Project CURB

Collectively Upgrading, Restoring, and Beautifying our schools.

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According to Forbes, we only get a seven second window to make a first impression before someone makes a judgement.  As humans we instinctively make quick judgements, and then stick with those preconceptions until they are challenged.  This hangs over how we perceive and interact with that which we’ve judged for months or even years!

The average age of an Oshkosh Area School District building is 78 years.  That’s a long time!  An onslaught of images comes to mind when I think of structures of that age, predominantly the beautiful brickwork featured on so many of our schools, but with anything there are pros and cons.  During a community listening session hosted by Oshkosh4Education (O4E), community members indicated that unwelcoming entrances, overgrown foliage, and neglected walkways gave visitors an unfavorable impression of our school district.  

Thanks to these community listening sessions and citywide support from groups like the Oshkosh Area School District (OASD), Oshkosh Area Community Foundation (OACF), Partners at Learning (PALS), community activists, and Parent-Teacher Organizations (PTO) from the schools, Project CURB arose from the marketing arm of O4E under the leadership of Beth Wyman.

Project CURB was announced to the Oshkosh community at large during a launch event on April 27th at Webster Stanley Middle School.  It is a community-driven effort to improve the curb appeal at all public schools, with the mission to collectively upgrade, restore, and beautify our schools.  

What is the end-goal of Project CURB?

On Saturday, September 23rd between 8:00-12:00 every public school in the district will get a makeover, so to speak.  Project CURB will ensure that the exteriors of our schools match the academic excellence taking place inside.  Thousands of volunteers will come together to: paint, update signage, add bike racks, install benches, plant trees, bushes, and flowers, and so much more!

In addition to the physical upgrades to the exteriors of our schools, Project CURB will have long-lasting intrinsic rewards for our community.  Personally, this project will increase home property values, strengthen neighborhoods, and boost community pride.  Economically, this project will help promote Oshkosh as a destination district, and attract new students and families to our schools.

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How can I get involved?

By now you might be saying to yourself, “Self, this is terrific!  How do I get involved?!”  There are three things that you can do to make a substantial impact:

  1. VOLUNTEER – Project CURB needs upwards of 2000 volunteers to make this blitz a successful reality.  Signup here 
  2. DONATE – For those who prefer to volunteer with their wallets, all donations are meaningful!  Project CURB is seeking $200,000 to fund all of their renovations.  Updates for each school have been decided upon by school principals and PTO groups.  Donate here 
  3. SPREAD THE WORD – The success of projects like these depend on people like you sharing your excitement and determination for our shared goals.  Share this blog post on your favorite social media platform like Facebook, send it in an email, or print it out and post it in the office by the water cooler.  Do anything that you can to drive conversations and engagement.  Our students will thank you!

For up-to-date information be sure to follow O4E on Facebook or read more on their website.  If you’d like to talk to someone face-to-face, consider stopping by the O4E booth at the Oshkosh Farmers Market most Saturdays from now through September.  

About the author:  Kristopher Ulrich is the Director of Marketing & Communications at the Oshkosh Area Community Foundation.  He enjoys gardening and landscaping projects, and therefore has signed up as a volunteer for Project CURB at Oshkosh North High School.  

About the interviewee:  Kelly Laux is a small business owner specializing in marketing and design for the food industry.  She is a volunteer for Project CURB and O4E at large.  She has contributed years of volunteer service to our community, including over a decade of service to the Women’s Fund of the Oshkosh Area Community Foundation.

Throw it on the wall, see what sticks

Mom said don’t write on the walls, but we broke the rules on Wednesday night and encouraged people to do just that!

We asked attendees of OACF’s Donor Appreciation event:

What’s your vision?

What’s your passion?

We gave out markers and sent people to the wall to fill our pictures frames of the future with their great ideas.


We were thrilled to see so many great ideas! Curious to know what they were? Ok, let’s be honest, some of these are a bit tongue-and-cheek, but all in fun and good spirits.


Ideas from the “wall”:

  • Support for the arts
  • The Oshkosh Symphony Orchestra and Oshkosh Chamber singers and the UWO Music Dept. are proof that NYC & Chicago are competitive with Oshkosh
  • Engaged older adults – no isolation, inclusion, intergenerational outreach
  • New Oshkosh Corp HQ in Oshkosh
  • Restore Pioneer Inn
  • Obtain Dept. Store for city
  • Retain the Council Mgt form
  • Redevelop south Main St. area
  • Ending Alzheimer’s
  • Rowing Club
  • Harbour/Boathouse
  • More Chuck Berry (really???)
  • Milwaukee Bucks minor league team where Buckstaff is/was
  • Pioneer Inn Redo
  • River Walk Continued
  • Billy Wyman Dance (what??)
  • Addiction issues & recovery support
  • Oshkosh Youth Symphony
  • Building leaders through music education
  • A community works project to encourage the arts in Oshkosh
  • Making Oshkosh a great place for millennials to raise a family, young professional to move here. Help our economy grow.
  • Promotion of our 2nd amendment rights
  • Curb appeal for OASD
  • Zero suicides
  • Support Community Band & Senior Center
  • More music
  • Retail
  • More youth activities
  • Volunteer center
  • Support public school
  • Sailing classes for poor kids/women
  • Main artery into downtown cleanup, parking restriction & neighborhood pride
  • Venetian Boat parade
  • Warming shelter
  • Collaborate
  • New catholic elementary school
  • Veteran’s support
  • Year round homeless shelter
  • Resolve the Pioneer issues
  • A decent space for day by day warming shelter
  • Cellular-free initiative
  • Education
  • Establish a library on the west side of 41
  • Safe & clean rental units for all
  • Elder care focus
  • Permanent warming shelter
  • Ice skating rink
  • Enhance river usage
  • Walking trail advertisement
  • Let’s make Oshkosh area the Capitol for moving the 1st year of college into senior year of high school
  • Better street maintenance
  • Buck’s D-league arena
  • Poverty among the elderly
  • Intergenerational recreational activities
  • Change in leadership at the chamber
  • Gardens in all our schools with classes to match Growing Oshkosh – Also in Ripon
  • Permanent home for Oshkosh Farmers Markets

The exercise was all in an effort to get our community thinking about the future and what the potential needs might be. The Foundation has over the past year surveyed potential donors, existing donors, agencies and partners about the future of our community. Gathering all of the input is so vitally important to creating a vision for the Foundation as it maps out a strategic plan for the next three to five years.


And, the evening also was the launch of the Good Samaritan match campaign, which seeks to raise at least $150,000 for the Good Samaritan Fund by Dec. 31.

The Good Samaritan Fund was created with a generous $150,000 gift from the John E. Kuenzl Foundation. The fund is unrestricted in its purpose which allows for maximum community impact.

THANK YOU TO EVERYONE who helped fill out our wall of ideas! Keep them coming!