Our Mission: Fox Valley Memory Project collaborates with other organizations to build communities that welcome, include, and support persons with dementia and those who care for them.
Our Vision: Fox Valley Memory Project works to create dementia friendly communities where the fear and isolation often associated with dementia are eased by connecting people with one another and with resources to live well with dementia
The Fox Valley Memory Project (FVMP) resulted from a two-year planning process sparked by the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region (CFFVR) and many community supporters and advocates. These included founders Susan McFadden, Dr. Lee Vogel, Margie Rankin and Beth Belmore. The goal was to provide people living with dementia and their care partners the opportunities for social interaction and engagement in the community; early, accessible diagnosis; and to enhance community knowledge about dementia.
FVMP’s programs were first launched in November 2012, with its first Memory Cafés at the former Atlas Waterfront Café and the Thompson Community Center in Appleton. FVMP services expanded rapidly with Lutheran Social Services of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan as a fiscal agent. After identifying growth opportunities through a strategic planning process, FVMP became its own 501(c)(3) non-profit in 2018, and soon after relocated its offices to the Goodwill Community Campus in Menasha.
By the Numbers...
Volunteers are at the heart of our programs
Julie Feil, LCSW Memory Café Facilitator
“During my 20-plus years of social work in the Fox Valley, I’ve learned that increasing social engagement and brain health enhancement through cognitive games and reminiscence showed promise in research to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease and other memory disorders. Fortunately, a group of visionaries brought the Fox Valley Memory Project to our community and began to create and replicate international programs such as the Memory Cafes with the goal of destigmatizing dementia and creating enjoyable social opportunities, emphasizing that the individuals affected by this disease are so much greater than their disease and have a great deal to offer to our community and each other.
Over the years at Memory Cafes, we have hosted antique dealers, cake decorators, beekeepers, musicians and naturalists. We have played countless games, made ice cream, completed service projects, sang songs and laughed together.
The Fox Valley Memory Project provides a setting of mutual appreciation and social opportunities to alleviate the isolation many people with dementia experience. That’s an invaluable service to our community.”
Dave Morton, FVMP Board President
“After my mother passed in 2013, my father began showing memory challenges. When you begin the ‘memory loss journey,’ you feel overwhelmed and alone. FVMP helps with education and events to develop a community to support caregivers and those living with dementia. The stress levels of caring for someone with dementia are significantly reduced when you are able to discuss and confide with others going through similar struggles.”
How FVMP benefits program participants
"I always look forward to coming to class"
“I started attending FVMP classes in August 2021. I am experiencing some cognitive impairment issues as well as short-term memory loss. Because of my memory and cognitive issues, I was finding that my interest in social connections and activities seemed to be declining. I was told about the program, and my wife and I read about it as well. I was a little hesitant but was told it was a safe place to interact with people that have memory issues like myself. The programs I’ve attended have excellent instructors and a variety of activities. The activities can be entertaining, mind-challenging or related to physical exercise. Whatever the activities are, the environment is always welcoming, safe and fun. I have never felt judged or embarrassed about what I could or could not do. I started attending one day a week. I now attend two times a week because I enjoy the camaraderie, socialization and the variety of activities. “I would recommend Mindworks to anyone experiencing memory or cognitive issues. Before I started attending, I felt a bit alone because of my issues and was becoming more of a homebody. Now, it is part of my weekly routine because it is fun and enjoyable. I always look forward to coming to class.” – Larry Kerkhoff, Mindworks participant
Federal grant will expand our reach
In July, FVMP was awarded a non-renewable grant totaling nearly $1 million from the federal Administration for Community Living. The grant funds can only be used to support new initiatives and requires nearly $60,000/year raised in matching funds annually over the next three years. Our Memory Link program will provide evidence-based resource navigation to assist people with dementia and their care partners throughout the dementia journey. A new partnership will also be formed with SOAR Fox Cities to serve people with intellectual and developmental disabilities such as Down syndrome as they age and who have high risk for developing dementia. This program will provide an evidence-informed screening tool and special Memory Cafés for this population. Watch our newsletter for up-to-date information on program rollout.
How can you help?
We are grateful to our supporters who give through donating, volunteering, and connecting participants to our programs.
Your tax-deductible donation will fund our over $300,000 budget needs in 2022 to provide meaningful socialization programs, respite care and resource connections to people with dementia and their care partners.
Do you know someone living with memory loss? Your help in connecting them to FVMP will allow them to access the necessary resources, develop new friendships and join others along the dementia journey.
Our programs would not be possible without people like you who generously give their time to help others. Join us nearly every day of the week to create moments of joy alongside our participants.