Red Letter Gets Better

grant program for women-owned businesses has big plans

Lauren Fisher

Previous Red Letter Grant winners.
Previous Red Letter Grant winners.

Nearly a year after the first Red Letter Grants were awarded to Chippewa Valley women to aid in starting their businesses, the program is stepping up its game again. In the past month, the program has hired on Reba Krueger as grant director, filed for 501(c)(3) nonprofit status, and launched a brand-new website. The Red Letter Grant was founded by Rebecca Cooke, owner of Red’s Mercantile, to address the fact that only about a third of Wisconsin businesses are owned by women by providing a support network that offers workshops and financial aid to women and women-led startups. “I’m proud that the Red Letter Grant is growing into something larger than the shop, that it’s a movement in the making of encouraging more women to pursue their passions,” Cooke said. “We’re also working hard to make the grant more inclusive to folks from different socioeconomic backgrounds – how do we make sure there is more equity in the process and more voices in the room?” Over the next several years, Cooke and Krueger will network and fundraise with expansion in mind; they are aiming to grow the Red Letter Grant into a statewide program in time. The deadline for applications for the spring grant awards is May 7. This year, applicants will be required to submit three metrics for how the grant will benefit their business, and agree to meet with a program representative six months from the date of the award to review how those metrics were met. For more information on the Red Letter Grant and how to apply, visit

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