Discover the support we can provide kids.
We provide crisis intervention to children and their families; assist with transitional and affordable housing; provide strategic aid; and connect to partner resources for education, employment, transportation, and basic needs.
We see Oshkosh community organizations partnering to help children and struggling families achieve stable housing, economic security, educational focus, and a post-secondary transition to self-sufficient lives.
Our mantra is: “Work us out of a job!”
The need for Oshkosh Kids Foundation started with a pair of underwear. As an educator for 34 years in the Oshkosh schools, I had witnessed many changes in the diversity, stressors and needs of our students. But one day my eyes were permanently opened.
A new Phys. Ed. Teacher was telling me how hard it was to get her students to change their clothes for gym class. On deeper reflection she realized that they were not trying to be belligerent. They weren’t changing because many did not have underwear, and they were embarrassed. I began to tell that story to whoever would listen and soon I had underwear and socks pouring in to help our kids.
Through trusting conversations with these kids, I learned their needs were for much more than underwear. Homelessness was shockingly widespread. Many did not have water in their homes, and wore the same thing every day with nowhere to do laundry. Others asked for duffle bags because they slept on a different couch every few days and needed a better way to transport their stuff. One boy just wanted his own pillow.
My heart broke wide open for these sweet kids trapped in situations not of their own making, and I began to dream about ways to help them get rid of these obstacles and break this generational cycle of poverty. As the Director of Oshkosh Area School District Education Foundation, I was speaking at the State of the District on our students living in poverty, and how we had reached over 200 homeless children in our district the year before.
In the crowd was Wilson Jones, CEO and President of Oshkosh Corporation. After the event he approached me and said that he grew up in situational poverty and he wanted to talk about how we could work together to help every child have an even playing field. The Oshkosh Kids Foundation was born.
To accomplish our mission, Wilson and I have recruited an amazing team of board members and key community partners that believe together we can remove the barriers and work to empower these children so every one of them has a chance at their dreams.
Julie Dumke – Director, Oshkosh Kids Foundation
What We Do
The OKF is here to remove obstacles for struggling kids and their families. To get a child to school, through school, and on a path to success. OKF provides youth and families valuable connections to our vast network of community service organizations, businesses and good-hearted volunteers that partner with us through five phases of support.
5 Phases of Support
Let’s give kids the chance to succeed.
Making Oshkosh a better, happier community.
The Latest from Oshkosh Kids Foundation.
Meet Our Board
Our Board of Directors is made up of a group of caring professionals working together to give struggling kids and their families a hand up toward self-sufficiency.