Venture Grants

Since 1987, more than $1,000,000 has been allocated by Great Rivers United Way to non-profit organizations throughout the Coulee Region through Venture Grants.

Venture Grants are one-time, non-renewable funding opportunities available to any 501c3 not-for-profit health and human services agency in our seven-county service region. Funds are typically spent on tangible items or services (like a staff training) that enable an agency to better serve its clients.

70th Anniversary Venture Grants — 2019
In honor of its 70th Anniversary (1949-2019), Great Rivers United Way made $15,000 in Venture Grant funding available in May 2019. Programs applying for this one-time Venture Grant cycle were required to target one or more of the objectives in United Way’s new strategic plan. The following organizations were awarded funds…

Agency Funding Project Media Coverage
Brighter Tomorrows
$2,000 Survivors Fund
Victims of domestic violence and sexual assault often leave unsafe situations with little to no resources. Brighter Tomorrows purchased hygiene items, gas cards, and store vouchers that will help victims get back on their feet and connected to the services they need, supporting Strategic Objectives #2 and #3.
 
Coulee Council on Addictions
$750 Outdoor Recovery Program
Many in recovery simply don’t know where to start when discovering a new life free of alcohol and drugs. The Outdoor Recovery Program supports a healthy and socially-connected community (Strategic Objective #3) because it helps participants build healthy relationships and develop healthy coping skills, thus increasing the effectiveness of other recovery services.
 
WAFER Food Pantry
$1,549 Floor Cleaner
WAFER staff were using buckets, mops, and good ‘ol fashioned elbow grease to keep their 7,000 sq. ft.+ facility clean. This floor cleans means a safer and more dignified food pantry experience for hundreds of WAFER clients each week. WAFER works daily to stabilize household economic situations (Strategic Objective #2), and access to a variety of foods, including fresh produce from a clean facility, supports a healthy community (Strategic Objective #3).
 
Boys & Girls Club of Sparta
$983 Stride Academy
Stride Academy is a computer-based tutorial program that diagnoses strengths and skills gaps on Common Core and state standardized testing, adjusting content according to individual learning needs. This grant will allow the Club to purchase additional Chromebook tablets so even more members can participate in the program. Stride Academy positively impacts our youngest community members (Strategic Objective #1) through academic supports.
 
PATCH Coulee Region
$1,000 Teen Educators
PATCH Coulee Region is an innovative, youth-driven program working to improve adolescent health and well-being. Their Venture Grant will provide stipends for Teen Educators who participate in the program’s training and enrichment process, as economic status is a barrier. By paying Teen Educators for their time and expertise, that barrier is reduced, and further — participation helps young community members become healthy, connected, and productive adults (Strategic Objective #1).
 
New Horizons Shelter & Outreach Centers
$4,360 “Stewards of Children” training
Child sexual abuse is likely the most prevalent health problem children face, with the most serious array of consequences. In fact, 1 in 10 children will experience sexual abuse before their 18th birthday. That is why New Horizons is bringing the “Stewards of Children” child sexual abuse prevention training to La Crosse and Trempealeau counties. “Stewards of Children” will positively impact our youngest community members (Strategic Objective #1) by empowering adults to prevent child sexual abuse. Additionally, the training will support a healthy and socially-connected community (Strategic Objective #2) by increasing collaborations and resources that help protect children.
 
Boys & Girls Club of Tomah
$1,000 “Zen Den”
The organization’s new Zen Den is a dedicated space in which to experience emotions. Whether it be sadness, anger, or anxiety – providing youth with a quiet space will better allow them to gain control and calm down. The Zen Den includes various calming tools such as weighted blankets, tactile toys, and comfy seating. The Zen Den will positively impact our youngest community members (Strategic Objective #1) through social-emotional supports, ultimately resulting in a healthier and more socially-connected community (Strategic Objective #3) of adults.
 
Western Dairyland Economic Opportunity Council
$1,500 “Birthday Box” & “Weekend Food 4 Kids” projects  
Western Dairyland’s Venture Grant will support two projects — celebratory birthday boxes (because all children deserve a special day) and family-sized food packages — coordinated by its Retired & Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP). Both projects help stabilize household economic situations (Strategic Objective #2) and positively impact our youngest community members (Strategic Objective #1). Additionally, there are health and connectedness outcomes (Strategic Objective #3) for both the recipients and the senior volunteers.
 
La Crosse Area Veterans Mentor Program
$1,858 Veterans Community Care Coordination
LAVMP’s Venture Grant enabled them to purchase Carey Guides – a tool widely used to change offender behavior – and a tablet computer, both of which will be used by the organization’s Community Care Coordinator, as that person works with incarcerated veterans in a jail setting. LAVMP supports a healthy socially-connected community (Strategic Objective #3) by helping veterans and their families identify and achieve their goals by providing support and connecting them with community resources.

If you have questions about Venture Grants, please contact Liz Evans, Community Impact Director, at (608) 796-1400 or levans@gruw.org.

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