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Community Reinvestment Fund

The Community Reinvestment Fund (CRF) application period for the 2015 grant cycle has ended. Applications for the 2016 CRF grants will be posted on February 1, 2016.

community reinvestment fund logo

A History of Grassroots Giving

Since 1992, the Willy Street Co-op Community Reinvestment Fund has contributed $317,000 to making a difference in the quality of life for our community by supporting developmental projects, educational projects, and events that are consistent with Willy Street Co-op's goals. Cooperative Principle #7, Concern for Community, is the primary motivation for the Williamson Street Grocery Cooperative (WSGC) Community Reinvestment Fund. 

Funding is provided through unclaimed and abandoned equity money that has accumulated over past years. Specifically, our bylaws state: “the Co-op shall dedicate any funds (equity) remaining unclaimed to educational and charitable purposes.”

Each year, a mailing is sent to the last known address of any Owners who still have equity in the Co-op, and yet their accounts have remained inactive for over a year. Once/if contacted, those Owners have the option to renew their Fair Share contract by making an equity payment or, to withdraw the equity (cancel the contract), or donate their equity to the Community Reinvestment Fund.

Grant Guidelines

Grants may be awarded to projects covering one or more of the following topic areas: food justice/access, cooperatives, sustainable agriculture, health/well-being, and social change. Examples of the diverse array of projects we have funded in the past include:

  • Health literacy and advocacy
  • Work certification and internship programs
  • Community and school garden and beekeeping projects
  • Hands-on food education programs
  • Local farm voucher programs for those living on low-incomes
  • Cooperative development

Grants are awarded to 501(c)3 and/or cooperative organizations* working on projects benefiting the Madison and Middleton metropolitan areas with limited access to funding. The Board of Directors has allocated $25,000 total funding for Fiscal Year 2015. Grants are competitive and will be capped at $4000 or less per award. In Fiscal Year 2014, the Fund Committee awarded $30,000 to 18 organizations. Grants will not fund administrative fees. Grant requests for food, supplies, or capital investments will only be considered if those products are used in a hands-on educational or community engaging opportunity related to the project's intended outcomes. Organizations seeking food and supplies soley to provide event or program ammenties are encouraged to apply for a donation using our donation request form

Organizations representing minority and protected classes are strongly encouraged to apply. 

CRF grant awards for previous years:

*Applications MUST include a copy of the Internal Revenue Service determination letter indicating 501(c)(3) IRS status for the organization, or articles of incorproation indicating Wisconsin Chapter 185 cooperative status. 170(c)(1) government entities and other tax exempt entities that do not have specifically 501(c)(3) IRS status are NOT eligible for Community Reinvestment Fund grants. Please see the grant application for full details, including how to use a fiscal sponsor to apply for project funding.