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Grants given out to prevent crime in Brown County

By Ben Rodgers

BROWN COUNTY – Local law enforcement leaders came together once again to provide funds for crime prevention in the county Wednesday, Sept. 25.

The Crime Prevention Foundation of Brown County and the Crime Prevention Funding Board awarded $42,000 in grants to 16 recipients at an annual awards banquet.

“It’s the 17th year we’ve given out grants,” said Tom Hinz, chair of the grant committee and founding member of the foundation. “It’s one of those events when you walk out of there where you feel much better than when you walked in, and that’s our organization’s goal. One of the things I like about it is it gives the people in attendance a chance to see the good will being extended out in our community.”

The Crime Prevention Foundation of Brown County has a board of directors made up of community leaders, including law enforcement.

The group works to raise funds all year and give them out to programs that strive to prevent crime.

“We look at the crime triangle,” Hinz said. “The three arms of the crime triangle are the desire to commit a crime, the opportunity to commit a crime, and the ability to commit a crime. So if you can eliminate one of those arms in the triangle, we will consider it.”

This year the foundation gave $25,000 in grants to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Wisconsin, Greater Green Bay YMCA, Boy’s and Girl’s Club of Greater Green Bay, Foundations Health and Wholeness, the Green Bay Police Department, Children’s Museum of Green Bay, Volunteer Center of Brown County, Children’s Promise, Foxview Intermediate School and HSHS St. Vincent/St. Mary’s Foundation.

Hinz said it’s more than tools to help law enforcement, but supporting programs that improve the environment for citizens in the community.

“It’s giving somebody an opportunity to really get out of the circle that’s enclosed them for a number of years,” he said.

Hinz spends time at the YMCA and the Micah Center and said if people are provided a chance to better their lives, it will help prevent crime in the future.

“Go down to the Y on Friday night after 5 p.m. and see the diversity of the program they provide for young kids and families to help build self-esteem and confidence for them to become good young citizens.”

To date, the foundation has provided 156 grants totaling more than $261,000 for local crime prevention programs.

Thanks to a state statute adopted by the Brown County Board of Supervisors three years ago, when people aren’t good citizens and convicted of a misdemeanor or felony charge, they pay a $20 fee that goes to the Crime Prevention Funding Board.

This year the board provided $17,000 in grants to Ashwaubenon Public Safety, MacArthur Heights Neighborhood Association, the Bellevue Police Department, the De Pere Police Department and Green Bay Area CrimeStoppers.

Hinz said it is widely believed that every dollar spent on crime prevention saves taxpayers $10 in costs for incarceration and treatment for offenders, but the total saved is probably higher.

“If you can do something upfront with a dollar investment that saves $10, $15 at the other end and at the same time it benefits somebody’s life, that benefit may carry onto the next generation,” he said.

The two awarding groups work with the Greater Green Bay Community Fund (GGBCF), which organizes funding requests, gathers background information and presents the board with the best candidates each year.

“Annually we receive dozens of requests because it does vary each year and it’s pretty wide-ranging,” said Amber Paluch, vice president of community engagement for GGBCF. “Especially interesting about this program is that they will consider a really wide-ranging group of requests.”

Paluch said the group does well by focusing on the crime triangle and looking at all aspects when considering what groups to award grants to.

“It’s interesting, you can have something like CrimeStoppers as work done in the schools and putting up banners, things like that, but then you have the other side where there’s mentorship programs,” she said. “It’s interesting how they really appreciate the work that goes on in the community that has an underlying impact on crime that isn’t immediately recognizable.”

Those interested in making a donation to the foundation can drop off or mail a donation to GGBCF, 320 N. Broadway, Suite 260, Green Bay, WI 54303.

They can also visit ggbcf.org and click on “Give Today” in the upper right corner.

Groups interested in applying to receive a grant from the foundation grant program, can go to ggbcf.org/CrimePreventionFoundation.

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