Strategic Grant Awards Bring Foundation's Support of Community to Over $9 Million
The Greater Watertown Community Health Foundation (GWCHF) is pleased to announce $1.88 million in strategic grant payments made this fall, bringing the total amount GWCHF has awarded to date to $9.2 million.

Strategic grants initiated by the Foundation are based on the needs of the community and the momentum of community partners. The following investments align to GWCHF’s strategic priorities of supporting strong families, school readiness, school success, social emotional wellness, and healthy eating active living.
Opening in early 2022 at the renovated Watertown Public Library, the TalkReadPlay Center 
will provide quality early learning opportunities while supporting parents and caregivers in helping their children grow and learn. This grant payment was made to the Watertown Public Library, which recently broke ground to build the Center - more info.
The Watertown Family Center is receiving support to build a Family Resource Network that will connect families to formal and informal community supports that nurture child development and build protective factors families need to thrive. The network’s home will reside in the TalkReadPlay Center - more info
The human services departments in Jefferson and Dodge counties are implementing Community Response, a program designed to prevent child maltreatment and neglect by providing at-risk families with a dedicated prevention social worker. This grant is for the third year of the program in Jefferson County. 
The Watertown Unified, Dodgeland and Lake Mills Area school districts are receiving funds to continue programming with Playworks Active Recess, an organization that supports social emotional learning through active recess best practices.
Studer Education, a nationally-recognized firm that helps improve outcomes, is coaching the Watertown Unified and Dodgeland school districts in their third year of quality improvement processes that support student achievement, employee engagement, parent satisfaction, department performance and financial effectiveness. 
This grant funded the Watertown Unified and Dodgeland school districts partnering with BellXcel, an evidence-based program that helps to eliminate summer learning slide among early elementary students reading below grade level.
This grant supports the Watertown Unified School District with staffing needed to lead initiatives surrounding trauma-sensitive schools, mental health, and social emotional learning. 
Of the 11,000 children in Dodge and Jefferson counties covered by Medicaid, only 40% receive dental care in a given year, according to the Kids Count Database. This grant supports the third year of Church Health Services and Community Dental Clinic expanding access to pediatric dental care.
The "fuel-up" nutrition program in the Johnson Creek School District continues in its third year, allowing the food service department to transition from traditional heat and serve food to healthier, scratch-cooked options with fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, low-fat dairy, and clean label foods.
The Pyramid Model is an evidence-based early care and education framework that improves the social and emotional competence of young children. This grant allows the Wisconsin Alliance for Infant Mental Health to support implementation at the Watertown Unified and Dodgeland school districts, Future All Star's Academy, Community Care Preschool & Child Care, Gingerbread Preschool & Child Care, Mary Linsmeier Schools - Watertown, and Willows Christian Child Care Center. 
This grant funds the Parents as Teachers online curriculum for Jefferson County Birth to Three and its Dodge and Jefferson County public health home visiting partners. The curriculum helps to provide evidence-based supports to families with young children. 
A grant to the Wisconsin Early Childhood Association funded a feasibility study to evaluate readiness for an Early Education Shared Service Network in Dodge & Jefferson counties (more information in the article below). 

This grant supports Watertown Unified School District building capacity to deliver the Triple P - Positive Parenting Program

Child Care - It's Essential

Recent Parent Survey & Business Conversation
Shed Light on the Issue

Experiences that children have in the first years of life set the foundation for long-term health, school success and life skill development. With a commitment to improve access to high quality early care and education for all families, the GWCHF partnered with the Wisconsin Early Childhood Association (WECA) to study the feasibility of an early education Shared Services Network for our community. This type of network allows child care providers to share administrative resources so they can focus their time and energy on what matters most — the children and families they serve.

As part of the feasibility study, GWCHF administered a survey to parents in Dodge and Jefferson counties about their experiences with early care and education. Parents reported that there simply is not enough high-quality care that is convenient and affordable for families. Click here for highlights from the survey. (Full survey results can be obtained by contacting Melinda Mueller.)

Lack of access to high-quality care is not only an issue for families, but it’s an issue for our local economy. An October virtual conversation with business and community leaders shared the impact the lack of access to care is having on our local workforce and businesses. This conversation was coordinated jointly with GWCHF, WECA, and Thrive Economic Development. Click here for the slide deck to see what was discussed. 

GWCHF will continue to study the feasibility of an Early Care and Education Shared Services Network as well as other long-term solutions for our community. If you are interested in engaging in this work, please contact GWCHF President Tina Crave.

Born Learning Trail Now Open

GWCHF was pleased to support the Jefferson County Parks Department with a grant to install a Born Learning Trail, an evidence-based series of 10 interactive stations that offer fun, physical learning activities for young children and their families. The trail is powered by TalkReadPlay, a community movement that encourages quality parent/caregiver-child interactions.

The trail is located at the Jefferson County Glacial River Trail along Wisconsin Avenue in Jefferson. Check it out with your family and enjoy all the activities it has to offer. For more information, click here.
Congratulations to the Jefferson County Parks Department for completing this project!
Signs have a variety of activities that encourage family interaction while on the trail.
Thank you to the many volunteers who helped to install the trail.
Signs are printed in English and Spanish.

Career Opportunities

Positions at Partner Agencies Now Available

GWCHF is proudly supporting initiatives that weave a web of support for children and families in Dodge and Jefferson counties. To advance this work, two major partners are hiring key positions. 

If you, or someone you know, has the qualifications and are interested in one of these positions, please apply or share the opportunity!
600 East Main Street, Suite 200, Watertown WI 53094