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Crawford County Community Fund announces 2019 grants
CCCF 2019 grant awards
CRAWFORD COUNTY COMMUNITY FUND awarded a total of $9,000 in their 2019 grant cycle. On hand to receive the awards on Tuesday, Dec. 17, were, front from left, Emil and Camille Smith of Crawford Communications Cooperative and Carol Abrahamzon, Executive Director of the Mississippi Valley Conservancy; back from left, Huey Kinzie of Craw-ford Communications Cooperative, Joel Greiner of the Village of DeSoto, Mary Antoine of the Prairie du Chien Historical Society, Jan Strummer of Couleecap, Inc., Da

CRAWFORD COUNTY - Lori Bekkum and Craig Anderson, of the Crawford County Community Fund Board (CCCF), announced the 2019 grant awards. The announcement was made at the Crawford County Board meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 17.

The CCCF board received 14 applications for 2019 funding, and has funded nine of them for a total grant amount of $9,000. In 2018 they received 13 applications, and funded nine for a total amount of $7,500.

The projects funded in 2019 include:

•Wauzeka-Steuben School District for improvements to equipment in the Hornet Café. The grant was for $1,500. District Administrator Dave Alexander was present to receive the award. “We will put this grant to good use to benefit our children,” Alexander said.

• Mississippi Valley Conservancy for improvements to its Cardinal Bluff facility in DeSoto for kiosks, signage, trail improvements, and a youth education program The grant was for $1,000. MVC Executive Director Carol Abrahamzon was on hand to receive the award, and said that “the grant will be used for the benefit of the community of DeSoto and for the DeSoto School District’s students.”

• Southwest Technical College for the ‘Fuel a Charger’ program which helps students with gas cards and car repairs to enhance student retention and graduation rates. The grant was for $1,000. Annual Giving & Donor Relations Coordinator Gina Udelhoven was on hand to receive the award. “We have lots of students who travel quite some distance to our campus who are economically disadvantaged, and helping them with the cost of commuting or car repairs is an important way we can support those students in obtaining an education to improve their lives,” Udelhoven said.

• Prairie du Chien Historical Society’s ‘Help Hold Up the Fort’ fundraising effort, which will help to pay for restoration of pillars on the Fort Crawford Hospital veranda. The grant is for $1,000. Mary Antoine was present to accept the grant, and said “this grant will support the Prairie du Chien Historical Society, and will literally support a structure! We thank the county board for your ongoing support, and remind you that students receive free admission.”

• The Village of DeSoto for a ‘Downtown Enhancement Project,’ that aims to improve buildings and the look of the DeSoto downtown on lower Main Street. The grant was for $500. Village president Joe Greiner was on hand to receive the award, and said “greetings from the northwest gateway to Crawford County! Our village is economically depressed, and this eats away at our heart and soul. This grant will help bring some light to our downtown and some brightness to our hearts.”

• Couleecap, Inc. for their ‘Homelessness Prevention Program,’ which works “beyond the food pantry” to help families, and also provides addiction prevention services. The award was for $1,000. Jan Strummer was there to receive the award on behalf of Couleecap, and said “don’t forget that the ‘cap’ in ‘Couleecap’ stands for ‘community action program.”

• The Village of Gays Mills received a grant for a zero percent interest revolving tree loan for private property owners in the village. The grant was for $1,000. Village Forester Cindy Kohles was not able to be present to receive the award, but village resident Craig Anderson explained that “with all the flooding we’ve had in recent years, as well as infestations of Emerald Ash Borer, there are a lot of hazard trees in and around the village. The village has taken steps to remove trees on village property, but there are private property owners with trees that need to be removed that can’t afford to do so – this grant will help with that.”

• North Crawford School District received a grant for improvements to their kitchen equipment. The award was for $1000. Food Service Director Jen Kapinus and Foodservice Program worker Janet Pittsley were on hand to receive the award. “North Crawford has a lot of students that receive free or reduced fee lunches, and we have launched innovative new programs to deliver breakfast into classrooms, and provide elementary students with fruit and vegetable snacks. This grant will allow us to upgrade our equipment so we can deliver healthier options to our students.”

• Crawford County Communications Co-op received a grant to help pay for their survey about internet needs in the county. The grant was for $1,000. Camille and Emil Smith were on hand to receive the award, and said “there are 10,000 Crawford County residents with no broadband internet service in areas not served by Richland Grant Telephone Cooperative or in Prairie du Chien. This grant will help us to pay to complete our survey, which is an instrumental part of us pursuing internet service for underserved county residents. Internet service is crucial for our county to be economically competitive, and to attract young people back to our county.”

Foundation history

The Community Foundation was begun in 2008 as a permanent endowment for the benefit of the county. Efforts were kick started when a $25,000 matching grant was provided to the county to help fund community development projects. The foundation’s website describes their mission as:

A Community Fund allows individuals and groups to contribute time and money toward the betterment of a specific community. Each community fund has a volunteer advisory board comprised of local members who encourage the growth of the fund and oversee distributions in the form of grants. These grants are awarded to community projects and programs based on the changing needs of that community. The Community Foundation of Southern Wisconsin oversees 16 community funds in its nine-county service area.

“This program is a ‘for us, by us’ program,” CCCF board chairman Lori Bekkum said. “This is our tenth year of giving these grants, and with the support of the community, we have been able to increase our giving every year.”

Donations to the Crawford County Community Foundation are welcome at any time of the year. All gifts are tax deductible. Interested donors can mail a check to: Crawford County Community Fund, P.O. Box 13, Seneca, WI 54654.