Each year WBD invests in projects/activities/organizations with specific efforts aligned with our mission to Grow Businesses, Create Jobs and Build Communities. While the amount of investment varies depending on the success of the organization each year, WBD is committed to identifying and supporting a variety of efforts throughout our service area. You can also view our Opportunity Fund Brochure for more detailed information.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where do you get your money? As a nonprofit corporations, these investments are one of the major uses of any “net bottom line” we generate each year.
Who can apply for funds? Any nonprofit organization focused on supporting small business development with activities in Wisconsin, Minnesota or the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
What can the money be used for? Investments shall be consistent with the shared WBD/504 mission of creating and retaining jobs.
Following are several examples;
- Workforce development and job training programs
- Providing capital and/or financial resources to under served markets
- Small Business Incubators
- Technical Assistance Provides such as Small Business Development Centers, Veteran’s Business Outreach Centers, Women’s Business Centers, and/or the Service Corps of Retired Executives
- Contributions to other local nonprofits that provide grants and/or entrepreneurial training to small businesses or scholarships to students for participation in such entrepreneurial training programs
- Revolving Loan Funds as direct loans or matching funds for a federal, state or local program
- Downtown revitalization projects
- Financing economic impact studies to enable or document local economic development efforts
These examples are guidelines, but other efforts that support the growth or development of small business that creates jobs will also be considered.
Can you provide more detail on non eligible uses for the grant funds (e.g., capital improvements vs. operating/staff costs, etc.)?
A: Funds cannot be used for:
- Capital improvements (for example, purchasing a building)
- Providing funding directly to entrepreneurs (investing in an entrepreneurs business)
- Activities outside the United States
- Indirect costs
We can approve an exception to the indirect costs rule up to 10% of the total budget depending on the project and specific circumstances. We will work with final candidates to discuss these possible costs in later application rounds.
How much can I get? Typical WBD investments range from $5,000 - $50,000. WBD will consider a multi year commitment in some cases.
How much is available? This varies from year to year. From 2019-2021 WBD made over $680,000 of investments.
What does the investment cycle look like at WBD? Our fiscal year begins October 1st. Since our investments are directly tied to our business success, we do not know exactly what our budget for investing until our annual Audit is completed. However, we will make an estimate in February and refine the estimate as the year progresses. All commitments for investments will be completed each year by Sept 30.
When should I apply? WBD has a committee to review requests that meets at least quarterly. (Generally, November, February, May and September). The committee can take action to recommend investments at any meeting. All recommended investments must approved by the Board of Directors. With limited resources, smart applicants will submit an application as early as possible in our cycle. The last day each year to submit an application for consideration for funding in that year will be August 15. Applications received between Aug 15 – October 1, may be held for consideration for funding in the following Fiscal Year if appropriate.
What sort of follow-up does WBD require? Each request must state a clear goal and agreement to provide results-based reporting. Details of the actual results of the effort compared to projected results must be included. The expectations for required reporting will be discussed with each grantee.
Who can I talk to if I have questions? Reach out to Lance Walter, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications at email@example.com or 608-316-7156.