Anonymous donor gives $1 million to foundation for ThriveOn King development

The former Gimbels and Schuster’s Department Store building at the southwest corner of Garfield Avenue and King Drive is being redeveloped for the new home of the MCW/GMF partnership. Rendering: Engberg Anderson Architects
The former Gimbels and Schuster’s department store building at the southwest corner of Garfield Avenue and King Drive is being redeveloped into the ThriveOn King project. Rendering: Engberg Anderson Architects

The Greater Milwaukee Foundation’s Greater Together Campaign received $1 million from an anonymous donor, the philanthropic organization announced Monday.

The anonymous donor directed $500,000 of their $1 million gift to the ThriveOn Early Childhood Education Fund. The other $500,000 will go to the ThriveOn Collaboration Fund to redevelop the historic ThriveOn King building, located at 2153 N. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.

The ThriveOn Collaboration, led by the foundation, the Medical College of Wisconsin and Royal Capital, focuses on the “building blocks of a healthy life, including housing, early childhood education, food access, health and wellness, economic opportunity and neighborhood leadership,” the Greater Milwaukee Foundation said in a media release.

“Construction is now underway at ThriveOn King, and we are thrilled to see this catalytic project taking shape,” said Kristen Mekemson, vice president of development and philanthropic services of the Greater Milwaukee Foundation. “Much work remains, however, and our donor’s extraordinary commitment is helping us sustain our momentum during these crucial and time-sensitive stages of development.”

In addition to devoting resources to their respective office spaces, which will occupy the upper floors of ThriveOn King, the first floor will be dedicated to the community, from art to early childhood care to an education center, according to the release.

“We are moved by the anonymous donor’s generosity in making a lead gift to ThriveOn King’s first floor, including the community gathering space and the early learning center,” said Ellen Gilligan, president and CEO of GMF. “Like us, they care deeply about this neighborhood and have shared what an important project this is to Bronzeville and Milwaukee. Seeing the progress and potential of ThriveOn King, the donor hopes their gift will inspire others to co-invest with us to bring this innovative, community vision to life.”

Construction of the ThriveOn King project is projected to finish November 2023.

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Lelah covers health care, insurance, nonprofit and education beats. She is a Marquette graduate. In her spare time, she enjoys live rock music, scary stories and tabletop games.

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