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Community Foundation Of Greater South Wood County Inc

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478 E Grand Avenue Wisconsin Rapids WI 54494 USA


We promote philanthropy in furtherance of building community, with a vision of a community that works well for all people, guided by values of equity, inclusion and opportunity. Incourage is a resident-centered, values-led, place-based philanthropic organization.


The foundation promotes collective and strategic philanthropy principally in the south wood county area in central wisconsin. This rural area includes nine municipalities located in parts of two counties, with a combined population of about 45,000. In 2014, 253 grants were approved (excluding agency grants subject to fas 136) benefitting 145 tax-exempt organizations. Also in 2014, 210 scholarships were approved benefitting 129 recipients. The foundation also has several funds that benefit the community by directly supporting activities such as a drug court, city band concerts, various community capital campaigns, etc. The foundation's grantmaking strategies are aligned with the values, long-term mission, vision and related programs noted in lines 1, 4b, 4c and 4d.

the foundation is known nationally for directly organizing and developing programs and leading community initiatives that leverage resources and empower people in ways that create connected strategies, with the intent to advance opportunities for all. The foundation promotes building social capital and leveraging community resources in support of a resilient and thriving community that embraces and supports all people. The foundation supports positive community change by promoting adaptive leadership skills, relationship building, collaboration, convening, advocacy, a shared learning environment and the effective exchange of relevant information. Programs led by the foundation include adaptive leadership programs, teen leadership programs, educational workshops and training opportunities (organizational, leadership and program development; collaboration and community engagement; evaluation effectiveness, etc. ), community resources, public speakers, a consultant/facilitator database for community organizations, promoting civility, speakyourpeaceswc. Org, promoting civic engagement, etc.

in pursuit of a long-term strategy of creating a cohesive, integrated social services and workforce development system that fosters new solutions for economic growth, in october of 2008 the foundation was selected as one of the first rural organizations nationwide chosen by the national fund for workforce solutions (nfws) to lead a project site through its implementation partner jobs for the future, inc. The local nfws initiative, workforce central, is developing a dual-customer, sector-based approach for advancing low-skilled, low-wage workers into jobs with family sustaining wages. Enhancing integration of social services and mobilization of community organizations is a core element of this philanthropic-led strategy. (continued on schedule o)some community collaboration efforts resulting from this work include a regional economic growth initiative, a business and education collaborative and other growing collaborations between groups that may not have traditionally worked closely together to solve issues. Also in 2008, the foundation began participating in the john s. And james l. Knight foundation's community information challenge, researching where and how local residents get their information and assessing their ability to access the information they need in order to lead better informed lives. Addressing issues of digital access and digital literacy are integral to this project. In late 2011, the foundation engaged in dialogue with area residents focused on challenges facing the community, community strengths, vision for the future and interest in engaging with the foundation's work. In 2012, this dialogue led to sponsoring the largest community-wide survey in the history of the south wood county area, with over 4,100 residents responding. The four main priorities identified by the community through the survey were, a strong economy, opportunities for young adults and families, openness to new ideas and changes, and a focus on nature and recreation of the area. The foundation is committed to helping the community coordinate efforts focused on community priorities and a shared vision for future. The connectedness and integration of a variety of grants, programs and initiatives allows for a "community specific" framework through which collective resources can achieve greater impact in the form of systems change and community improvement. Examples include establishing an annual community picnic as an open and inclusive setting for fostering connections among neighbors, and promoting collaboration between local businesses and organizations (attendance was over 3,500 in 2014); and supporting research into local data to produce vital signs reports and then to host critical community conversations for informing strategy and action with timely, accurate and relevant data (see incouragecf. Org/learn/vital-signs).

the foundation's commitment to resident-centered decision making for south wood county's future is symbolized by the planned redevelopment of the former daily tribune building, which the foundation purchased through its supporting organization, community property, inc. In december of 2012. The foundation is utilizing a facilitated, resident-centered planning process with the intent that the community will determine the future uses of this historic local property on the wisconsin river. Phase one of the decision making process - idea sharing - began in october 2013 and concluded in early 2014 and consisted of a four-part public meeting series where everyone in the community was invited to share their ideas for the future of the space, while also encouraging residents to shift their thinking from "me" to "we". Phase two consisted of seven public meetings in 2014 whereby the community was invited to participate in activities related to the design of the facility. Over 750 community members worked together to prioritize end use ideas that would celebrate local assets, connect residents, and act as a catalyst for future downtown development. To learn more, visit incouragecf. Org/lead/tribune-buildingthe foundation is committed to learn, reflect and act on what it means to be an authentically resident-centered, values-led, place-based investment and philanthropic organization. Recognizing that grants alone cannot supply the capital needs of an innovative, emerging economy the foundation has committed to align and leverage all of its capitals, including financial and non-financial, to advance its vision. The foundation operates with a strategy that adds local investment of financial assets (sometimes referred to as mission or impact investing) to its ongoing proactive research, resident engagement, strategic grant-making, capacity building and public-private partnerships in furtherance of its vision of a community that works well for all people.

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