October 6, 2022

Spotlight on Field of Interest Grants

by Tom Linfield

Tom Linfield, VP of Community Impact

MCF stewards more than 50 Field of Interest funds and awards nearly $1 million in grants each year. We use our deep knowledge of the community to identify and select projects in each focus area that will have strengthen programs, make projects accessible to the public, engage community members, and increase impact.

Field of Interest funds allow donors and fundholders to pool their support around a broad area of interest, rather than a specific project or organization. MCF has established eight Field of Interest funds focused on arts and culture, basic needs/social services, children and youth, community development, the environment, the elderly, learning, and nonprofit capacity building.

Donors can add or transfer funds to any of these eight funds. Staff then explore organizations and programs that are a good fit for the fund parameters. Fundholders also can establish a fund focused on any cause or area they wish to support.

Grants awarded this year so far include:

Student painting a mural for Dane Arts Mural Arts project

Dane Arts Mural Arts

$15,000 from The Neighborhoods Fund and the Betty Jane Perego Fund for Multicultural Youth Programs to provide training for local Latinx artists in how to produce community-engagement public art, and then pair them with young Latinx youth for hands-on experience creating murals while also helping them develop their portfolios and learn important skills for job readiness.

Capital City Theatre

$40,000 from the Great Performance Fund for Theater at Overture to produce Shining in Misery, a musical that will be having its world premiere in Madison as part of the new World Premiere Wisconsin festival.

Madison Children's Museum

$20,000 from the Ecumenical Fund for Nutrition for its Pay What You Can Café. The Café will provide between 14,000 and 20,000 low- or no-cost meals to children and their families. Estimates also show that 40% of the food in the U.S. is wasted before it reaches a grocery store. The Museum is partnering with Little John’s to reduce this waste by turning it into healthy meals. Doing this, the café is expected to keep 1.5 tons of food out of the landfill.

Four Seasons Theatre Company production of All is Calm

Four Seasons Theatre Company

$30,000 from the Great Performance Fund for Theater at Overture to support the 2022-2023 season, which will include performances of All is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914, and Makin’ Cake with Dasha Kelly Hamilton.

Opera for the Young

$10,000 from the Great Performance Fund for Theater at Overture for the production of Cinderella in Overture’s Promenade Hall. This performance is designed to include audience participation by projecting the lyrics and teaching the audience the chorus music before the performance begins.

TNW Ensemble Theater

$15,800 combined grant from the Charles Bert Fund for the Elderly and the Walker (William E. and Edna B.) Fund for the Elderly for its STOP TIME on the Road program, which brings participatory workshops to memory care units across the city, providing social connection and stimulation for older adults experiencing dementia and Alzheimer’s and and from and the Great Performance Fund for Theater at Overture to support the production of Sketchy Ideas, a multi-disciplinary work that combines theater with visual arts and music.

Girl looking at books at a Madison Reading Project book give away

Madison Reading Project

$7,000 from the Betty Jane Perego Fund for Multicultural Youth Programs for the Multilingual Scholars program, which provides books to organizations that serve a high percentage of dual-language learning children and families.

Today Not Tomorrow

$23,000 from the Ecumenical Fund for the Homeless and the Ecumenical Fund for Nutrition to extend the Market hosted at the East Madison Community Center through the end of the growing season in November. The Market provides free fresh produce, bakery items, a light lunch table, and a “tasting” section introducing new foods to the homeless mothers and their children who Today Not Tomorrow assists.

Close up photo of two sets of hands clasped

Urban Triage

$25,000 from the Ecumenical Fund for the Homeless for their Unhoused Neighbors Initiative, which provides a team of specialists trained in trauma-informed care and transformative engagement to work with people experiencing homelessness in Madison. In conjunction with other community members, Urban Triage provides job training, hot meals, and a range of other support and advocacy services at sites across the city.

Would a Field of Interest fund fit your giving goals?

If you would like to learn more about MCF’s Field of Interest funds, or about establishing a named Field of Interest fund of your own, we would be happy to help you. Call us at 608-272-1763.

You also can make a gift to one of MCF’s funds here.

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