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“Things worthwhile generally don’t just happen. Luck is a fact, but should not be a factor. Good luck is what is left over after
intelligence and effort have combined at their best… Luck is the residue of design.” — Branch Rickey

After 18 months, and more than 80 submitted applications, grant writing for the Howard-Suamico School District and the communities of Howard and Suamico has evolved from an idea to a carefully designed process.

The creation of policies and procedures, along with continuing educational opportunities, and a mindset geared toward collaboration have designed a model of grant writing that lays the foundation for continued success. This would not be possible without a dedicated team of HSSD employees who are generous with their time and expertise.

As Mr. Rickey said, luck is a byproduct of effort. For HSSD and the two villages, this mix of intelligence and dedication, with a dash of luck, has led to the awarding of 36 competitive grants worth more than $1.7 million. In turn, those grants have created new programs and opportunities for staff and students in the school district, and residents of both villages.

HSSD was recently awarded more than $560,000 to expand and enhance summer school academies for two years with an emphasis on students affected by the pandemic. This grant was used to bring in more teachers, pay all academy teachers more, employ interventionists, purchase new curriculum and supplies, and more. In the same vein, HSSD was also awarded nearly $275,000 to provide an out-of-school time program at Howard Elementary School for two semesters in a partnership with the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Green Bay. Both of these programs are made possible with one-time funding from DPI through ESSER III and will focus on making up ground in math, literacy and SEL skills for learners impacted by the pandemic.

HSSD also received more than $146,000 from the USDA Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production grant program to grow lettuce in all schools to be consumed by all students in the form of free salads. This lettuce will be grown in vertical hydroponic farms that will also be used to enhance curriculum at all grade levels. This success of this federal grant award was parlayed into a successful grant for nearly $60,000 from the U.S Venture/Schmidt Family Foundation. These efforts combined have provided 29 vertical lettuce gardens, each capable of growing up to 25 pounds of lettuce every 30 days. As part of the federal grant reporting requirements, it’s conservatively estimated HSSD will grow 5,000 pounds of lettuce and serve more than 53,000 free salads over 12 school months.
In the Village of Howard, 113 acres of land was acquired through the Wisconsin DNR’s Knowles-Nelson Stewardship grant program. This land borders the West Shores Wildlife Area and Ken Euers Nature Area, putting the entirety of the southwest portion of the Bay of Green Bay into public hands. The acquisition of this land, now known as the Duck Creek Conservation Corridor, was made possible with additional grants of $60,000 from Ducks Unlimited and $40,000 from the David L. and Rita E. Nelson Family Fund.

However, sometimes a big impact can come from a small amount. Next school year, 16 Bay Port students will earn three state firefighter certifications and be able to join local fire departments as paid-on-call volunteers. This is made possible because of a $25,000 grant from the Wisconsin Department of Professional Services to purchase turnout gear. The gear will be used by the students in a class taught at Bay Port by a NWTC fire sciences instructor. Students will be assigned to either the Howard or Suamico fire department, undergo training at those departments, and hopefully join the department roster when they obtain their certifications. This grant fills two needs. The first is the need to supply our students with real-world learning experiences and technical education credits. The second is to help fill local fire department rosters with able-bodied paid-on-call members.

These are just some of the benefits of a little luck that exists as the residue of the design, and dedicated efforts of HSSD’s approach to grants. For more information about the Howard-Suamico School District, please visit our website at For additional information regarding this article, please contact the grant writer, Ben Rodgers at, or HSSD Board President Greg Klimek at

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