Community Leaders Discuss
Early Care & Education at Leadership Breakfast
We are grateful for the excellent turnout of area business leaders for January's leadership breakfast at Maranatha Baptist University. The presentation illustrated challenges facing parents, employers and early care and education providers and highlighted the fact that Jefferson and Dodge Counties are "childcare deserts" with fewer than one available childcare slot for every three children.

Presenters shared challenges facing early care and education providers, which lead to workforce challenges for employers. "Childcare is the infrastructure that supports our workforce" was a key message. Presenters also shared examples of how other Wisconsin communities are finding innovative solutions, and introduced the concept of employer-supported care.

Speakers included (pictured above, l-r) Maranatha Bible College CEO Dr. Matthew Davis, Watertown and Oconomowoc YMCA CEO Jon Lange, Foundation CEO Tina Crave, and Watertown Mayor Emily McFarland.
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If you missed the leadership breakfast, click here to watch a video of the presentation.
SAVE THE DATE: April 5, 2023
Join the Foundation and our partner, Raising Wisconsin, for a day of advocacy to engage elected officials in Madison, WI (details will be forthcoming).
 Impact Updates:
Programs Proudly Supported by Foundation Funding
The new TalkReadPlay Center at the Watertown Public Library has made a positive impact on library usage. Since the TalkReadPlay grand opening, the library has seen a 22% increase over 2019 (pre-pandemic) levels in the number of children's materials checked out.
Seven partner agencies located across Dodge and Jefferson Counties equipped more than 508 families with the skills to spend more time learning and growing together and less time dealing with stress and problem behaviors.
 Changemakers in Action:
Foundation Investments in Positive Change
Rogers Behavioral Health has implemented a Canine Assisted Intervention program with help from over 100 friends and donors, including a grant from the Foundation. Dogs can have a profound positive influence on health and wellbeing. Over the years, many members of the clinical staff have witnessed the benefits of this relationship as patients interacted with the four-legged companions who came to visit Rogers. Read more here.
The Village of Hustisford transformed recreational opportunities for the community with new basketball standards, an interactive concrete walking path and new landscape walls. In addition, a TalkReadPlay playground installation was added to support caregivers in their role as their children's first teachers. Pictured (l-r) are: Andi Merfeld, GWCHF; Roger Zubke, Hustisford public works superintendent; Kim Hopfinger, village clerk; Laurie Buchanan, village president; and Bob Knueppel, board parks chairperson.
On January 31, Lt. Governor Sara Rodriguez, along with staff from WI Department of Health Services, visited Jefferson County to learn how they are innovating to address mental health. Kudos to Jefferson County for their leadership and for bringing positive attention to all of the wonderful work undertaken by partners in our region.
Jefferson County Human Services and the Watertown Police Department collaborated to fund an emergency mental health intake professional, a position filled by Kelly Lueck (pictured). The new position can respond immediately to calls and direct individuals needing assistance to those services, which benefits the officers and citizens. Great collaboration, and work to adapt existing systems to better support community health and wellbeing. Read more here (subscription required).
How Can We Support Your Work?
The Foundation provides resources, tools and support to changemakers who work toward measurable improvement in community health. To date, the Foundation has invested more than $34 million in its five strategic, child-focused priorities: Strong Families, Kindergarten Readiness, School Success, Social-Emotional Wellbeing and Healthy Eating/Active Living.

Capacity Building Grants are for agencies looking to advance their missions by developing leadership skills or strengthening organizational efforts.

Community Collaboration Grants provide support for partnerships that enhance community spaces where individuals can be active together.

Health Equity Grants* support equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) projects or initiatives focused on removing obstacles to health for populations not well served under current systems and policies. The Foundation recognizes the dignity and value of every person, envisioning thriving communities where everyone has a fair and just opportunity to be as healthy as possible.

Proposals must directly support the communities served by the school districts of Dodgeland, Hustisford, Ixonia, Jefferson, Johnson Creek, Lake Mills, Waterloo and Watertown.

*We recently updated guidelines for our Health Equity Grants
Maranatha Baptist University’s School of Business presents the first annual Leader to Leader Conference, March 9-10, 2023.

The event is geared toward students and professionals who lead--or aspire to--in the fields of business, ministry, nonprofits, and education. The event will feature keynote speakers Adrie Groeneweg, Sam Brock, Dr. Rob McKenna, and John McHugh. Multiple breakout workshops, meals, campus events, and informal networking opportunities round out this two-day inaugural conference. Each speaker will share career experience, offer practical industry wisdom, and address trends and best practices in leadership.

For more information, please visit: Leader to Leader Conference
Further Resources (click on the links to access)
KIDS COUNT Data Book - 2022 State Trends in Child Wellbeing from the Annie E. Casey Foundation presents national and state data across four domains (economic wellbeing, education, health and family, and community) and ranks states in overall child wellbeing

Handout: Childcare Landscape in Dodge and Jefferson Counties - Ready-to-print one page handout prepared by our early care and education advocacy partner, Raising Wisconsin

How Does Child Care Cost Burden Connect to Health - A short video from UW-Population Health Institute as sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
600 East Main Street, Suite 200, Watertown WI 53094