Madison Parks Foundation receives $94,000 grant from 100 Men of Dane County

MADISON, WIS. — The Madison Parks Foundation received a $94,000 grant from 100 Men of Dane County on Friday in order to support Warner Park’s “K.N.O.W.” program, a safe space for students from low-income, single parent homes to get involved in sports, recreation and career training. 

The program serves over 150 students and is one of the largest programs of its kind in the city, according to Warner Park Facility Manager Zach Watson. 

Yet, one of the largest barriers to the program’s success is transportation. Many students in the program travel for at least an hour on Metro Transit buses to get to the park, Watson said. 

Soon, however, that won’t be a problem thanks to the grant from 100 Men of Dane County. The foundation will spend much of the funds on a van dedicated to this program and the peripheral career opportunities that appear from it, namely a youth referee training program at the park.

“Within that refereeing program, you have to be there at a certain time, you have to be there before the game starts,” Watson said. “Having reliable transportation will go a long way in ensuring that we can get to where we need to be.”

100 Men of Dane County also gives out smaller gifts four times a year. The funds come from donor commitments to benefit child-based needs in Dane County, according to Board President Charlie Wills. 

“It’s a pretty cool concept, and it’s really cool how big a heart someone has to have,” Wills said.  “As soon as they usually come to a meeting after they give their first 1,000 dollars, they see the organization, they see the kids and they see the impact, and they’re hooked. Your heart can’t not want to be in that room.”

Wills said he hopes these donations will inspire more positive action in the community. 

“These 94, up to 100,000 gifts, impact [organizations] in such a way that they can shift the organization to not only serve more individuals but then it typically inspires a lot of people,” Wills said. “It’s just going to spur this on, which is the whole point of our group—to create significant change for organizations like this.”