pollock Pool, and so much more.

As time went on and the community around us developed, the Oshkosh Foundation transitioned from a private foundation to a community foundation in 1992.  Six years later in 1998 the Women’s Fund was created, followed by the Green Lake County / Ripon Community Foundation in 2000, and the Winneconne Area Community Foundation in 2013.  At the turn of the century the 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.  As a result of this, in 2000 our name changed to the the Oshkosh Area Community Foundation to better reflect the communities that we serve.

Certified for Excellence

In 2016, the Oshkosh Area Community Foundation was reaccredited with National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations®, the highest standards for philanthropic excellence. Our reaccreditation provides assurance that we have sound policies and practices in place. In short, it means we meet the highest standards for local giving.

To receive accreditation with National Standards, the Foundation submitted our policies and procedures to a rigorous review of key areas of community foundation operations, including donor services, investment management, grantmaking and administration.

The National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations® was established in 2000 in cooperation with the Council on Foundations. The Oshkosh Area Community Foundation has met these high standards since it was first accredited in 2005.