Tag Archives: grants

Foundation gifts boost Wisconsin conservation efforts

Foundation grants of $1,000 to dozens of community efforts in Wisconsin will boost prairie restoration and shoreline revitalization, wildlife festivals and eco celebrations.

The Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin in mid-November awarded $28,370 to 30 applicants through the C.D. Besadny Conservation Grant Program. Projects range from restoring rare and important landscapes to improving understanding of natural resources through mobile technology.

“Using $1,000 or less, each of these 30 grant recipients will help protect critical wildlife habitat, restore native landscapes, connect people to Wisconsin’s natural wonders, and implement many other projects that will have a lasting impact on our natural resources,” said Caitlin Williamson, the foundation’s program and development coordinator.

A sampling of the grant awards:

  • 1000 Islands Environmental Center for Eagle Days on the River in Kaukauna, Outagamie and Calumet counties.
  • City of Superior for International Migratory Bird Day Celebration in Superior and Douglas County.
  • Covenant Harbor for a nature center in Lake Geneva, Walworth County.
  • Driftless Area Land Conservancy for habitat improvement in Dodgeville, Iowa County.
  • Eagle School of Madison for biodiversity surveys in Fitchburg, Dane County.
  • Friends of High Cliff State Park for tree replacement in Sherwood, Calumet County.
  • Friends of Lapham Peak for invasive species removal in Delafield, Waukesha County.
  • Friends of the Bird Sanctuary for the Barrens Festival in Douglas County.
  • Kishwauketoe Nature Conservancy for Kishwauketoe prairie and savanna restoration in Williams Bay, Walworth County.
  • Madison Audubon Society for connecting students with nature in Madison, Dane County.
  • Neighborhood House of Milwaukee for nature center stewardship in Milwaukee County.
  • Northland College for assessing the wildlife on Madeline Island in Ashland County.
  • Upham Woods for shoreline restoration in Wisconsin Dells, Adams, Columbia, Juneau and Sauk counties.
  • UW Arboretum for habitat restoration of Faville Prairie State Natural Area in Madison.
  • Wisconsin Land+Water for Wisconsin Envirothon in Rosholt, Portage County.
  • Allen Centennial Gardens for an Education a la Cart program in Madison, Dane County.

The grants help organizations create new ways to promote conservation in changing times, said Sara Vega, of Allen Centennial Gardens, whose program is intended to teach lessons about pollinators.

Grant recipients must match the award dollar-for-dollar — either with funds or in-kind services. To date, the foundation has awarded more than $475,890.00 to more than 593 projects in every county in Wisconsin since its inception in 1990.

On the Web

Learn about the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin online at wisconservation.org.

United Performing Arts Fund announces 2016-17 affiliate grants

Continue reading United Performing Arts Fund announces 2016-17 affiliate grants

Peace activists to march in Wisconsin

Peace activists, including those with the Wisconsin Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars, will march about 90 miles — from the Dane County jail to Volk Field in Douglas — to protest the military’s deployment of drones.

The Wisconsin Air National Guard is headquartered at Volk. Pilots on the base are trained to remotely operate drones used for reconnaissance, surveillance and targeting.

The march is set to take place Aug. 18–25, with walkers traveling about 12–16 miles a day.

A vigil is planned at the gates of Volk Field on Aug. 25.

For more information, email Joy First at

In other community news …

• PEACE IN THE PARK: Peace Action’s annual Lanterns for Peace and Peace Benefit Concert takes place on Aug. 8 in Milwaukee’s Washington Park. For more, check Annual Lanterns for Peace on Facebook.

• SOCIAL JUSTICE SPEAKER: The First Unitarian Society of Madison hosts national Interfaith Worker Justice executive director Ruby Lopez for a forum on Aug. 4. For more, go to www.fusmadison.org.

• LAKE MICHIGAN MONIES: The Fund for Lake Michigan recently awarded $1.9 million in grants to improve Lake Michigan beaches and natural areas. Plans include the restoration of Cat Island in Green Bay and the revitalization of Simmons Beach in Kenosha. A legal settlement over the construction of the coal-fired Oak Creek power plant requires We Energies, Madison Gas and Electric and WPPI Energy to contribute $4 million annually to the fund. For more, go to www.fundforlakemichigan.org.

• FARMRAISER FUN: Milwaukee-based Victory Garden Initiative holds a FarmRaiser at 4 p.m. on Sept. 19 at Concordia Gardens on Milwaukee’s near west side. The event features music and local restaurants offering takes on VGI fresh produce. For more, go to victorygardeninitiative.org.

• PLANET HOLLYWOOD: The Sierra Club formed an arts and entertainment council to raise awareness and money for the nonprofit’s mission to “explore, enjoy and protect the planet.” “The Sierra Club is about people. Millions of people from all walks of life banding together to protect our planet and our democracy,” said council member Susan Sarandon in a statement. For more, go to sierraclub.org.

• TO D.C. FOR THE DOGS, AND MORE: Animal rights advocates gather outside Washington, D.C. July 30–Aug. 2 for a national conference. Organizers plan a series of lectures, workshops, strategy sessions and a marketplace. For more, go to arconference.org.

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‘Bubbler’ brings hands-on art-making experiences to Madison Public Library

Thanks to a $457,627 grant, Madison Public Library now houses a program that fosters creativity in visitors of all ages through hands-on art, design and technology workshops.

Inventively named “Bubbler,” the program offers opportunities to learn about and create fine art, computer animation, 3-D printing, films, audio recordings and video games. The program is so popular that it draws participants from Milwaukee.

“Bubbler” is part of an effort to reconceive libraries as more than places “where you consume content,” library program coordinator Trent Miller says, as a group of grade school students troop out of the main workroom. They’ve just learned about screen-printing from artist-in-residence Craig Grabhorn, who calls himself “head bubblerarian.”

The Institute of Museum and Library Services awarded the grant that enabled “Bubbler.” Based in Washington, D.C., the agency is a main source of funding for U.S. museums and libraries. The grant allows the library and the University of Wisconsin-Madison to measure and document “Bubbler” over two years, so the program can be replicated elsewhere. 

“We’ve proven ourselves locally and nationally. We know people are learning things, we know it’s interesting,” says Miller, “but there isn’t a lot of qualitative, quantitative research on ‘maker spaces’ — hands-on participatory learning in libraries.”

While many similar institutions are experimenting with maker-spaces, “I think we’re unique in having an artist-in-residence,” Miller says. “Some of the other things we’re doing are also unique.”

For example, there are themed evening events, with drinks and exhibitions. The most recent one featured a live band and celebrated the Twin Peaks TV series.

“Bubbler” also takes its programming into the community, notably to the Dane County Juvenile Detention Center.

“They loved it,” Miller says. 

“Bubbler” has two dedicated spaces in the central library — “Bubbler Headquarters” and a video lab. But the program is more of an experience than a place. 

There was no advance planning to make anything like “Bubbler” a part of the $30-million renovation of the central library building, which reopened in September 2013. 

After the volumes had been removed, but before construction started, the library held “Bookless,” a large art event. “There were over 100 artists, there were rock bands and DJs. We got something like 5,000 people and we had lines around the building,” Miller says.

That event served as an epiphany for planners, who saw it as proof they could “do these wild, creative things,” as Miller puts it. A team was formed and the program was born. But it still needed a name.

“We kept thinking, what is creative and interesting? At that point I just said, ‘How about Bubbler?’ And everyone smiled, and that was it.”

For more, visit madisonbubbler.org.

White House proposes 5-year blueprint for Great Lakes protection

The Obama administration has proposed an updated five-year blueprint for Great Lakes environmental protection that would put greater emphasis on climate change and using science to choose cleanup projects.

Congress has appropriated $1.6 billion since 2009 for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which targets what experts consider the most pressing threats to the freshwater seas: toxic contamination, invasive species, loss of wildlife habitat and runoff that causes noxious algae blooms. The administration is proposing a second phase that would continue work in those areas while addressing concerns about how well the program is meeting its objectives.

“Protecting communities around the Great Lakes and restoring this important ecosystem is a national and binational imperative,” said Gina McCarthy, chief of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which coordinates the program with support from 10 other federal departments.

They have awarded more than 2,100 grants to universities, nonprofits, tribes and government agencies across the eight-state region for projects including removal of sediments laced with toxic chemicals, rebuilding wetlands and uprooting invasive plants. The program also has supported the fight to prevent aggressive Asian carp from reaching the lakes.

A federal task force developed the new installment in consultation with regional stakeholder groups, said Cameron Davis, a senior adviser to McCarthy. A final version is to be adopted by Oct. 1, allowing time for public comment.

In addition to redoubling efforts in the four problem areas, it calls for taking climate change into account in new projects. Wetland plants and trees would be selected for suitability to warmer temperatures. Watershed restorations would be designed to cope with more frequent and intense storms, which could cause heavier erosion and runoff. The task force would produce climate resilience criteria and update it yearly.

Another new feature seeks to strengthen the scientific basis for choosing restoration projects and determining how well they’re meeting the program’s goals. While the Great Lakes initiative is popular with many advocacy groups and government officials in the region, some complain that too little money has gone to research and many projects have lacked a clear scientific rationale.

“For the first time, we’ll articulate a methodical way by which we use the best available science to continue to make the best possible investments,” Davis said.

Allen Burton, director of a University of Michigan program that seeks long-term, systemwide solutions to Great Lakes problems, said the proposal is an improvement but doesn’t go far enough. In addition to using data from existing and completed projects to select new ones, the program should weave scientific measurements into projects from the beginning so their performance can be evaluated along the way, he said.

The plan’s approach is “after-the-fact and project-specific,” Burton said. “You’re not learning as much about what worked and didn’t work. You’re not adapting your process to make it better, because the project’s already done.”

The Great Lakes Advisory Board, a group representing a variety of interests in the region, is mostly pleased with the blueprint, said its chairman, David Ullrich. But he also said the plan relies too much on simply listing the number of projects dealing with particular issues to measure progress.

Todd Ambs, director of the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition, said the new plan “sets the stage to make a strong program even better, including mechanisms to clearly measure the success of these investments.”

Foundation funding for LGBT issues tops $100 million

A review of grants for LGBT issues shows that domestic funding exceeded $100 million in 2012, according to Funders for LGBTQ Issues.

The organization also reported that funding in 2012 was largely stable.

The report, considered the most comprehensive of its kind, captured data on 4,068 grants awarded by 399 foundations “to identify gaps, trends, and opportunities in LGBTQ philanthropy.”

The review found that foundation funding of LGBT issues totaled $121.4 million in 2012, a slight decrease from the $123 million in 2011, which was a record.

Other findings in the survey:

• The top five funders in 2012 were: Anonymous, Ford Foundation, Gill Foundation, Arcus Foundation and the Evelyn and Walter Haas Jr. Fund, which collectively provided 45 percent of all LGBTQ funding for the year.

• Corporate funders increased grantmaking by 26 percent; public funders increased grantmaking by 20 percent.

• Youth were the top funded sub-population in the United States, receiving $20.4 million in funding.

• 25 percent of recipient organizations in the U.S. were not exclusively LGBTQ-focused, the other 75 percent were.

• New York received $11.7 million, the most local and statewide funding of any state.

• International funding for LGBTQ issues totaled $20.2 million in 2012, down from its record high of $27 million in 2011.

• Refugees, asylees and migrants were the top funded sub-population for international funding, receiving $3.4 million.

• Of funding devoted to international LGBTQ issues, 43 percent (or $8.8 million) went to organizations based in the U.S. The second-most funded region was Sub-Saharan Africa, which secured $3.4 million.

“This report documents how funders are responding to a range of issues and needs in LGBT communities, from marriage equality and gender identity rights to safe schools and HIV/AIDS,” Ben Francisco Maulbeck, president of Funders for LGBTQ Issues, said in a news release. “It also helps us identify gaps and serves as a barometer for our progress toward engaging more funders in LGBTQ issues.”  

On the Web …


Regional briefs: News roundup from Wisconsin and beyond

Rob Zerban, the Democrat who lost to U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan in last year’s election, is mounting a new challenge for 2014.

Zerban made his announcement official at a rally in Kenosha a week after Democrat Amar Kaleka, 35, announced his interest in seeking the seat.

The 45-year-old Zerban is a former Kenosha County Board supervisor who used to run two small businesses.

Zerban says he supports green technology, immigration reform and same-sex marriage.

“People in our neighborhoods don’t care first about being a Republican or Democrat,” the candidate said. “We don’t care about which party is up and which party is down. We care that our schools are strong, that we have access to quality, affordable health care, that our communities are safe and our drinking water is clean and our air is breathable. We care that people get treated fairly, no matter who they love, and we care that women and men get treated the same. Most importantly, we want to know that there are jobs out there for our kids when they finish high school or college or technical school — and that if someone in our family loses their job, that they can find another one.”

Milwaukee Common Council asks to limit money in politics

The Milwaukee Common Council on Nov. 5 unanimously approved a resolution to place on the Nov. 19 ballot a citizens’ advisory referendum limiting money in politics. The referendum asks the public whether the U.S. Constitution should be amended to establish that money is not speech and therefore legislation may limit political contribution amounts and require the identification of contributors. Sixteen states have passed resolutions asking for such an amendment. A total of 34 are needed.

In other regional news …

• A Janesville, Wis., man was arrested early Oct. 26 for allegedly assaulting two men speaking Hebrew in the 200 block of North Henry Street in Madison. A Madison Police Department report said 23-year-old Dylan T. Grall punched the men after cursing at them and demanding they speak English. Grall thought the men were speaking Spanish. He faces two charges of battery with a hate-crime enhancer. One victim, age 22, is from Skokie, Ill., and the other victim, age 23, is from Milwaukee.

• More than $1.9 billion in grants were funded through the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program for fiscal 2013. About $1.16 billion was awarded under Part B to be used for home and community-based services, AIDS Drug Assistance Program assistance and other direct services. Wisconsin received $8,662,447 for Part B. Another $178 million was awarded nationwide to provide core medical and support services to individuals living with HIV/AIDS under Part C of the program. In Wisconsin, awards included: $469,713 to Milwaukee Health Services; $531,980 to University of Wisconsin System; $485,624 to AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin; $392,884 to 16th Street Community Health Center.

• Two men recently filed a complaint with the state of Illinois against a Chicago taxicab company. Steven White of West Hollywood, Calif., and Matthew McCrea of Chicago say they kissed during a ride in May. They claim the driver for Sun Taxi turned the interior lights on and off, telling them, “This is public transportation.” The driver then ordered them out, they claimed.

— WiG and AP reports

HUD announces grants for HIV/AIDS programs

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has announced $32 million in grant awards to assist more than 1,300 extremely low-income persons and families living with HIV/AIDS annually.

The grant awards, according to HUD, will provide these households with a stable living environment. In addition the grant programs will provide access to the needed supportive services in assisting with job readiness services and employment training.

The funding is through HUD’s Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS Program.

“These grants will provide our local partners with crucial funding that is necessary to provide individuals and families living with HIV/AIDS a place to call home,” stated Housing Secretary Shaun Donovan. “The comfort of knowing that you have a roof over your head makes a huge difference in the well-being of families and gives hope to those who might otherwise end up living on the streets.”

Ninety percent of HOPWA funds are distributed by formula to cities and states based on the number of AIDS cases reported to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

HUD’s formula grants are managed by 138 local and state jurisdictions, which coordinate AIDS housing efforts with other HUD and community resources. 

Overall, these resources assist more than 60,000 households annually to provide stable housing and reduced risks of homelessness for those living with HIV and other challenges.

In Wisconsin, the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin was awarded a HOPWA permanent supportive housing renewal grant of $1,369,420 to continue providing tenant-based rental assistance and supportive services throughout the state. ARCW, according to HUD, will continue to partner with the Wisconsin Department of Health and Human Services on supportive services.

HUD announces 18 grants for housing for people with HIV/AIDS programs

More than 1,200 low-income people living with HIV/AIDS will continue to receive permanent housing as a result of nearly $33 million in grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The funding announced March 29 is offered through HUD’s Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS program and will renew 18 local programs in 17 states, including Wisconsin.

“These grants offer housing, vital healthcare and hope to hundreds of households that combine to literally save lives,” said HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan. “Having stable housing can make all the difference to the health of someone living with HIV/AIDS who might otherwise be struggling to live on our streets.”

In Wisconsin, HUD announced a $1,310,577 grant to the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin in Milwaukee.

A HUD release said the money for ARC of Wisconsin would support “providing tenant-based rental assistance and supportive housing assistance to 61 chronically homeless households living with HIV/AIDS and their families across the state of Wisconsin. A combination of supportive services will compliment the housing services through HIV/AIDS case management, access to medical care, substance abuse treatment, and employment referral.”

Donovan said the grants also support the Obama administration’s Opening Doors program, a campaign to prevent homelessness.

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State Dept. weighing LGBT support in grant applications

The U.S. State Department has announced that as it evaluates grant applications and proposals it will weigh potential impact on women and minority populations, including LGBT people.

The State Department’s Bureau for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor will require that program applications “address the human rights concerns of these groups.”

Also, a March 15 announcement said, the bureau will assign weighted criteria to how proposals support and empower women, racial and ethnic minorities, religious minorities, persons with disabilities and LGBT people.

The announcement came several months after Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton delivered a landmark UN speech saying that gay rights are human rights.

Clinton received a standing ovation in Geneva in December after delivering the 30-minute address.

She said: “It is violation of human rights when people are beaten or killed because of their sexual orientation, or because they do not conform to cultural norms about how men and women should look or behave.  It is a violation of human rights when governments declare it illegal to be gay, or allow those who harm gay people to go unpunished.  It is a violation of human rights when lesbian or transgendered women are subjected to so-called corrective rape, or forcibly subjected to hormone treatments, or when people are murdered after public calls for violence toward gays, or when they are forced to flee their nations and seek asylum in other lands to save their lives. And it is a violation of human rights when life-saving care is withheld from people because they are gay, or equal access to justice is denied to people because they are gay, or public spaces are out of bounds to people because they are gay.  No matter what we look like, where we come from, or who we are, we are all equally entitled to our human rights and dignity.”

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