Green Bay Packers Give Back this week awarded two $250,000 impact grants to two northeast Wisconsin nonprofit organizations, with the Packers Give Back Impact Grant going to Green Bay Botanical Garden and the Veterans Impact Grant going to the Wisconsin Veterans Village Association.
"The Packers are pleased to support both of these deserving organizations who are helping improve the lives of children, veterans and families through nature and wellness," said Packers President/CEO Mark Murphy. "We look forward to seeing how both grants will help create special spaces for families to spend time together and enjoy time outdoors."
Green Bay Botanical Garden will direct the grant toward its Children's Garden Expansion project, which will help transform the current half-acre Children's Garden into a 2.5-acre natural wonderland which will create unique outdoor experiences, blending art, environment and education. The expanded garden will also help address growing mental health issues in Brown County with increased opportunities for outdoor programming for children and families.
"This will be a game changer in terms of the quality of nature-based learning and environmental educational programming we can offer to our community," said Executive Director Susan Garot. "It's been proven that the time our children spent in front of screens during this pandemic has impacted their test scores over the past year and a half. Our goal is to provide an environment for quality learning about issues affecting our environment that will enhance problem-solving abilities among children of all ages."
The Wisconsin Veterans Village Association in Appleton will use the grant for their Outdoor Wellness Project, which will update and expand a pedestrian path around the perimeter of the Veterans Village, including a route to connect the transit stop and Fox Valley Technical College, resting spots, elevated planters and a viewing platform on the Little Lake Lillian Pond. The project will also relocate and update the playground to enhance the area for kids and their families.
"Veterans in transition, whether young or at end-of-life, all benefit from access to affordable housing. When our veterans' affordable housing community can be enhanced, veterans' lives will be enhanced directly," said Tom Wiltzius, co-founder of the Wisconsin Veterans Village Association. "This gift will allow our veterans to have new resources dedicated toward their physical, mental and emotional wellbeing, including our outdoor walking/jogging path and related resources, our children's playground, and our reflection stations by the pond and creek."
This is the second consecutive year that Packers Give Back has awarded the Veterans Impact Grant specifically for organizations that serve veterans and their families. The Packers Give Back Impact Grant has been awarded in a variety of forms since 2014.
Including impact grants and the annual grant cycle through the Packers Foundation, the Packers organization awarded 281 grants since May of 2021, totaling $2.25 million. A component of the Green Bay Packers Give Back program, the grants, combined with other Green Bay Packers charity endeavors, contribute to a comprehensive Packers charity impact that was in excess of $9 million in the past year.