Changing the Neighborhood Game: Fourth FCI “Game Changer” Grant Goes to Neighborhood House in Milwaukee


    FCI Promotional

    The video above was produced by Neighborhood House as part of their application for a Game Changer Grant.

    Forward Community Investments has awarded a Game Changer grant for the month of April, to Neighborhood House of Milwaukee and its Teens on the Move Canvassing Project.

    The Canvassing Project, which began in 2016, has been employing and empowering teens of color from working class backgrounds, who often have not been employed before

    The project pays teens an hourly rate to go door-to-door surveying their local community on the needs Neighborhood House could fill as well as teaching the neighbors about the services already offered.

    “Teens get a deeper sense of their community by interacting with people in the neighborhood,” said Neighborhood House director of development, Claire Von Fossen. “I think it makes them better community citizens and more aware citizens. We really see them grow in terms of their self-confidence and their professionalism”

    The $3,000 grant will be used to fund the teens’ wages as well as canvassing supplies such a clipboards, name tags, and t-shirts.

    Teens also receive paid training and develop elevator pitches based on their own experience at Neighborhood House.

    “It’s a really good opportunity for them to develop a voice and speak out about their experiences,” said Von Fosse

    Most of the teens come from the surrounding neighborhood or Neighborhood House’s after school teen programs.

    Van Fossen said the Game Changer program helps small organizations maximize their impact.

    “There are a lot of initiatives in the city that are small in scale but highly impactful that deserve support, but run into barriers procuring support because of their size, scale, or newness. I think the Game Changer Grant are giving opportunities to all of those incredible initiatives,” said Von Fossen.

    This is the fourth Game Changer grant awarded by FCI. Previous grants went to Fit Oshkosh, which does racial literacy training throughout the Fox Valley, and the Workers Rights Center to fund the Wage Theft Monitor Program.

    More than 50 organizations submitted videos for the first round of grants. What makes the program especially unique is that it’s not just a one-time award; instead, one $3,000 grant winner will be announced monthly throughout 2017.

    In its capacity as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), Forward Community Investments builds stronger and healthier communities by providing loans, advising, and grants to mission-based organizations that address the root causes of racial inequities and socioeconomic disparities. FCI supports initiatives that improve equity and make positive change possible. Its vision is an equitable and inclusive Wisconsin built on cooperative social action. For more information about FCI, go to