MADISON, WI – Yesterday, Governor Tony Evers announced that he will commit up to $8.2 million in matching funds to help Wisconsin paper and forest products industry stakeholders secure a $100 million federal Build Back Better Challenge Grant. Governor Evers and Wisconsin Economic Development Council (WEDC) CEO Missy Hughes have also sent a letter to U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo in support of the grant application.
The coalition has already secured $11.8 million in funds from businesses, tribal and local governments, individuals, and nonprofits, and this additional commitment from Governor Evers will bridge the gap to make sure they have the full $20 million in matching funds required to qualify for the $100 million grant.
Senate Minority Leader Janet Bewley (D-Delta) and Representative Katrina Shankland (D-Stevens Point) issued the following statements in support of the Governor’s announcement:
“I am thrilled to hear that our paper and forest products industries have the golden opportunity to secure up to $100 million in federal funds,” Senator Bewley said. “The paper and forest products industries are a driving economic force in both our state and our Northwoods community, and one of our top employers. I commend Governor Evers for his commitment to this vital sector, and I am nothing but optimistic that our great state’s paper and forest products industries will continue to flourish.”
Rep. Shankland added, “I’m very pleased that Governor Evers has committed the state support needed to ensure that Wisconsin’s grant application for the Build Back Better Regional Challenge is eligible to apply for the next round of funding. This $8.2 million in state funding is pivotal to strengthening the important work of the coalition as they promote the paper and forestry industries in Wisconsin. It will pay significant dividends as the coalition competes for additional federal funds.
“I strongly support the grant application from the Wisconsin Paper Council, Mid-State Technical College, Great Lakes Timber Professionals Association, Sustainable Resource Institute, UW-Stevens Point’s Wisconsin Institute for Sustainable Technology, Menominee Nation Tribal Enterprises, and the Wisconsin DNR’s Division of Forestry to strengthen our state’s forestry and paper industries. This partnership is key to supporting workers and local businesses in these industries while bolstering the state’s economy. Governor Evers’ leadership to ensure the paper and forestry industries have the resources they need to be successful is greatly appreciated.”