History

History

A RESILIENT COMMUNITY

Established in 1994 as a community foundation, Incourage has evolved in response to community need from a traditional grantmaker into a values-led, resident-centered and place-based organization stewarding and connecting all forms of resources or capital – moral, social, human, intellectual, reputational, financial and natural – toward a powerful shared vision: a community that works well for all people.

After the sale and significant downsizing of the local Fortune 500 paper company in the year 2000, the region experienced 40% job loss and a community-wide crisis of culture and identity. Incourage incubated and modeled urgently-needed new approaches to shape a thriving, environmentally sustainable and inclusive community. This included fostering openness to new ideas and entrepreneurial possibilities, redefined leadership and decision-making processes, and a shift in mindset from “I cannot” to “I can” to “We can do better.”

Today, in partnership with thousands of residents and local and national partners, our community is poised to face challenges and opportunities that come our way.

What populations comprise the community?
We serve the south Wood County area, which reaches across many city limits and civic borders. Roughly, our service area includes the areas in, around, and between the towns and cities of Wisconsin Rapids, Port Edwards, Nekoosa, Kellner, Grand Rapids, Biron, Rome, Rudolph, Pittsville, and Vesper (population 45,000).