Voices from the Valley: A podcast of the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region
Welcoming Afghani Families

Welcoming Afghani Families

December 8, 2021

In this episode we hear from Tami McLaughlin, executive director of World Relief Fox Valley about the resettlement of people from Afghanistan seeking refuge and starting a new life in our communities. 

It’s difficult for us to imagine the trauma these newcomers had to experience in their country, and they didn’t plan on being uprooted and evacuated to the U.S. Now, the first of many have come here, and more are coming. 

Tami shares what you need to know about our newest neighbors, what they’ve been through, and the challenges they face as they make the Fox Valley their new home.

Links to this episode at: https://www.cffoxvalley.org/podcast/welcoming-afghani-families/ 

Affordable Housing Crisis

Affordable Housing Crisis

November 23, 2021

In this episode, and over the next several weeks, we’re going to explore a critical topic in our local communitiesThe affordable housing crisis. An increasing number of families are in a desperate search for an affordable, safe home to buy or rent, or to prevent eviction from their current home. 

An estimated one of every three households in our region struggles to afford basic needs, like shelter, food, technology, transportation and health care. Even when residents have an income from their job, it’s just not enough to meet the rising costs of mortgages and rents, to help them stay in or find new housing.

Our housing crisis episodes will capture the work done in a series reports done by the New News Lab, a partnership of local and state newsrooms supported by strategic partners (including the Community Foundation), all working together to support local journalism and help us get a grasp of just how huge this issue is in our area.

Links for this episode at www.cffoxvalley.org/podcast/affordable-housing-crisis/

Trails: Connecting Communities

Trails: Connecting Communities

November 3, 2021

The Fox Valley region is full of walking and biking trails that connect our communities. But who uses them and are they accessible to all? And what should we be thinking about when it comes to making improvements so that more people can enjoy all that our communities have to offer? How do we begin talking about terms like, "Environmental Justice," and "Transportation Equity?"

There are so many ways people are getting involved in these projects, from generous donors who are supporting these projects financially, to local leaders and environmental specialists who are rolling up their sleeves to talk about the best way to improve trails in the Fox Valley. Last year, a Fox Cities Trail Summit  organized by the nonprofit Fox Cities Greenways and the East Central Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission, was funded by a grant from the Bright Idea Fund within the Community Foundation.   Here’s what he had to say: 

One way to engage in this topic is TAKE THIS SURVEY about a new pedestrian/bicycle route along the northern edge of Lake Winnebago, linking communities to High Cliff State Park.

  • at 1:26  Cheryl Zadrazil, Fox Cities Greenways, Inc
  • at 2:40  Michelle Bachaus, Wisconsin BIke Federation
  • at 7:45 Chris Langenfeld, Heckrodt Wetland Reserve
  • at 8:00  Erin Schultz, SOAR Fox Cities
  • at 9:00  Janelle Jung
  • at 13:12  Jason Brozek, Lawrence University

More on our website, www.cffoxvalley.org/podcast/trails-connecting-communities/ 

Healthy Smiles For All

Healthy Smiles For All

October 20, 2021

It’s estimated that there are over 85,000 people in the tri-county area of Northeast Wisconsin who cannot afford even limited oral health care. And according to the Dental Association, about a third of all children in the state of Wisconsin have untreated tooth decay. The dental community wanted to do something about that. For the past two decades, volunteer dentists and dental hygienists have been offering their services free of charge through the Tri-County Community Dental Clinic.

Several years ago, the clinic decided to hit the road, and bring dental care to children in our community who need it the most. and they’re doing it on a bus. 

  • at 1:56   Jeff Buchta, Executive Director of Tri-County Dental
  • at 4:46    Kayla Poxleitner, Hygiene Volunteer Coordinator
  • at 12:36  Erin Choudior, Former Program Manager
  • At 14:35  Ann Engelhard, Vice President of Donor Services and Gift Planning, Community Foundation

More links and resources on our website at  https://www.cffoxvalley.org/podcast/healthy-smiles-for-all/ 

Caregivers: Room for Grace

Caregivers: Room for Grace

October 6, 2021

With memory loss comes new challenges in caring for your loved one’s physical and emotional needs, and caring for your own. That’s often a missing piece in the caregiver’s journey.  According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 60% of these caregivers rank their emotional stress as high or very high and many are suffering from depression. 

For Deb and George, the  unexpected journey has often been one of helplessness, guilt, and anxiety, but also one full of love and tenderness. Thanks to programs like the Fox Valley Memory Project and REACH, caregivers are no longer alone.

  • at 2:37 Deb Depies and George Butz, caregivers for their spouses with memory loss.
  • at 9:19 Heather Flick and Susan Kazik, REACH Caregiver Coaches
  • at 19:40 Jackie Gonzalez, Clinic/Care Coordinator, Mosaic Family Health

More links and resources on our website at https://www.cffoxvalley.org/podcast/caregivers-room-for-grace/ 

Gresham‘s Hope

Gresham‘s Hope

September 22, 2021

In this episode we take you to the small community of Gresham Wisconsin, a town of fewer than 600 people. For the past 20 years, young people graduating from Gresham High School have been given an opportunity to pursue their dreams. And it’s all because people in Gresham and its surrounding neighbors have decided that its young people are worth investing in.  Listen to how an incredible community initiative has come about, giving Gresham residents a chance to build a treasure for their next generations.

  • at 2:24 Meet Mindy Hoffman, Gresham grad and Physical Therapist.
  • at 9:19 Alex Aschenbrener, Gresham Student.
  • at 13:16 Debbie Schroeder Fisher comes full circle.

More links and resources on our website at https://www.cffoxvalley.org/podcast/greshams-hope/

Our Story

Our Story

August 31, 2021

What does a Community Foundation do? In this first episode of Voices from the Valley, we share our story, and discuss:

  • at 3:07 How the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region got its start in 1986
  • at 19:23 Our Story Today: What Voices from the Valley is all about

Your hosts: Amy Spreeman, Marketing Technologist Carolyn Desrosiers, Community Engagement Manager

Featured Voices

Curt Detjen, President and CEO

Char Sigman Char and her husband Bob started one of the first funds at the Community Foundation, and Char was one of the first board members back in 1986.

Walt Rugland, Jr. Walt's father, Walter Rugland, Senior, had a vision for a community foundation in the Fox Valley, and helped us launch this nonprofit organization.

Tammy Geenen, Vice President of Community Engagement

Learn more


Have an idea for our next podcast?

“Our Story”

“Our Story”

August 23, 2021

Welcome to Voices from the Valley, a podcast of the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region. What does a Community Foundation do? One of our roles in the Fox Valley Region is to connect people and organizations, bringing them together to learn and about big issues, problem solve, and also celebrate things we care about that enrich our quality of life.

This podcast gives us a unique opportunity to not only share them but to help our listeners hear directly from the people closest to these issues.   In this debut episode of Voices from the Valley, we share Our Story, and discuss how the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region got its start in 1986.

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