Civic Health of Wisconsin: Connectedness in Context
In partnership with the National Conference on Citizenship and a coalition of nonpartisan Wisconsin organizations, the CommNS presents this inaugural report on Wisconsin’s civic health. The report is based on the 2019 Wisconsin Civic Health Index™, which measures residents’ civic engagement and community connectedness. We present these data alongside Wisconsin demographic information, civics education standards, trends in local politics and news, and current civic health efforts.
Food Pantries During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Survey of Visitors to Feeding Wisconsin Network Pantries
To learn about the role of food pantries during the COVID-19 pandemic, CommNS, UW Extension, and Feeding Wisconsin collaborated on a survey of food pantry clients during Fall 2020. The Food Security Initiative of the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) awarded a grant for this work, which looks at the characteristics and circumstances of visitors to food pantries and food distribution sites in the Feeding Wisconsin network. Co-Create also conducted focus groups with food pantry coordinators. Reports highlighting findings from each part of the project are available below.
View the visitor survey report
View the food pantry coordinator focus group report
Published Article: Co-Create Connects Community and Campus to Answer Important Questions
The linked blog post includes a snippet of a full article highlighting the Co-Create team and the important work that they take on. View the full piece by clicking the button below, or by visiting this google document.
Preschool Development Grant Analysis: 12 Things That Would Improve Early Care and Education in Wisconsin
As part of the Preschool Development Grant with the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families, the CommNS led a team of researchers in 2020 to understand the perspectives of primary caregivers of young children and child care providers from five demographic populations in Wisconsin: Hmong, Latinx, Black or African American, Indigenous or Tribal, and rural white. View the analysis to see a list of what these caregivers and providers said would make the biggest difference to them for better early care and education (ECE) in Wisconsin. You can also view the analysis by visiting this webpage with the same information.
Statewide Needs Assessment for the Preschool Development Grant
The Preschool Development Grant (PDG) was a one-year federal grant that supported a Wisconsin needs assessment and the completion of a strategic plan to improve early care and education (ECE) in 2020. The needs assessment examined ECE accessibility, affordability, and quality as well as workforce needs and challenges in a comprehensive, equity-focused way that prioritized Wisconsin’s most vulnerable, underserved, and rural populations.
The Wisconsin Department of Children and Families (DCF) contracted with the CommNS Co-Create team to support one piece of this needs assessment. Co-Create led a team of researchers in a qualitative study looking at the experiences and perceptions of primary caregivers and providers from five populations in Wisconsin: Hmong, Latinx, Black or African American, Indigenous or Tribal, and rural white.
Reports from this effort are available for download below. You can also visit DCF’s PDG Sandbox to read the full report.
Experiences and Needs of Underserved Groups
WisNRG Town Hall on Opportunities and Challenges Impacting Wisconsin’s Nonprofits During COVID-19
The Wisconsin Nonprofit Resources Group (WisNRG) hosted a virtual Town Hall to provide an opportunity for nonprofit professionals and leaders to discuss strategies they are using to push their work forward during these uncertain times. Attendees also talked about the continuing impacts of COVID-19 on Wisconsin’s nonprofit sector and shared their perspectives on how WisNRG can help address organizational needs.
COVID-19 Effect on the Wisconsin Nonprofit Sector
June 2020; August 2021
This series of reports and targeted briefs is part of a statewide effort to study the response of nonprofit organizations to the COVID-19 pandemic, sponsored by the Helen Bader Institute for Nonprofit Management and the UW-Whitewater Institute for Nonprofit Management Studies. The research team sought to provide real-time data to government officials, foundations, and other decision-makers about the current socio-economic conditions facing nonprofits, and the need for immediate and long-term support to ensure the ongoing provision of critical services throughout Wisconsin. By exploring the pandemic’s effect on the nonprofit sector, we can also better understand what is needed to make a recovery process.
Choosing the Right Structure for Organizations Participating in the Mission-Based Food Production Movement
The Center for Community and Nonprofit Studies (CommNS) Executive Director Mary Beth Collins and Co-Create Graduate Research Assistant Allison Hellenbrand collaborated on this article, outlining entity choice considerations for mission-based food production efforts. View a PDF of the full article by clicking the button below, or open the piece in Google documents here.
Whether and How to Form a Nonprofit
The CommNS partnered with the UW-Madison Law School and Marquette Law School to offer this in-demand CommUniversity session. If you want to form a nonprofit and are curious about where to begin, wonder if it’s a good idea, or just want to know what it takes, check out the recording. Presenters were:
- Tami Patel, Supervising Attorney, Law & Entrepreneurship Clinic at the University of Wisconsin-Madison
- Kathryn Mertz, Director of Pro Bono and Public Service at Marquette University Law School
- Mary Beth Collins, Executive Director, Center for Community and Nonprofit Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison
Nonprofit Resource Needs: WisNRG Town Hall on a Wisconsin Nonprofit Resource Inventory
The Wisconsin Nonprofit Resources Group (WisNRG) hosted a virtual Town Hall to gather ideas and feedback on an inventory of nonprofit resources. WisNRG developed this inventory, recognizing that nonprofit organizations often rely on supports, training, and resources to meet their organizational needs. The convening drew forty-eight professionals from nonprofit organizations and affiliated sectors. Participants identified gaps in resources and supports for Wisconsin nonprofit organizations and shared their ideas for structuring an effective inventory.
CommUnity Conversations on COVID-19 and the Third Sector
These briefs summarize themes from a series of conversations that brought together nonprofit professionals and their allies to discuss the impacts of COVID-19 on their work. This series was a partnership between the CommNS and UW-Extension Organizational and Leadership Development Program.
Community and basic needs organizations
Community and basic needs organizations
Environmental and Healthy Community Organizations
IDEA, DEI, and JEDI Training for Organizations: Consultants’ Perspectives
This virtual CommUniversity session featured several consultants who specialize in helping organizations implement IDEA, DEI, and/or JEDI training. Speakers discussed their unique approaches, why this work is important, and what they have learned throughout their careers. Panelists were:
- Annette Miller, EQT By Design
- Undraye Howard, Alliance for Strong Families and Communities
- Nasra Wehelie, Empathy 4 Equity
- Dr. Siphokazi J. Ntetha, Deloitte Africa Consulting
- Dikeledi Seleka, Dynamic Timz Coaching
- Kelvin Alfaro, Office of Strategic Consulting at UW-Madison
Work Plan: Sustained Engagement for Racial Justice
Summer 2020 – 2021
This resource was developed by Annette Miller of EQT By Design in collaboration with the CommNS, for the CommNS Sustained Engagement for Racial Justice conversations. The work plan provides an outline for individuals and organizations to plan and track their progress on racial equity goals and can be used in conjunction with the video series and resources document linked below.
Sustained Engagement for Racial Justice Video Series
Our partners at the Morgridge Center for Public Service compiled this video series, which includes recordings of discussions from our Sustained Engagement for Racial Justice events held in summer 2020. These community conversations include key tips and inputs from community contributors, helping individuals and groups with their sustained action plans for racial justice.
Sustained Engagement for Racial Justice: Ideas and Resources for Ongoing Inquiry and Action for Social Change
CommNS staff and collaborated developed this document, highlighting resources for sustained racial justice work. Topics covered include learning, self care and community care, exerting influence in our spheres, supporting organizations and change agents, taking action, and sustaining engagement.