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GREEN BAY - The Green Bay Packers Foundation has money to give away and is looking for someone to take it.

Last year, the foundation awarded $800,000 in grants to 316 civic and charitable groups across Wisconsin. To be part of this year's largess, organizations have until June 1 to apply at packers.com/community/packers-foundation.html. The deadline is one month earlier than in previous years.

Guidelines for applicants are different this year, also. The focus will be on organizations whose programs and projects deal with hunger, homelessness, the elderly and other human service areas.

“We’re always looking for ways to provide as much assistance as possible to nonprofit organizations, so the major reason was to provide a deeper impact to the organizations that were receiving grants," said Bobbi Jo Eisenreich, secretary of the foundation.

"We’ve increased the amounts that eligible nonprofits can receive through the grants, so by giving to specific focus areas once every three years, we’re able to give out grants that will have more impact for the organizations that need it the most in our community. We believe it will be better for the organizations in the long run.”

In 2018, the focus will be on arts and culture, athletics and education. In 2019, the focus will be on animal welfare, civic and community programs, the environment, and health and wellness, including alcohol and drug abuse, and domestic violence.

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A record 422 applications were submitted in 2016. The number of grants given, 316, also was a record.

Eligible organizations must be 501(c)(3) classified with a valid IRS Tax ID for a minimum of two years and located in the state of Wisconsin. They may apply for a grant once every three years.

Applications are reviewed by foundation trustees who will finalize the list of recipients in November. A public announcement and awards luncheon will be in the Lambeau Field Atrium in December.

The Packers added to the foundation's endowment in recent years. Last year, the club contributed $5 million to the endowment fund, which is just short of $25 million. The Green Bay Packers Foundation has awarded $7.2 million in grants since its founding in 1986.

Contact rryman@greenbaypressgazette.com and follow him on Twitter @RichRymanPG, onInstagram at rrymanpgor on Facebook at Richard Ryman-Press-Gazette. Or call him at (920) 431-8342.

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