Ladysmith Federal Savings & Loan, in partnership with Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago, is giving funds to local school districts to help with their COVID-19 relief efforts. 

Area schools receiving awards are Ladysmith, Flambeau, OLS, Bruce and Holcombe. The first donation was made last week to Ladysmith schools, which received $6,000.

Another donation was made this week for $5,000 to Lake Holcombe School District.

In response to their needs and the related interest many members have expressed in addressing racial equity disparities in their cities and towns, Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago established a $14 million Targeted Impact Fund. This additional grant program will provide each member up to $20,000 in grants to support relief efforts for populations hardest-hit by COVID-19.

Ladysmith Federal recognizes the challenges each school district is facing during these unprecedented times, said Sara Baker of Ladysmith Federal.

“We are proud to do all we can by providing these funds to help with the students’ educational and enrichment needs,” Baker added.

Ladysmith School District Administrator Laura Stunkel said school officials appreciate this generous donation from a local community bank.  

“We plan to use this money to assist in the teaching and learning area during the pandemic,” Stunkel said.

At the elementary level, Ladysmith educators are investigating voice amplification for teachers.  At the middle and high schools, educators are exploring a subscription to Kami, an extension that allows students to write on a PDF within google classroom.  

“This will save our students and teachers time and increase student success and access to materials,” Stunkel said.

Lake Holcombe School District Administrator Kurt Lindau said school officials appreciate the generosity. 

“We have numerous COVID related expenses on everything from technology to cleaning supplies and signage in our building.

“It all adds up,” Lindau said.

As the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic impact continue to affect communities, some populations have been disproportionately affected by this crisis, including black, Latino, Native American, elderly, rural, and low- and moderate-income communities, according to Matt Feldman, President and CEO of Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago.

Although 98 percent of Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago member financial institutions participated in its COVID-19 Relief Program this past spring, bank officials realized additional investment in the communities its members serve remains essential. 

“Through this additional program, we reaffirm our commitment to support member financial institutions as they assist underserved populations and communities across Illinois and Wisconsin,” Feldman states on the program’s website. “While this grant program seeks to provide targeted relief for maximum community impact, we know every community’s needs are unique. For this reason, we are offering members the flexibility to provide relief grants to beneficiaries that align with one or more of four program priorities.”

Support for Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs) and/or Women’s Business Enterprises (WBEs) to develop, grow, and/or rebuild small businesses classified as an MBE or WBE; an MBE is a business with over 50% minority ownership, and a WBE is a business with over 50 percent female ownership.

Advancement of Black and Latino communities through organizations that promote a fair and inclusive society or otherwise promote equity and racial justice.

Empowerment services for populations hardest-hit by COVID-19 including but not limited to Black, Latino, Native American, elderly, and rural communities. 

Support for affordable housing sustainability to assist low- and moderate-income households through entities that provide or promote affordable housing via rental assistance programs, housing counseling agencies, homeless services, fair housing agencies, and affordable housing projects in need of operational support.

Eligible beneficiaries were required to align with at least one of the following program priorities:

n Support for Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs) and/or Women’s Business Enterprises (WBEs) to develop, grow, and/or rebuild small businesses classified as an MBE or WBE; an MBE is a business with over 50 percent minority ownership, and a WBE is a business with over 50 percent female ownership.

nAdvancement of black and Latino communities through organizations that promote a fair and inclusive society or otherwise promote equity and racial justice.

nEmpowerment services for populations hardest-hit by COVID-19 including but not limited to black, Latino, Native American, elderly, and rural communities. 

nSupport for affordable housing sustainability to assist low- and moderate-income households through entities that provide or promote affordable housing via rental assistance programs, housing counseling agencies, homeless services, fair housing agencies, and affordable housing projects in need of operational support.

Final applications from financial institutions had been due by Sept. 30, but this deadline was extended last week through Nov. 10.

Grant beneficiaries must be located in Illinois or Wisconsin. 

Members may access a base grant amount of up to $15,000. To maximize impact, members will receive up to $5,000 in additional funds for committing to match some or all of the base grant dollars, but members are not required to provide matching funds to participate.

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