Dane County Awards Nearly $5 Million in COVID Relief Grants to 183 Local Nonprofits

September 21, 2021 Blog, Featured, Press


MADISON, Wis., September 14, 2021 – Many Dane County nonprofit organizations that faced financial strain in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic just received some welcome assistance from the County. Today, Madison Community Foundation (MCF) and Dane County Executive Joe Parisi announced Dane County COVID Relief Grant recipients.

Grants ranging from $2,500 to $50,000 were awarded to 183 organizations working in the county. The grants help offset the losses and/or increased expenses these organizations experienced because of the pandemic. The program was funded by the County with an allocation from the American Rescue Plan Act.

“Many Dane County nonprofits were part of the frontline response to the pandemic and served our community in unprecedented ways,” said Dane County Executive Joe Parisi. “We are excited to get this funding out the door and into our community. These grants will help local nonprofits recover from the impacts of the pandemic and reinvest in their work. Congratulations to the recipients, and many thanks to Madison Community Foundation for partnering with us on this effort.”

“We saw such a range of organizations apply for grants through this program,” said Tom Linfield, Vice President of Community Impact at MCF. “From providing support to children and youth to working in the arts, offering health and human services or fulfilling basic needs, providing sports and recreation to protecting the environment, these organizations are working to provide opportunities and support for the people of Dane County.”

The economic toll on the nonprofits that applied for grants varied greatly: two-thirds of the groups saw their budgets shrink in 2020, and 34% were forced to furlough staff at some point during the year. Nearly half of the organizations ended 2020 with deficits ranging up to $2.3 million. And while many of Dane County’s nonprofit organizations were able to receive funding last year through the federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), nearly a third of today’s grant recipients did not.

“Many nonprofits were ineligible to receive Paycheck Protection Program resources because they did not have relationships with financial institutions,” said Bob Sorge, President and CEO of MCF. “By prioritizing those organizations with the American Rescue Plan resources, we were able to bridge an important gap and support a wide range of programs and nonprofits.”

Because these grants were intended to help offset the pandemic’s economic impact on the county’s nonprofits, the review process focused heavily on budgets, revenues and expenses between 2019 and 2020. Organizations provided information about additional costs incurred in dealing with the pandemic, including safety equipment, technology for virtual programming, and home office costs. Reviewers also considered deficits, furloughed staff, emergency loans and federal funding in making award decisions.

Preference was also given to those organizations that had not yet received federal funding.

The complete list of grant recipients can be found on the next page.



About Madison Community Foundation: Madison Community Foundation’s mission is to enhance the common good through philanthropy. Established as a community trust in 1942, Madison Community Foundation, together with donors, has distributed more than

$250 million to strengthen causes and communities in Dane County and around the world. Learn more at madisongives.org.

Dane County COVID Relief Grant Recipients

100 Black Men of Madison


A Pay It Forward Foundation

Access Community Health Centers

AgeBetter SAIL-Sharing Active Independent Lives program

Aldo Leopold Nature Center

Allied Wellness Center

Alzheimer’s & Dementia Alliance of Wisconsin

Arts & Literature Laboratory

ARTS for ALL Wisconsin Arts Wisconsin

Association of Fundraising Professionals Greater Madison Chapter

Bach Dancing & Dynamite Society of WI

Badger Childhood Cancer Network

BadgerBOTS Robotics Corporation

Bayview Foundation

Bernie’s Place

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Dane County

Big Oak Child Care Center

Black Earth Children’s Museum

BlueStem Jazz

Boys & Girls Club of Dane County

Breast Cancer Recovery

Cambridge Community Activities Program

Cambridge K-12 PTO

Capital City Theatre

Catalyst For Change

Catalyst Project

Central Cross Country Skiing

Central Midwest Ballet

Centro Hispano of Dane County

CEOs of Tomorrow

Charles Hamilton Houston Institute

Children’s Theater of Madison


City of Madison Police K-9 Equine Partners

Clean Lakes Alliance

Coalition of Wisconsin Aging Groups

Combat Blindness International

Common Threads Family Resource Center

Common Wealth Development

Communication Madison

Community Action Coalition for South Central Wisconsin


Conquering CHD Wisconsin

Cottage Grove Volunteer Fire Department

Creative Community Living Services

Cultural Connections

Cycropia Aerial Dance

Dane County Fair Association

Dane Dances


Deerfield Community Center

Disability Pride Madison

Domestic Abuse Intervention Services (DAIS)

Doyenne Group

Easter Seals Wisconsin

Employment Resources

FairShare CSA Coalition

Families and Schools Together

First Tee – South Central Wisconsin

Forward Learning Youth and Young Adults

Friends of the Performing Arts Center

Friends of the UW Odyssey Project

Friends of Wisconsin Singers

Gay Straight Alliance for Safe Schools (GSAFE)

Gerald A Bartell Theatre

GiGi’s Playhouse-Madison

Girl Scouts of Wisconsin – Badgerland

Girls on the Run of South Central Wisconsin

Glacier’s Edge Council, BSA

Goodman Community Center

Goodwill Industries of South Central Wisconsin

Heartland Farm Sanctuary

HHU Xtra Care

Horizon High School, of Madison

Jewish Social Services

Judo-Jujitsu Madison

Junior Achievement of Wisconsin

Kanopy Dance Theatre

Koshkonong Prairie Historical Society

Latino Chamber of Commerce

Li Chiao-Ping Dance


Madison Area Children’s Dyslexia Center

Madison Area Food Pantry Gardens

Madison Area Youth Soccer Association

Madison Association of the Deaf

Madison Ballet

Madison Children’s Museum

Madison Choral Project

Madison Circus Space

Madison Elite Track Club

Madison Festivals

Madison Freewheel Bicycle Co

Madison Montessori Society

Madison Museum of Contemporary Art

Madison Northside Planning Council, FEED Kitchens

Madison Opera

Madison Reading Project Madison Roller Derby

Madison Trust for Historic Preservation

Madison Unicyclists

Madison Youth Arts Center

Madison Youth Choirs

Madison Youth Sailing Foundation


Maestro Productions

Make Music Madison

Mandt Community Center

Meeting House Nursery School

MellowHOOD Foundation

Middleton Community Orchestra

Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District Education Foundation

Mobility Training and Independent Living Program

MOM (Middleton Outreach Ministry)

Monroe Street Arts Center

More Smiles Wisconsin

Movin’ Out

Music Academy of Sun Prairie (d/b/a Prairie Music & Arts)

NAMI Dane County (National Alliance on Mental Illness)

National Mustard Museum

Norwegian American Genealogical Center & Naeseth Library

Omega School

One City Schools

Opera for the Young

Oregon Youth Center

Orion Family Services

Overture Center for the Arts



REAP Food Group

Red Caboose Child Care Center

RISE Wisconsin

Rooted WI

Safe Harbor Child Advocacy Center

SCORE Madison


Shalom Holistic Health Services / DBA Neighborhood Free Health Clinic

Sidekick Education

Slow Food UW

South Metropolitan Planning Council

Special Olympics Wisconsin

StartingBlock Madison

Stoughton Yoga

Sunshine Place Tellurian

The Business Forum Foundation

The Center for Photography at Madison

The Hmong Institute

The Memory Project

The Progressive

The Rainbow Project

The River Food Pantry

The Wisconsin Union Association

Theater Bus

Three Gaits

TNW Ensemble Theater

Today Not Tomorrow

Token Creek Festival

Tri 4 Schools

University Avenue Daycare

University Houses Preschool

Urban Community Arts Network, Ltd.

Urban Tree Alliance

Urban Triage

Vera Court Neighborhood Center

Verona Area Community Theater


Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts & Letters

Wisconsin Center for Performance Excellence (WCPE)

Wisconsin Chamber Choir

Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra

Wisconsin Historical Foundation

Wisconsin Masonic Center Foundation

Wisconsin School Music Association

Wisconsin Veterans Museum Foundation

Wisconsin Youth Company

Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras

Woodland Montessori School

Work Opportunity in Rural Communities

Worker Justice Wisconsin

YMCA of Dane County


Subscribe to Inspire!

Join our mailing list to receive regular updates!