Frequently Asked Questions


What is La Crosse Promise?

La Crosse Promise is a non-profit organization working to economically transform La Crosse, Wisconsin and improve the quality of life for all citizens through a strong commitment to education. This transformation is taking place through a scholarship program for families that build, buy, or renovate a home in the Washburn and PPH Neighborhoods.

In addition, its Future Centers provide career guidance and post-secondary education planning for high school students in the School District of La Crosse to ensure their future career success.

Why is La Crosse Promise part of the solution?

We must start to truly work together as one strong, regional economy.  La Crosse Promise Advisors and Board members presented Challenging Trends Facing La Crosse County and the Need for Regional Solutions in 2009 about the need to reverse trends that are affecting La Crosse’s growth and development.  Read

Together, we work with the City, the County, and the School District of La Crosse to make our region a better place for all of us.

Home Renovation – Neighborhood Program

Would a home qualify if it was built or renovated by a developer but I am the first person to move in?

Yes. A builder can purchase a lot or home and develop it. A family should make their offer to purchase this home contingent upon being accepted as a La Crosse Promise Family. Once their conditional offer to purchase has been accepted, they can complete and submit their La Crosse Promise application.

What types of properties are excluded in this phase of the program?

Manufacturing and commercial properties are excluded, as are rental properties not being converted to owner occupied under the proposed construction activities.

Do I need to get pre-qualified for a loan first?

The La Crosse Promise Neighborhood Scholarship Program is designed for any qualifying homeowners or home buyers who have the financial ability to renovate their current home, buy and renovate an existing house, or purchase a lot and build a new home.

Your very first task is to visit one or more qualified mortgage lenders of your choice to get pre-qualified. Practically speaking, you can expect to pay more than $175,000 to build a very simple home on a Promise lot, so make sure you qualify for a mortgage before going too far into the process. This also is the case for buying a spec home.

Once you have been pre-approved, we urge you to contact us if you need assistance. We have volunteers available with expertise in home construction, real estate, and design.

Call us at 608.789.2049 or via email

What if my new home is destroyed (by fire, storm damage, etc.) and we are required to rent or move out of the district for a time?

An appeals board will review special circumstances.

Future Centers/Scholarships

Where are the La Crosse Promise Scholarship eligible neighborhoods?

Current La Crosse Promise Neighborhoods

Powell-Poage-Hamilton Neighborhood: Jackson Street (northern border), west side of West Avenue (eastern border), South Avenue (western and southern borders).

Washburn Neighborhood:  South side of Main Street (northern border), west side of West Ave. (eastern border), 3rd Street (western border), Jackson Street (southern border).

How do I apply for a La Crosse Promise scholarship?

Once you have selected  a lot or home to purchase and have a closing date, request an application from us. If you are renovating a home you own, we will accept applications when we receive contractor bids with cost estimations of your improvements. The home must be in the Powell-Poage-Hamilton or Washburn neighborhoods in La Crosse, WI. 

Request an application: Email us at or call 608.789-2049. Once you have done one of the following:

Purchase Lot: Purchase a lot, receive approval for a construction loan, and have approved plans for the new structure that will be valued at least $175,000.

Purchase New Home: Purchase (and close on) a new home in the neighborhood that is valued at $175,000 or more. Proof of loan approval required.

Renovation plans:  Submit contractor bid for improvements of a minimum of $30,000 or $60,000 or more for a home you own in the select neighborhoods.

Please contact us to verify that the home qualifies for the scholarship. We cannot determine your eligibility to receive scholarship dollars prior to receiving an application.

Once you submit an application, it will be reviewed for approval within 60 days.  Additional requirements must be met in order to receive the scholarship distribution. View our guidelines and policies for more information.

Current Eligible Properties for Sale

Does the Future Center serve students at Aquinas and Luther high schools?

Yes! While we do not have a Future Center at these schools, we do serve those students who live in the School District of La Crosse and attend Aquinas and Luther.

We are here to help students with college and career plans.  Students or parents may contact their advisors to set up a personal appointment:
Aquinas and Luther Students: Call Kathi Millard at 608.789.2054 or contact
Can a parent or older adult receive a La Crosse Promise scholarship?

Beginning in 2016, the La Crosse Promise Scholarship is now available for adult learners who are on the deed of a La Crosse Promise home.  View our policies on this page.