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The Wisconsin Partnership Program supports community-driven work and recognizes that successful research and interventions depend on engaging communities as partners. Since its creation in 2004, the Wisconsin Partnership Program has infused more than $96 million in grant funding into nearly 300 community organizations and initiatives across the state.

These grants have helped implement a wide range of initiatives that align with the Wisconsin Idea and work toward the Partnership Program's overarching goal of improving the health and well-being of Wisconsinites.

The Partnership Program currently administers two competitive community grant programs, each with a unique approach toward improving the health of the people of Wisconsin.

  • Community Collaboration Grants provide organizations with training and technical assistance to address health inequities stemming from the social determinants of health. To be eligible, organizations must be led by the community impacted by the inequities and face high health equity needs in their community.
  • Community Impact Grants provide up to $1 million over five years to support large-scale, evidence-based, community-academic partnerships aimed at achieving sustainable policy, systems and/or environmental changes that will improve health, health-equity and well-being in Wisconsin.

Five-Year Plan

Learn more about the Wisconsin Partnership Program’s vision, mission and values as well as its goals and grant-making strategies as described in the 2019-2024 Five-Year Plan.

View the plan (pdf)

Community Collaboration Grant Program

The Community Collaboration grant program is a collaboration between and among grantees, the Partnership Program, and other UW System partners to bring the knowledge of community partners to the university, and to bring the resources of the university to community grantees—the Wisconsin Idea in action.

The goal of this grant program is to learn from and build trust with communities to advance health equity by collaboratively enhancing capacity, and increasing and strengthening partnership by working closely with grantees and providing training, technical assistance and funding. Grantees receive support as they strengthen and expand current assets and partnerships, build their infrastructure, and take action towards sustainable change.

Grant awards: The maximum award for this grant is $400,000, over four years.

Applicant eligibility: This grant program brings the resources of the University of Wisconsin to communities statewide by connecting grantees with potential academic partners, programs and resources. Eligibility requirements for the Community Collaboration Grants Program reflect our commitment to supporting organizations led by communities facing significant inequities.

The Community Lead Organization must:

  • Be either a Wisconsin-based, nonprofit, tax exempt, 501(c)(3) organization, tribe or government entity. Foundations and fiscal agents are not eligible to apply.
  • Be led by the community impacted by health inequities. The Partnership Program believes that improving health outcomes means shifting the upstream conditions that create these inequities and those solutions need to be driven by communities most impacted by inequities.
  • Be willing and able to commit time to relationship and partnership building, listening, co-creating knowledge, asset-based community development, training, capacity building and technical assistance activities

2022 grants

The Community Collaboration Grant Requests for Proposals will be released in 2022. Please check back for updated timeline and information. Sign up for our e-newsletter for updates.

Community Impact Grant Program

The overarching goal of the Community Impact Grant Program is to advance health equity in Wisconsin communities by supporting community-academic partnership initiatives that address the social determinants of health and root causes of health inequities and are informed and implemented by those most impacted by them.

Social determinants of health — economic stability, social and community context, access to health services and healthcare, neighborhoods and the built environment and education — have a strong and scientifically proven impact on human health and well-being. The structures, policies, systems and environments that guide our daily lives shape these determinants and can enhance or impede our health. Many of the complex health issues we face are rooted in structural inequities that affect the health status of a group due to their race, geographic location, income, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation.

In alignment with the Wisconsin Idea, we believe that bridging the expertise and resources of the university with the lived experiences and expertise of communities strengthens our ability to successfully address and influence health and advance health equity.

Addressing COVID-19

Our world has changed significantly since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact of the virus has hurt some communities more than others. Data illustrating this impact is still emerging but we do know that those communities hardest hit include families who have experienced deaths from COVID-19, adolescent populations who are experiencing social and emotional health challenges at high rates, rural communities that tend to have higher rates of cigarette smoking, high blood pressure, and obesity as well as less access to healthcare and lower access to health insurance.

The pandemic has also brought social and racial injustice and inequities to the forefront of public health. It has highlighted that health equity is still not a reality as COVID-19 has disproportionately affected many racial and ethnic minority groups, putting them at greater risk from getting sick and dying from COVID-19.

While these communities have been harder hit by the pandemic, they are also profoundly resilient and have vital assets that should be supported, amplified and replicated. We ask that our applicants address the impact of COVID-19 on the communities and populations they seek to support for this award program. 

Revised application process

A revised application process involves two stages, including an online application and a presentation to the Oversight and Advisory Committee. Progressing beyond the written application stage is by invitation only.

Grant awards: maximum of $1 million over five years

Applicant eligibility: Eligibility requirements for the Community Impact Grants Program reflect the Oversight and Advisory Committee’s focus on funding projects with significant potential for impact. Please see the RfP for explanations and further detail.

Community partners must:

  • Be Wisconsin-based, nonprofit, tax exempt, 501(c)(3) organizations or government agencies
  • Have an established community-academic partnership
  • Actively participate in an existing coalition or network, committed to helping advance the goals of the proposed initiative
  • Have the financial capacity to oversee and manage the project. For this request for partnership we are defining “financial capacity” as operating a current annual budget of $500,000 or more

While many organizations that engage in public health and well-being efforts may not meet the “lead community applicant” eligibility criteria for this specific funding mechanism, they may still participate in the proposed work as partners and collaborators.

Academic partners must meet one of the following criterion:

  • UW School of Medicine and Public Health tenure-track, clinical/health sciences or clinician-teacher faculty
  • UW-Madison faculty, academic staff or emeritus professor with approval of a department chair or center director, and have or acquire Principal Investigator status
  • Other UW System faculty, including UW Extension, with principal investigator status with an institutional review board of record

Start an application

Continue an application

Key dates and deadlines

  • July 1, 2021: Request for partnerships released
  • Aug. 16, 2021: Stage 1: Written submission due
  • Week of Oct. 11, 2021: Invitation to next stage
  • Nov. 17, 2021: Stage 2: Presentation to the Oversight and Advisory Committee (OAC)
  • Nov. 18, 2021: Final vote of the OAC
  • Jan. 1, 2022: Earliest project start date

Past recipients