The Capital Times has been heavily involved in Dane County’s philanthropic community throughout its history.
The Evjue Foundation is the company’s philanthropic arm. It was established by founder William T. Evjue in the 1960s to help support causes that commanded his attention. When he died in 1970, his will established the William T. Evjue Charitable Trust and directed that all the proceeds from his controlling stock in The Capital Times Co. be deposited in that trust. In turn, the trust was directed to turn those proceeds over to the Evjue Foundation to be distributed to worthy educational, cultural and charitable organizations in the newspaper’s circulation area. It was Evjue’s way of rewarding the communities that contributed to the newspaper’s success.
Since then, the foundation has made grants totaling more than $60 million to worthy causes, including the University of Wisconsin. In recent years, annual giving has ranged from $1.5 million to more than $2 million. In addition to dozens of modest grants to local nonprofits, the foundation has made major contributions to the Monona Terrace Convention Center for its construction, the Overture Center for its Great Performance Fund, Olbrich Gardens, UW’s Camp Randall Stadium, the Madison Children’s Museum, Access Community Health, Madison College and the Urban League of Greater Madison to name a few.
Grants made by the foundation are determined by a board of 15 people, seven of whom represent the newspaper itself, eight from the community. The board meets twice each year, once in the spring and once in the fall, to make decisions on how the money provided by Mr. Evjue’s philanthropy will be distributed.
In addition to the Evjue Foundation, The Capital Times is also home to The Kids Fund, a reader-supported charity that also traces its roots to the paper’s founder. Evjue created what was then called the Kiddie Camp in 1927. It was aimed at helping children fight tuberculosis, a dreaded disease at the time, providing a camp for kids who were afflicted. Once the disease was conquered, the Kiddie Camp turned to helping children with developmental disabilities, providing them with special education at a home the Kiddie Camp purchased in the 1950s.
Later, when federal and state governments mandated that public school systems provide for special education, the Kiddie Camp was renamed The Kids Fund and repurposed to raise money for nonprofits that address the challenges facing so many young people today.
The Kids Fund typically raises about $100,000 annually and distributes that money and more to dozens of area programs that work with young people. Readers of The Capital Times have supported the charity with donations that range from $1 to as much as $25,000.
Grant decisions are made by a volunteer board of up to 20 members, most of whom have experience working with young people. Grants are awarded to programs that help children from preschool through high school. A third of the grants are awarded exclusively to programs that work with developmentally disabled children.