For the City Times
STEVENS POINT — In 2017, the Women’s Fund of Portage County granted $60,000 to fifteen community projects focusing on benefiting local women and children who need assistance. Below are the organizations who received funding and their impact:
- Stevens Point Child Safety Center “Adopt a Seat” program provides car seats for Portage County children in financial need and educates their parents on how to correctly install and use the seats. In 2017, 34 seats were purchased and given out through the program.
- The “No Child’s Wet Behind” diaper drive through the United Way of Portage County provides diapers to assist income-eligible families in meeting their family’s basic needs. In 2017, $6,176.04 worth of physical diapers and monetary donations were distributed and approximately 120 children were helped.
- The Boys & Girls Club of Portage County provides a healthy, family-style meal through the “Family Dinner Program” to at-risk youth and their parents at no cost to them to encourage a positive bonding experience for the family. In 2017, more than 1,614 community youth and parents were served by the program.
- UWSP Women’s and Gender Studies Program provides “Women’s Fund of Portage County Scholarships” for student mothers who have significant financial need and might not otherwise be able to continue their education without assistance. The women’s fund grant provided scholarships to two mothers supporting a total of three children under the age of 18.
- The Saint Michael’s Foundation “Hope is Building” capital campaign is building a state-of-the-art new breast care center at Saint Michael’s Hospital serving all women and families in Central Wisconsin by October 2018, regardless of their ability to pay. It is estimated that approximately 7,000 women per year will utilize the new breast care center.
- Portage County Health and Human Services offers a “Cribs for Kids” program which gives a safety-approved crib to families who would not otherwise be able to afford one and information on safe sleep practices to families with newborns. In 2017, 42 cribs were purchased and 32 income eligible families were served by the program. Educational material regarding safe sleep practices was distributed to 675 families with newborns.
- Paul’s First United Methodist Church through “Project Fresh Clothes” provides donated clothes and clothing vouchers to income eligible children in need of clothing for the upcoming school year. The program is available to all students who qualify for Project Fresh Start, which is typically 1,000-1,100 students each year.
- A new grantee in 2017 was Evergreen Community Initiatives which offers a Stevens Point Warming Center located at Frame Memorial Presbyterian Church to provide shelter for those in need during the cold Wisconsin winter months. It also helps those in need find permanent housing solutions. In the current 2017 season, the program has assisted 42 individuals with their housing needs.
- The “Skills Enhancement Program” through CAP Services provides job training to help working-poor families secure better-paying jobs. In 2017, 46 individuals received services and 38 (83%) of them were female. The average increase in annual income for those who completed the program in 2017 was $17,532.00 and the average increase in hourly wage was $6.07.
- Operation Bootstrap offers a “Transportation Assistance for Women in Need” program which provides gas vouchers to help women get to work, look for a job, or get their children to daycare or the doctor. In 2017, the program assisted 166 women.
- The “Rent/Mortgage Assistance for Single Mothers” program through Operation Bootstrap provides rent and mortgage assistance as a last resort to stabilize families in need by allowing them to remain in their homes. In 2017, the program assisted 14 women and 33 children.
- The Meals on Wheels program helps provide our community’s senior citizens with nutritious, warm meals to help them remain in their homes, while its volunteers monitor their health and safety during home visits. The program served 166 women and well over 32,000 meals during 2017.
- The “Utility Assistance for Single Mothers” program through Operation Bootstrap provides assistance as a last resort to families in need with energy bill payment emergencies. In 2017, the program assisted 28 women and 59 children.
- Portage County Literacy Council helps Portage County adults develop the basic math and English literacy skills necessary to achieve economic self-sufficiency and community integration. In 2017, the program served 58 learners and supported 42 ongoing and new tutors who logged 1,600 direct tutoring hours.
- The “EveryFund!” program through the Central Wisconsin Children’s Museum provides access to the educational benefits of the museum to under-served and underprivileged community members. In 2017, the program served 1,637 low-income individuals, a 22% increase from 2016.
- The “JA It’s My Future” and “JA Economics for Success” programs through Junior Achievement of WI – Portage and Wood Counties provides classroom content needed for students to develop a strong foundation in personal financial management, inspire entrepreneurial spirit, and prepare students for the workplace. In 2017, the programs reached over 195 middle school students with their financial literacy programming.
- The Salvation Army Hope Center provides shelter to those in need in our community. In 2017, the program helped parents with children gain access to clothing, toys and other children’s supplies to help meet the immediate needs of their children.
Local agencies are encouraged to apply for a 2018 Women’s Fund grant. The deadline for grant applications is February 16, 2018. Visit the Women’s Fund website womensfundpc.org for application and submission instructions.