Cathedral Center awarded grant from Jeff Bezos’ philanthropic fund

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The Cathedral Center, Inc. was recently awarded a $1.25 million grant from Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos’ philanthropic fund.

The downtown Milwaukee shelter will receive the one-time grant as part of the Day 1 Families Fund’s annual leadership awards, which recognize organizations and civic groups that provide shelter and hunger support for young families.

CCI plans to expand its services and programs, which serve women and families who are experiencing housing crises.

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The organization said it will direct the funding to its Community Case Management program, which helps move families to safe and stable housing as quickly as possible, and to developing a landlord and housing liaison program focused on building trust with landlords and working with them to help tenants succeed. CCI said it will also launch a structured program to support children while their parents are receiving services on-site, including supported play, age-appropriate psycho-educational activities and other programming during non-school hours.

The Cathedral Center, which was incorporated as a nonprofit in 2002, operates an emergency shelter at 845 N. Van Buren St. that serves as many as 28 women and eight families with children for up to 90 days, and flexible emergency housing at Friendship House, 1029 N. Marshall St., that serves up to four women and families with children for up to two years.

Last year, the organization provided about 19,500 nights of emergency shelter, and operated at a 95% of occupancy.

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“Thanks to the Day 1 Families Fund, Cathedral Center will be able to grow programs and services that make a transformative difference in the lives of families in Milwaukee who face homelessness,” said Donna Rongholt-Migan, executive director of CCI. “This gift will allow us to empower more families faster through comprehensive case management services, partnerships with landlords and employment services.”

CCI is one of 42 nonprofits nationally to receive grants as part this year’s Day 1 Families Fund $105.9 million allocation.

The Bezos Day One Fund was established in 2018 with a $2 billion commitment from Amazon’s founder. It is focused on funding existing nonprofits that help homeless families and creating a network of new nonprofit preschools in low-income communities.

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