Women’s Fund awards $52,800 in grants to local organizations
The Women’s Fund of Portage County gave out 17 grants totaling $52,800 in 2015 to 15 local agencies that develop the full potential of women and children in the Portage County community during its 2015 cycle.
At the end of 2015, Women’s Fund asked the agencies to share the grant results. The following summaries provide a look into how local agencies made an impact in Portage County.
Grants that focus on children
The “Summer Breakfast” program, administered through the Boys & Girls Club of Portage County, provides healthy breakfasts to kids who normally rely on the Free/Reduced Meal Program during the school year.
During the 2015 summer, 1,756 healthy breakfasts were served by the program, nearly double previous service counts. Its survey found that 33 percent of children do not eat breakfast at home. Starting the day with a healthy meal has been shown to have a huge impact on health, behavior and ability to learn.
The “Community Partners” program works with the Stevens Point Area Senior High School (SPASH) to foster independence for special education students. In 2015, 80 percent of special education students in the program maintained regular contact and reported feeling more socially confident.
The “Every Fund!” project through the Central Wisconsin Children’s Museum (CWCM) provides low-cost admission to low-income and special needs children and families.
During 2015, the program served 2,112 low-income individuals, a 30-percent increase from 2014. The impact of attendance includes improved child/caregiver bonding, strategies for continued education at home, improved motor skills, social development, and creative thinking.
“Healthy Smiles for Portage County” is a Portage County Health and Human Services project in schools providing dental screening, sealants, fluoride varnish and education to all second- and sixth-grade students.
In 2015, an estimated 1,263 children took part in the dental screening program, 552 children received dental sealants, 650 children received at least one fluoride varnish treatment, and 1,678 children received oral health education.
“Cribs for Kids” is a Portage County Health and Human Services project which provides safety-approved cribs for families who would not otherwise have the means to provide a safe place for their infants to sleep. In 2015, the Women’s Fund grant provided 43 income-eligible families with a crib, crib sheets, safe sleep sacks and educational material to 700 families of newborns in Portage County.
“Project Fresh Clothes” through the St. Paul’s United Methodist Church provides income-eligible children and area schools with much needed clothing for the upcoming school year. In 2015, the program served 1,195 students.
The “Head Start/Suzuki Pilot Project” through the Aber Suzuki Center at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (UWSP) partnered with the CAP Services Head Start program and the Central Wisconsin Symphony Orchestra (CWSO) to provide music classes for Head Start families in the community. Twelve children and 11 women benefited from the interactive music class that promoted the Suzuki philosophy of positive and nurturing child development.
“No Child’s Wet Behind” is a community diaper drive run by the United Way of Portage County which provides diapers to assist income-eligible families in meeting their family’s basic needs. In 2015, $7,359.27 worth of physical diapers and monetary donations were distributed and approximately 80 children were helped.
The “Unplug, Play and Create” program through the Amherst After School Success Program provides fun and educational games for students to interact with other children after school hours. The Women’s Fund grant purchased a new crafts and games cart, as well as games and materials. About 100 students utilize the craft cart and games on a nightly basis and unplug from technology.
Grants that focus on women
The “Energy Payment Assistance for Single Moms” program through Operation Bootstrap helps stabilize single mothers and their families by assisting with energy bill payment emergencies. Twenty-six mothers with 57 children were stabilized with this project, and none were forced to leave their home.
The “Rent/Mortgage Assistance for Single Moms” program through Operation Bootstrap stabilizes families by allowing them to stay in their homes and offers assistance when such expenses cannot be met.
With climbing shelter costs and often less than adequate incomes, sometimes single mothers need help making their rent or mortgage payment. Seventeen mothers with 42 children were aided by the project.
The “Skills Enhancement Program” through CAP Services provides job training to help working-poor families secure better-paying jobs. In 2015, 52 individuals received services and 43 (83 percent) were female.
“Women’s Fund of Portage County Scholarships” through the UWSP Women’s and Gender Studies Program provides scholarships for student moms who have significant financial need and might not otherwise be able to continue their education without help. The Women’s Fund grant provided scholarships to two mothers each supporting two children under age 18.
The “Meals on Wheels” program helps senior citizens remain in their own homes and live healthier, independent lives by providing them with nutritional meals delivered to their doors. In 2015, the program served 144 women and well over 30,000 meals.
The River Point Oxford House is an affordable drug and alcohol free home for women recovering from substance abuse. Up to six women can live in this rental home that provides a supportive living environment dedicated to the goal of recovery and sustained sobriety. The Women’s Fund grant helped the River Point Oxford House to remain open after a difficult financial year in 2015.
In addition to the above grants, the Women’s Fund also contributed grants to its partner organizations, Saint Michael’s Foundation and the Stevens Point Area YMCA Foundation, to be used to support women and children through projects and initiatives in collaboration with those organizations.
The Women’s Fund will celebrate the allocation of 2016 grants May 6 at its annual spring luncheon at SentryWorld. More information on the luncheon or on giving to Women’s Fund can be obtained at www.womensfundpc.org.
The Women’s Fund of Portage County is a collaborative initiative of the Community Foundation of Central Wisconsin, Saint Michael’s Foundation and the Stevens Point Area YMCA Foundation. The mission of the Women’s Fund is to empower women philanthropists by creating opportunities to fund programs that develop the full potential of women and children.