Our Story

Over the Years

Nov 2006-jan 2007
  • County Economic Development Teams learn about Kalamazoo Promise

  • The idea of bringing a similar program to La Crosse is discussed and a staff workgroup is formed
April-June 2008
  • RFP for La Crosse Promise Economic Impact Study released with funding* raised by local organizations

  • W.E. Upjohn Institute of Kalamazoo MI to complete an Economic Impact Study
February 2009
  • Final Economic Impact Study from W.E. Upjohn Institute presented to workgroup which suggested a three component program

  • Future Centers
  • Community Development
  • Scholarship Program
aug 2009-feb 2010
  • Challenging Trend Report finalized for presentation, illustrating  the challenges** faced

    First interim Board of Advisors for La Crosse Promise is created. They presented the report at “change-makers breakfast”, to the County Board, City Council and Board of the La Crosse School District

april-may 2010
  • La Crosse Promise Foundation Articles of Incorporation are filed. A grant application is submitted to the La Crosse Community Foundation

    RFP for marketing and Branding work*** was released

june-aug 2010
  • Synergy Leadership Group is hired to complete marketing/branding work

    Fundraising Committee meets with potential donors. La Crosse Community Foundation commits to funding $100,000/year for 10 years

feb-june 2011
  • Janice Brown visits La Crosse to share the story of Kalamazoo Promise with the Board and potential donors

    Economic Development & Housing Committee becomes the joint City/County Housing Task Force which drafts a report on how to address housing stock issues in the city

october 2011
  • Work begins on drafting a new business plan for La Crosse Promise – a two-phase approach focusing on

  • Implemention of Future Centers

  • Continuing to develop a scholarship program
january 2012
  • Initial meeting with a permanent Board of Directors for La Crosse Promise

  • Grant application submitted to the La Crosse Community Foundation for funding Phase 1 of the Business Plan (Future Centers). Fundraising “asks” of private donors for Phase 1 of Business Plan starts

May 2012
  • Initial fundraising goal is met

    A press conference is called to announce the existence of La Crosse Promise to the public, and the plan on implementation of Future Centers in the fall

  • Shift focus from a place-based universal scholarship to a step approach that would start with “Build Scholarship” and grow from there

    This approach more directly addresses the issues we are facing with our neighborhoods

  • Announcement of La Crosse Promise Build and Renovate Scholarship Program thanks to three anonymous donors, each committing $500,000 to the program

    La Crosse County started the Aquisition & Demolition Grant Program to help prepare lots for redevelopment

*Study funding raised from: Community Foundation, Public Education Foundation, Coulee Bank, Mayo Clinic Health System, Gundersen Health System, Altra Credit Union, Viterbo University, UWL Foundation, Western Foundation, Centurylink, Trustpoint, Dairyland Power, US Bank, City of La Crosse, La Crosse County and the School District of La Crosse.

**Challenges include tax disparities, concentrations of poverty, inefficient development patterns, neighborhood deterioration, educational attainment levels, etc.

***Funding raised by: Logistics Health, Coulee Bank, Mayo Clinic Health System, Luther High School, Aquinas Catholic Schools, School District of La Crosse, City of La Crosse and County of La Crosse.