Your Dream Our Promise.


La Crosse Promise is a non-profit organization working to economically transform La Crosse, Wis., and improve the quality of life for all citizens through a strong commitment to education.

Families that build or renovate a home in select La Crosse neighborhoods will receive up to $50,000 in college scholarships through the La Crosse Promise Neighborhood Program.

For many families, owning a home and sending children to college are only dreams. La Crosse Promise is committed to making those dreams come true.

In addition, our Future Centers, located in La Crosse high schools, help students with college applications, financial aid forms, scholarships, and other resources to maximize their potential for career success.

Education is the Key

An education-minded community is more likely to experience decreased crime, improved health, more family stability and increased civic involvement. Participating in this program will demonstrate a commitment to education that will give children a better chance at having financially stable lives as adults.

Be a Part of the Neighborhood

By joining in the revitalization of La Crosse neighborhoods, families will experience a more close-knit community and the convenience of living close to historic downtown La Crosse, with many amenities just a walk or bike ride away.

Major employers • Great schools • Beautiful riverfront parks • Libraries and community centers • Top-rated restaurants • Unique shopping experiences • Entertainment • Outdoor Recreation

My wife and I work hard to provide the right home and a good education for our children. This program lets us have both, and it is wonderful to have this opportunity.”

– Phil Johnson

Peace of Mind

It is never too early to invest in a child’s education. The cost of post-secondary education continues to increase, so locking in a scholarship now for a grade-school or middle-school child will provide years of financial peace of mind. The La Crosse Promise Neighborhood Program is offering a unique opportunity to earn a significant scholarship for a child to pursue further education after high school.

A $50,000 scholarship is equivalent to saving $250 per month in a college fund for 12 years.

Safeguarded Fund

La Crosse Promise awards a scholarship only after the full scholarship amount has been raised, thus guaranteeing the availability of those funds when the student graduates. This fund is being invested and safeguarded by community leaders who have committed to support this program.

Program Supporters

  • Mayors of La Crosse and Onalaska, Wis.
  • Superintendent, School District of La Crosse
  • Administrator, County of La Crosse
  • Board Chair, County of La Crosse
  • Representatives of Gundersen Health System, Mayo Clinic Health System, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, Viterbo University, Western Technical College
  • 11 area lending institutions
  • La Crosse Neighborhood Development Corporation
A Great Place to Live

My wife and I used to live in the suburbs. Then we Looked at a house near downtown La Crosse, fell in love, and moved in within six months. The convenience is tremendous. Our five kids can walk or bike to any team practice or school activity. My wife is four blocks from her work and I am seven blocks from mine. I didn’t realize how much I disliked the commute until I didn’t have to do it anymore. Now we have more time with our kids because none of us have the commute.”

– Charlie Handy

A Great Place to Live

Families living near downtown La Crosse will enjoy a vibrant lifestyle that is more convenient, sustainable and community oriented.

  • Nearby bike paths & outdoor recreation
  • Shorter commute = lower carbon footprint
  • More time for family, neighborhood connection, and meaningful after-work activities
  • Close proximity to entertainment, cultural events, and great locally owned restaurants
  • Weekly farmer’s market a few blocks away
More than 900 thriving businesses are located within walking distance of these neighborhoods.

Excellent Schools

The School District of La Crosse has excellent curriculum delivered by top-notch staff with small class sizes.

  • Preschool collaboration with local childcare agencies preparing 4 year olds for school
  • Wide variety of co-curricular activities in athletics, academics and arts
  • Global educational diversity: Four world languages taught – Spanish, French, German, and Chinese – as well as international business courses
  • More than 200 different high school courses, from basics skills to Advanced Placement


  • All teachers take college-level courses to improve knowledge and skills
  • More than 50 percent of teachers have advanced degrees
  • Many district teachers have received state and national honors
  • Small class sizes enhance student learning
  • International teacher exchange programs increase cultural awareness


La Crosse Promise is currently accepting applications for families that build, buy or renovate a single-family home within specific neighborhoods. The family must contribute a minimum of $150,000 in project investment through personal resources or market-rate financing. The total maximum lifetime scholarship for an individual student is $25,000. The maximum lifetime amount awarded to a family is $50,000. The scholarship may be used at any regionally accredited public or private college in the state of Wisconsin.

To get started, request an application by contacting La Crosse Promise via email or by calling (608) 792-1137.

How It Works

Build a New House

Meet with a lender to get pre-qualified
Request a Build Family application from La Crosse Promise
Choose a lot
Submit the La Crosse Promise application for approval
Choose a house plan
Obtain a cost estimate
Purchase the lot
Submit a copy of the contractor bid
Complete project within one year
Live in the home for at least four years

Renovate an Existing House

Meet with a lender to get pre-qualified
Request a Build Family application from La Crosse Promise
Choose a home, or renovate your current home
Talk to contractors and obtain a cost estimate
Submit an application and intentions for the renovation to La Crosse Promise
After receiving our approval, purchase the home
Complete project within one year
Live in the home for at least four years

Still have questions?  View our Frequently Asked Questions and La Crosse Promise Policies.

Support Along the Way

La Crosse Promise will help program participants every step of the way – from finding a builder to securing financing.

Nearly a dozen local bank and credit union lenders have teamed up to provide financing for program participants. These lenders have agreed to raise the loan-to-value threshold requirement for mortgage insurance from 80% to 95%, for qualified borrowers, saving families as much as $100 every month.

In addition, some employers offer additional incentives and financial assistance for employees to help cover costs of buying and building.

The City of La Crosse offers free house plans for Neighborhood Program families. These designs meet City building standards and will quickly pass the permitting process.