Community Impact Grants

Madison Community Foundation Awards $610,000 to Dane County Nonprofits

In January 2020, Madison Community Foundation announced $610,000 in grants to 22 nonprofits throughout the Madison area, the result of its fall 2019 grantmaking. The grants address opportunities and support organizations in five focus areas: learning, community development, arts and culture, environment, and organizational capacity building.

The grants, made primarily from MCF’s Community Impact fund, bring the total awarded by MCF in 2019 to $2.1 million – all made possible by donors who support MCF.

Several of this year’s grants focused on diversity and inclusion, as nonprofits work to make sure they are serving the needs of all of our community’s residents; others will increase the number and quality of area arts facilities or invest in grassroots organizations to build capacity and improve their sustainability.

“I’m constantly amazed by the passion, ingenuity and tenacity of our non-profit leaders,” said Tom Linfield, MCF’s Vice President of Community Impact. “Each of these agencies is galvanizing volunteers, raising dollars, and committing to making Dane County an extraordinary place to live.”

“From ensuring equity in learning, to building new arts spaces for the community, to providing county-wide educational outreach, to building our wonderful parks, to focusing strategically on out-of-school opportunities for young people regardless of their means, the grantees are helping make this a rich and just community,” Linfield continued. “Madison Community Foundation is proud to invest in these key organizations.”

The complete list of 2019 grant recipients includes:

Arts + Literature Laboratory

$25,000 for a capital campaign to fund Arts + Literature Laboratory’s new space in the Capitol East neighborhood.

Boys & Girls Club of Dane County

$25,000 to build a playground at the new McKenzie Family Club in Sun Prairie to ensure that children get at least the recommended 60 minutes of unstructured physical activity each day.

Clean Lakes Alliance

$10,000 to fund community listening sessions with under-represented groups – especially with communities of color – to better understand how they use or would like to use the area lakes.

Cycropia Aerial Dance

$10,000 to help purchase equipment and expand training opportunities for Dane County aerial artists and students to develop skills and expressive capabilities.

Foundation for Dane County Parks

$45,000 capacity-building grant to help build the foundation’s financial stability by hiring staff and building operational infrastructure.

Girl Scouts of Wisconsin-Badgerland Council

$15,000 to increase access to Girl Scouts among ethnically diverse and low income students by partnering with local youth service organizations to bring scouting directly to girls in need, free of charge.

Habitat for Humanity

$20,000 to expand a successful high school program that provides volunteer opportunities to build affordable housing resulting in dual high school/college credit.

Kanopy Dance Theatre

$15,000 to create a strategic development plan to expand Kanopy’s fundraising, teaching and performance.

Madison Children’s Museum

$45,000 for the MCM Roadshow, to expand outreach and bring educational play into communities across Madison and Dane County.

Madison Public Library Fund

$25,000 for a 2:1 challenge grant to help strengthen the Pinney Library Endowment Fund and increase its long-terms financial stability.

Madison Symphony Orchestra

$30,000 to expand from six to 12 schools the Up Close and Musical Program, an award-winning in-school residency program that brings a string quartet of professional musicians into K-3 classrooms.

Madison Museum of Contemporary Art

$30,000 to provide digital access to the museum’s collection of Mexican Modernist art, and to develop programming to celebrate Mexican art and culture and develop meaningful connections with Madison’s Latinx community.

Mann Fund

$15,000 for the Mann Scholars Program to develop a strategic fundraising plan for sustained financial support of the Program to ensure continued ability to provide support to African American high school students in the Madison Metropolitan School District.

City of Middleton

$15,000 seed funding to develop programming for the new downtown plaza to help build community and stem social isolation, including multi-cultural and multi-generational activities and a farmer’s market.

Monroe Street Arts Center

$30,000 toward the Building Madison’s Creative Future capital campaign to double the available space and increase resources to expand programming for both youth and seniors.

Omega School

$50,000 development capacity-building grant to increase fundraising efforts, grow endowment and enhance its ability to serve as a permanent community resource.

Oregon-Brooklyn Optimist Club

$30,000 to help fund a community splash pad for area children and their families.

Wil-Mar Neighborhood Center

$50,000 for the Learn, Grow, Celebrate capital campaign to increase programming for seniors and to include more project learning, performance and work experience opportunities for teens.

Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters

$25,000 for Next Era Capacity Project, which will use the Academy’s 150th Anniversary as a springboard to expand and diversify the local programs and people it reaches.

Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra

$20,000 for Let the Community Shine, which will celebrate both the WCO’s 60th anniversary and Maestro Andrew Sewell’s 20th season as artistic director by pursuing new artist partnerships and expanding the number of youth participating in WCO programs.

Wisconsin Early Childhood Association

$50,000 for We Care for Dane Kids to create a network of child care programs and support them with the tools and business skills needed to help them reduce expenses and teacher turnover.

YWCA Madison

$25,000 for Amplify Madison, a program developed to support women of color in the nonprofit sector by providing leadership development and opportunities to engage in collective projects to further their work in the community.

2018 Community Impact Grants

100 Black Men of Madison, Inc.

$27,000 to launch “The 100 Scholars Process,” a support network of educators, tutors, corporate, adult and peer mentors, and the dedicated membership of 100 Black Men of Madison, for students who have demonstrated or are capable of high achievement in academic, leadership, and creativity.

Arts + Literature Laboratory

$20,000 for the merger of Arts + Literature Laboratory and Greater Madison Jazz Consortium.

Capital City Theatre

$15,000 to build the capacity of Madison’s first professional regional musical theater company.

CEOs of Tomorrow, Inc.

$21,000 to grow the “These Teens Mean Busines$” internship program through partnerships with local entrepreneurs.

Charles Hamilton Houston Institute

$10,000 to support students of color as they prepare for, apply to, and enroll in a historically black college or university.

Children’s Dyslexia Center

$25,000 to expand its successful tutoring program to Goodman Community Center.

Community GroundWorks

$10,000 to support the merger of Community GroundWorks and Center for Resilient Cities.

Community Shares of Wisconsin

$90,000 (3-year, $30,000 grant) for the Big Share, an online giving day that raises money for Community Shares and its 70 member nonprofits.

The First Tee of South Central Wisconsin

$25,000 to build capacity in three after-school learning centers that help reduce gaps in opportunity and achievement in communities of color.

Free Bikes 4 Kidz Madison

$50,000 to build the capacity to annually collect, refurbish, and donate 2,000 free bikes to children and families.

GiGi’s Playhouse‚ÄźMadison

$15,000 for an innovative vocational training program to prepare people with Down syndrome for employment and independence.

Goodman Community Center

$100,000 to Goodman Community Center’s building and expansion project to reduce over-crowding and serve more residents.

Groundswell Conservancy

$19,000 to partner with Community GroundWorks to create land security for Hmong farmers at Westport Community Farm.

Literacy Network

$75,000 (3-year, $25,000) for a partnership with the new Madison College on the south side to increase English language skills for low-income, adult immigrants and connect them to opportunities for high school completion, career advising, and workforce training.

Madison Children’s Museum

$30,000 to improve and enhance the Rooftop Ramble, adding accessibility features for people with disabilities, and create an interactive exhibit on renewable energy.

Madison Circus Space

$50,000 for the new building and performance space to increase capacity for teaching and performing circus arts, as well as fostering arts entrepreneurship.

Madison Public Library Foundation

$25,000 to launch the Readmobile with Dane County Library Service for use in five under-resourced neighborhoods.

Madison Reading Project

$50,000 to purchase The Book Reading Bus to deliver books and educational materials to low-income neighborhoods, community centers, shelters, libraries, and festivals throughout Dane County.


$46,000 to expand the STEM Immersion Camp and mentoring program to prepare girls and youth of color for education and careers in computer science and technology.

Parents Advocating Student Success (P.A.S.S.), Inc. for Verona Area Core Knowledge Charter School

$30,000 for a 2:1 matching campaign to grow the endowment fund at Madison Community Foundation.

Sunshine Place

$50,000 will support a campaign to expand its footprint and provide more social services, including increased food pantry and product distribution and improved safety and accessibility for volunteers.

Wisconsin Bike Fed

$30,000 for the JUST Bikes equity initiative that builds bike repair stations in low-income neighborhoods, conducts safety and bike repair classes, and offers bike internship and employment programs.

2017 Community Impact Grants

The Music Makers program creates opportunities for more children to participate in Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestra.

In addition to 12 Anniversary Grants awarded through May 2018, MCF awarded 21 Community Impact grants in 2017 that grow and sustain the important work of nonprofits throughout Dane County.

Community Impact grants are made possible by donors who support the Community Impact Fund, MCF's competitive grantmaking program.

Aldo Leopold Nature Center

Aldo Leopold Nature Center is a community treasure and wonderland for children of all ages.

$30,000 to move forward on five initiatives: equitable access for all children, establishing a Nature Preschool and a mobile Nature Cart, integrating climate change education across programming, and ensuring long-term organizational vitality

“The generous support of MCF will engage more children with nature, empowering them with the numerous physical, emotional, cognitive, academic, and transcendental benefits a connection to the natural world provides.” –Michael Strigel, President and Executive Director, Aldo Leopold Nature Center

Belleville Public Library

$30,000 for a new library and community center that will be integral to the quality of life for residents by combining traditional library services and community gathering spaces

Centro Hispano

$20,000 for a 1:1 challenge grant to increase communication and fund development staff, building internal infrastructure to further Centro’s ambitious programming goals

Community Shares of Wisconsin

$30,000 to grow and sustain The Big Share, an online giving day that raises hundreds of thousands of dollars for nearly 70 member nonprofits

Children’s Theater of Madison

CTM's Summer Stage program is designed to serve all children in our community, inspiring creativity and confidence.

$30,000 will enable CTM to significantly grow their support base of donors to increase funding for production and education programs, development staff time and capacity, a donor base for an imminent capital campaign

Dane Arts Mural Arts, Inc.

$15,000 to build DAMA’s capacity by funding high-quality, permanent equipment and expand their reach into more rural Dane County communities

E.D. Locke Public Library

1:2 challenge grant of $35,000 to help the Friends of the McFarland Library and the Library Board of Trustees establish an endowment fund and help leverage an additional $70,000 in funding.

Forward Theater Company

Forward Theater's production of "I and You" featured talented young artists Chantae Miller and Alistair Sewell. Photo by Zane Williams.

$30,000 to celebrate Forward Theater’s 10th anniversary season by helping them grow the theater’s mainstage season from three productions to four, and adding leadership capacity and staffing to sustain that growth

Foundation for Madison’s Public Schools

$50,000 to support Madison Public Schools Alumni Network to bring together former and current students, staff, teachers, and families from around the country, building relationships and networks

Henry Vilas Park Zoological Society

$40,000 for a full-time Volunteer Coordinator position and the creation of the Zoo Teen Leadership Development Program with participants from a diverse cross section of our community

Kids Forward

$37,500 to expand the Race to Equity Project’s Community Ambassador program, recruiting and training a new cohort of neighborhood leaders to advocate for and achieve significant disparity reduction within our county

“Grassroots leadership and community engagement are at the heart of the Community Ambassadors project and Madison Community Foundation is proud to support the expansion and sustainability of this important work. Our hope is that the project strengthens our wonderful neighborhoods by narrowing racial disparities and increasing opportunities for all our citizens to thrive.” –Tom Linfield, MCF Vice President of Community Impact

Lodi Area Community Endowment

1:2 challenge of $50,000 for the Lodi Area Community Endowment to increase support of a wide array of Lodi-area nonprofits doing important work

Madison Metropolitan School District - Madison West High School

With Project Solis, West High Green Club and the Madison school district plan to integrate solar energy use into the school’s science curriculum, using computer-based monitoring and student research.

$25,000 for Project Solis, a renewable energy pilot program to install 100 solar panels at West High School, reducing carbon emissions and supporting a youth-led movement for solutions to environmental challenges

"Madison Community Foundation's funding will serve as an important stepping stone in helping our school and district achieve its vision of carbon neutrality. We are even more inspired and committed now to spearheading sustainability initiatives and promoting awareness of pressing environmental challenges facing Madison and our world." –Charles Hua, president, West Green Club

Omega School, Inc.

$15,000 to Omega School for a large survey GED/HSED graduates to evaluate the program’s impact and increase alumni engagement

Overture Center for the Arts

1:1 challenge grant of $35,000 to restore the 90-year-old Grand Barton Organ built in Oshkosh and housed in the Capitol Theater, its original and only home

Simpson Street Free Press

$25,000 to support a key component of SSFP’s 25th year of writing, publishing, and sparking academic success. The Science of Wisconsin’s Environment will be featured in a new youth publication to help other groups adopt Free Press extended-day models.

The Mellowhood Foundation

The Mellowhood Foundation and its founder Coach Assad combine heart, discipline and ingenuity to work with kids and their families in the Meadowood area.

1:1 challenge grant of $25,000 1:1 for the Homework Club and Business Incubator Development Group, bridging the academic year with the Mellowhood summer program for youth in the Meadowridge Neighborhood

United Way of Dane County

$20,000 to measure and improve the social-emotional skills of children and youth as part of a collaborative effort to reduce racial disparities throughout Dane County

“We are thankful to Madison Community Foundation for their partnership and this opportunity to better understand the challenges our students face, so we can empower them with the skills they need to succeed in school, work and life.” –Renee Moe, United Way of Dane County President & CEO

Urban League of Greater Madison

$25,000 to support 50th anniversary 1,500 jobs campaign and other capacity building efforts

Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestra

$25,000 for the Music Makers program, which empowers children through music and mentorship, regardless of their ability to pay

YWCA Madison

$25,000 to support the YWCA Madison’s Empowerment Center move to South Park Street, increasing accessibility to clients and families participating in race and gender equity programs, and job training and transportation work

Interested in MCF's grantmaking program? Apply for a Grant