Some good news for Welty!

On Thursday, within the space of five minutes, I got some good news via email: Friends of Welty Environmental Center had received grants from Ecolab ($1968 for video tools to support virtual programs) and the State of Wisconsin ($5926 for a Cultural Organization Grant to replace lost revenue due to Covid-19). This is a nice shot in the arm to help us with our online learning this fall, since almost all in-person events were cancelled due to the pandemic.

We keep great company with both grants (Ecolab has a plant in Beloit and they fund a lot of really impressive projects in the Stateline area). It was nice to be a one of the 385 COG awardees, evaluated as contributing to the cultural life of the state of Wisconsin. That grant was funded with $15 million of federal funding as part of the CARES Act, and directed by Gov. Tony Evers to help cultural organizations with pandemic-related finances.

I wanted to share a bit of our grant application, with some details about how we’ve pivoted in this time of Covid:

FWEC has received grants from Ecolab ($1968 for video tools)…

Since March 2020, WEC has done limited in-person programming for groups of 10 people of less. WEC has been able to recoup some of the revenue it would normally receive from these activities (whether through participation fees or grant support), but it is significantly less than what had been budgeted for 2020, based on income from 2019.  In 2019, 38.6% of WEC’s annual income ($48,120) came from these sources (public and afterschool programs, 10 weeks of Big Hill Adventure Camp, Harvest Dinner fundraiser, full-grade field trips 2nd, 4th, and 5th grade students); in 2020 it will be closer to ($19,464). 

and the State of Wisconsin ($5926 for a Cultural Organization Grant).

All fall field trips for area schools have been replaced with virtual versions, with a guide for teachers to help them integrate the material in their distance learning curriculum.  Grants (Alliant Energy and Hendricks Family Foundations) support monthly online visits with four Head Start classrooms, and weekly programs at the Beloit Public Library to help Stateline Family Literacy students with childcare options.  WEC is also designing virtual afterschool programs for Todd Elementary, as part of a CLC grant. WEC’s 2020 participation numbers will be down from 9127 in 2019 but, because of its trusted reputation in the community, it will still reach about 4500 people.

In a couple of weeks, I’ll be sending out our annual Appeal letter, and I hope you will consider donating this year. We’ve been lucky to receive several grants that help non-profits weather the pandemic, but, as you can see, our participation (and revenue) numbers are down. We’re really glad we’ve been able to connect with as many groups and students as we have this year, in spite of everything, and hope we can keep the momentum going in 2021. Thank you to Ecolab and the State of Wisconsin for the support!

Brenda Plakans
Executive Director, WEC