2019 Fox Cities Book Festival: October 7th - October 13th

Fox Cities Reads 2019 Partners

Fox Cities Reads 2019 examines local and state-wide homelessness through Matthew Desmond’s 2016 New York Time’s Best Seller, Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City. In tandem with events and readings throughout the Fox Cities this spring, the festival has partnered with several agencies whose missions focus on identifying and addressing poverty, homelessness, and affordable housing in our community.

Many of these organizations have flown under the radar, while doing amazing work within our communities. Their generous employees and volunteers give new hope and opportunities to hundreds of local families every year. Read more about our partners for Fox Cities Reads 2019.

Who they are and what they do:

  • On October 1, 2018, Homeless Connections (1981), Housing Partnership of the Fox Cities (1986), and the Fox Valley Warming Shelter (2008) became Pillars. The 50-employee organization focuses on the growing need many local families face for safe and affordable housing. The new enterprise aims to strengthen the assistance and services they have been providing for decades to families who struggle with homelessness across the Fox Cities. As a single entity, Pillars provides roughly 48,000 nights of shelter to people experiencing homeless in the Fox Cities, while continuing to pursue prevention of homelessness.

News and events

  • On November 27, 2018, Pillars’ hosted Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch and The Wisconsin Interagency Council on Homelessness, as they approved a statewide action plan to end homelessness. The $3.75M plan helps to place people into permanent homes, without a no addiction, no conviction requirement.
  • Watch Pillars’ Facebook page for upcoming events. Last month they hosted a public Homelessness and Housing Instability Panel, in partnership with Fox Cities Reads, at their Resource Center on Mason Street. Pillars’ staff discussed issues of poverty, homelessness and housing instability. 

Who they are and what they do:

  • Founded in 1993, Fox Cities Habitat for Humanity started with new home construction projects and has grown to serving the community through its ReStore retail outlet, an Almost Home program, and Rock the Block® The Fox Cities Habitat for Humanity’s mission is to help local, low-income families become homeowners, and to work with those who already have homes to improve their housing stability.

News and events

  • Earlier last fall, an estimated 400 volunteers joined Habitat for Humanity in Menasha to revitalize a neighborhood, during their annual Rock the Block® campaign. Volunteers completed more than twenty projects within a four-day period. Since 2015, an estimated 5,000 people have contributed to the projects and given more than 21,000 hours of their time.
  • In March of 2018, Fox Cities Habitat opened its second “ReStore” location in Appleton, on the West side, on W. Integrity Way. Appleton’s flagship ReStore location is located on E. College Ave.  “[ReStores] are independently owned reuse stores operated by local Habitat for Humanity organizations. Proceeds are used to help build strength, stability, self-reliance and shelter in local communities and around the world.”

Who they are and what they do:

  • United Way Fox Cities is a non-profit organization that works with United Way of America pooling resources to collaborate on raising funds and creating volunteer platforms. United Way focuses its efforts on education, income, and health.
  • The local chapter recognizes and works to improve major community issues, including those of Pillars and Habitat for Humanity. United Way Fox Cities partners with school districts, government agencies, for- and non-profit businesses, financial institutions, and other organizations within the community.

News and events

  • Earlier this month, The United Way Fox Cities donated almost $400,000 to four programs, whose causes identify specific community needs.The Boys and Girls Clubs of the Fox Valley, Menasha Joint School District, N.E.W. Mental Health Connection, and Scholars on Target to Achieve Results (START), received this year’s United Way’s innovative Grants.

Fit Oshkosh

Who they are and what they do:

Fit Oshkosh seeks to promote social change and racial literacy and equity through conversations, education, advocacy, and research. Established in 2014, Fit Oshkosh is a nonprofit organization in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. The founders began the program in response to years of personal experiences, and a collective need for community conversations on race and diversity. They hosted Color-Brave Community Conversations for three years within the community, before taking the next step to form an agency and reach out to those in the community who still needed to hear their message.

Fit Oshkosh hosts the annual “Kids and Cops Basketball Games,” provides services such as training and organizational assessments, posts online educational videos on race equity, and continues to promote Color-Brave Community Conversations.

News and events

  • Throughout the spring and summer of 2018, 20 local people of color’s stories and portraits were featured in Fit Oshkosh’s exhibit, “Color-Brave Photo Project: Black and Brown Faces, a New Narrative.” The free, traveling exhibit opened in April, at the Paine Art Center and Gardens, before moving to locations throughout Oshkosh, Appleton and Fond Du Lac. The stories and experiences shared will be preserved in a forthcoming book.
  • On January 24th, 2019, Fit Oshkosh is hosting a “Bystander/Upstander Training” for Community Members at the Lawrence University Warch Campus Center. The workshop will focus on skills to interrupt racist behaviors and comments, provide participants with tools to invite people into challenging conversations around race, and demonstrate ways to become an agent for change and to co-create a positive narrative about race in your places of influence. Participants will unpack real-life scenarios to enable them to effectively challenge negative narratives and behaviors in our community.
  • Fit Oshkosh will be hosting it’s 4th annual Kids and Cops Basketball Game on Saturday, March 2nd at the University of Oshkosh Albee Gymnasium. This game is targeted towards Youth of Color in the community and is open to all students between grades 6 to 12, regardless of racial identity. The event provides a platform for open and honest conversations about Youth of Color and Law Enforcement engagement, and safety throughout our region.
  • Check out Fit Oshkosh’s Facebook Page for more information about upcoming and future events.

Goodwill Industries of North Central Wisconsin

Who they are and what they do:

  • Goodwill Industries of North Central Wisconsin is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization serving cities from Appleton to LaCrosse, and as far north as Rice Lake and Rhinelander. The organization collects gently used clothing and other household items including furniture and electronics for resale. The organization is much more than a network of re-sale stores. Goodwill Industries also provides employment services, financial counseling, income tax preparation, LGBT support, among many other human-services programs. In 2017, Goodwill Industries NCW served more than 72,000 people across Wisconsin, setting an organizational record.

News and events

Project R.U.S.H.

Who they are and what they do:

  • Project RUSH sent 125 volunteers out into the field to do 600 interviews with people who were homeless or on the verge of homelessness. They came back with important observations about what led to homelessness for the individuals and more questions needing answers. A $10,000 Basic Needs Giving Partnership grant helped to support the project.

News and events

  • In 2016, Project RUSH, along with a coalition of Fox Valley housing agencies, gave a report-out to the community, drawing 350 guests, five times the number at past events. The success the project also led to:
    • A museum exhibit and traveling exhibit by the History Museum at the Castle based on photos taken by homeless people.
    • Distribution of 750 printed reports on Project RUSH
    • Local Silver ADDY award for Image Studios’ moving video featuring volunteer testimonials

POINT Project

Who they are and what they do:

  • Poverty Outcomes Improvement Network Team (POINT) was an 18-month initiative, funded by the Basic Needs Giving Partnership, to equip the region with continuous improvement methodologies focused on poverty.
  • POINT focused on continuous improvement processes to strengthen existing poverty reduction efforts, address service gaps, and measure progress on reducing poverty in Northeast Wisconsin. Nearly 90 improvement teams participated in quarterly learning sessions and received hands on coaching to better understand the concept of continuous improvement. POINT was the first of its kind regional approach to poverty where the communities of Green Bay, Fox Cities & Oshkosh worked towards the same aims and indicators of progress.
  • POINT came from a shared desire for all people in Northeast Wisconsin to be self-sufficient and able to participate fully in the life of the community and was viewed as a cultural shift as much as an initiative. Its goal was to raise more people out of poverty and help them find good jobs, stable housing, and other resources needed to become self-sufficient.

Who they are and what they do:

  • Celebrate Diversity Fox Cities is a 501(c)(3) non-profit who provides education, honest dialogue, and advocacy, celebrating the broad spectrum of diversity in our community. Their mission recognizes that every person is worthy of dignity and respect. Celebrate Diversity Fox Cities Board Members bring together over 20 years of diversity and inclusion experience in the Fox Cities area. They work locally to create a more inclusive community and serve through education, outreach, advocacy, and public events.

News and events

  • Visit Celebrate Diversity’s Facebook page for more information about current events and other news