In The News

Fox valley Speaks:


Housing Conversations to Inspire Change

In partnership with Common Ground, Celebrate Diversity Fox Cities, and the City of Appleton. Share, listen, and connecct in small groups about divrse experiences and unique perspectives around homelessness in our community.

5 Dates Available | 2 hrs | Ages 14+ | Free to Attend

A Fox cities nonprofit is helping residents overcome hostile political conversations

Appleton Post-Crescent | Nov. 21, 2023

CDFC on Appleton engaged

The Appleton Engaged Podcast explores the many people, organizations, and resources that make our community an amazing place to live, work, and play. So whether you're a longtime resident, visiting, or new to the region, join us as we learn more about Appleton and the surrounding Fox Cities Area together.

Listen to Episode 17 to hear E-Ben & Jody, CDFC's Co-Chairpersons, talk about the organization's mission, values and vision.


October 17, 2021: Wisconsin Leadership Community Choice Winners Named

Man of Excellence: E-Ben Grisby. E-Ben Grisby, a special education teacher at Green Bay West High School, is co-chair of the board of Celebrate Diversity Fox Cities. He works every day to make a difference in his students’ lives, helping them strive to be the best they can be. A native of New York City, he is a great asset to northeast Wisconsin as he shares his talents professionally and as a volunteer, having worked in several non-profit organizations for many years. As a Black man, he has faced with grace, patience, and wisdom, the challenges of coming to a very predominantly white region and navigating the cultural differences that move presented. He has enriched us with his experiences and perspectives, helping to build positive relationships with all. E-Ben Grisby was honored in 2017 for the “Good Neighbors Recognition” for volunteers making a difference in our community in the Post Crescent newsletter in Appleton. Check out a short interview of E-Ben here.

The WINNERS of the 2021 Wisconsin Leadership Community Choice Awards will be honored at an awards show on Facebook Live at 5:30 pm on Friday, October 22, the last day of the Wisconsin Leadership Summit. The awards show is free. The Wisconsin Leadership Summit runs October 18-22 and includes five full days of panel discussions on business and nonprofit success, education, social justice, health and wellness and more. Registration is open now.

June 16, 2021: Meet Timber Smith, Appleton's new Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Coordinator

It's that diversity, equity and inclusion are achieved by people coming together, not by someone acting alone.

"You can't do DEI work by yourself, right?" he told The Post-Crescent. "You're affecting people. You're changing the lives of people. You need other people to buy into the things so that there is change.

"I can't do it alone, and I don't think I'm going to have to do it alone."

Smith, 47, will start his new job June 21, 2021. The position strives to make Appleton a welcoming and inclusive place to live, work and play. Smith will collaborate with city staff and the greater community to encourage a shift in attitudes and behaviors.

For the past four years, Smith was the coordinator of the Veterans Resource Center at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.

He grew up in Milwaukee and has been living in the Fox Valley since 1992, when he arrived to study at UWO. He has a bachelor's degree in sociology and a master's degree in educational leadership and policy from UWO.

"The only time I've left is when I went to go serve in the military for a while," he said. "I'm definitely part of the Fox Valley — big-time. I've raised a family here."

Smith worked in Appleton a decade ago, when he served as a cultural support specialist for the Appleton Area School District and Fox Valley Technical College.

UPDATE June 28, 2021
Appleton School Board moves to rename Lincoln Elementary in honor of Ron Dunlap.

After months of tense community debate, the board voted 4-3 in favor of the proposal to rename Lincoln to the "Ronald C. Dunlap Elementary School, Home of the Lincoln Lions."

UPDATE May 5, 2021

Resolution #6-R-21 - Condemning Xenophobia, Racism, and Violence Against The Asian Pacific Islander Desiamerican (APIDA) Community - passed unanimously at the Common Council Meeting on May 5th, 2021. 

Special Announcement

Resolution #6-R-21, condemning Anti-Asian violence, racism, and xenophobia specifically related to the Asian American and Pacific Islander community (AAPI), came before the Appleton Common Council, April 21st.


During public participation, many members of the area Hmong community bravely spoke about their own recent experiences of hate and discrimination. The testimonies for these long-time Appleton community members were heartbreaking, especially in this place where “Hate has no home here."


Celebrate Diversity Fox Cities thanks Alderperson Maiyoua Thao for her authorship of the resolution and those who cosponsored it.   Sadly, the resolution did not pass on the 21st.   This action was devastating to the Appleton AAPI members present and their supporters.


The resolution was sent back to the Safety and Licensing Committee where it was discussed again at the committee's April 28 5:30 p.m. meeting.  With community support, it passed as written no changes and goes back to the full Council next Wednesday, May 5th. 


Celebrate Diversity of the Fox Cities (CDFC) stands by our AAPI community members as they shared the pain of the hateful actions of others and disappointment with the Common Council’s initial decision. We celebrate the decision made by the Safety and Licensing Committee.


CDFC stands by and strongly supports this resolution as it was originally written and urges the Common Council to do the same.