Crawford County Community Fund Grant Helps Couleecap, Inc. Offer Unemployment Assistance During COVID-19

With help from a $3,000 grant from the Crawford County Community Fund, a component of the Community Foundation of Southern Wisconsin, Couleecap Inc. has expanded its COVID-19 Financial Assistance Program to those unemployed in Crawford and Monroe Counties. The program, which was launched in LaCrosse and Vernon Counties in late March, helps low-to-moderate wage workers whose employment has been ended or reduced due to the COVID-19 public health emergency. Small business owners may also apply for assistance for their personal expenses. In addition to the Crawford County Community Fund’s grant award, additional funds from the Great Rivers United Way and an anonymous donor will be used for critical expenses, such as rent or mortgage payments, car payments, medical or prescription bills, utility bills, and more.

“Many people in the Coulee Region lived paycheck to paycheck even before this emergency, leaving them unable to build savings that they can rely on as they become unemployed,” says Ashley Lacenski, Community Development Director for Couleecap. “It takes time for state and federal resources to make it into people’s hands and this is why it’s important for people to have access to help now so they don’t fall behind on bills.”

Qualified participants need to complete a simple, online application to determine recent unemployment, income eligibility, and critical needs of the household. All participants will be provided referrals to the Wisconsin Unemployment Office, other government programs for which participants can apply, and local resources, such as food pantries. Program participants will also receive information on emergency and unemployment budgeting, including tips for reducing or eliminating expenses during a crisis.

“We cannot thank the Crawford County Community Fund, Great Rivers United Way and donors enough,” says Hetti Brown, Executive Director of Couleecap. “Their support enables us to respond quickly and flexibly to meet the needs of our neighbors.”

Residents seeking assistance can complete an application at General household information, recent pay statements, and documentation of reduced or terminated employment will be required. For phone assistance, residents may contact Sara Berger at 608-632-6512 but given the volume of calls Couleecap is receiving, online assistance will be faster. Funding is limited and, therefore, the highest needs will be determined through the application process.

Couleecap, Inc. is a private non-profit 501c3 charitable organization. Couleecap helps people in need with housing, food, transportation, and more. Created in 1966, we are a community action program that fights poverty and promotes self-sufficiency in Crawford, La Crosse, Monroe, and Vernon counties.

The Crawford County Community Fund was established in 2008 as a permanent endowment that provides support for future economic development and community needs in Crawford County. Since its creation, it has awarded more than $55,000 in grants to local non-profits that have had significant impact within the county. The Fund is a component of the Community Foundation of Southern Wisconsin – a 501(c)(3) charitable organization with assets in excess of $60 million – which serves to match charitable donors with the needs of communities in the following counties: Rock, Walworth, Crawford, Iowa, Lafayette, Green, Grant, and Vernon. For more information on the Crawford County Community Fund or the Foundation, visit or call (608) 758-0883. To make a gift to the Crawford County Community Fund, visit

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