Greater Milwaukee Foundation distributed more than $80 million in grants in 2018

Medical College research, Oriental Theater renovation and Fiserv Forum among recipients

Ellen Gilligan, president and CEO of the Greater Milwaukee Foundation, which supports the collaborative.

The Greater Milwaukee Foundation in 2018 distributed more than $80 million in grants, with the largest share benefiting community development, the organization announced.

Ellen Gilligan, president and CEO of the Greater Milwaukee Foundation, at the launch of the Hispanic Collaborative.

GMF distributed $38 million in community development grant funding, about $30.5 million of which supported the development of the Fiserv Forum project, as directed by former U.S. senator and philanthropist Herb Kohl. Kohl’s $100 million gift to that project has been stewarded by the foundation since 2014.

In 2017, $52 million of Kohl’s total gift was granted out in support of the arena project, which contributed to the GMF’s record $95.5 million philanthropic support total that year.

Here is how GMF grant money was distributed  in 2018:

  • Community development: $38 million
  • Arts & culture: $8.93 million
  • Education: $8.56 million
  • Human services: $6.91 million
  • Environment: $6.03 million
  • Child/youth/family:  $4.24 million
  • Health: $3.91 million
  • Other: $2.13 million
  • Employment and  training: $1.56 million

In 2018, donors also contributed more than $47 million in new gifts to and through the foundation.

“If you held a mirror up to the community, the picture would look a lot like the foundation’s grantmaking,” said Ellen Gilligan, president and chief executive officer of GMF. “In any given year, you can see the activities and aspirations of the community reflected in those programs and investments, and each year builds on the legacy of all those who have given generously throughout the last century to bring those aspirations to life.”

The foundation highlighted several grants awarded in 2018, including:

  • MMAC Community Support Foundation: $275,000, over three years, in support of the Hispanic Collaborative, an initiative that will convene and coordinate private, public and nonprofit organizations to improve economic, social and physical well-being of the Hispanic community.
  • Medical College of Wisconsin: $150,000, over three years, for research on African American smokers and menthol’s effect on nicotine addiction.
  • Milwaukee Film: $100,000 to support the renovation of the Oriental Theater’s concession area, including new counters for greater accessibility and ADA compliance.
  • Leukemia & Lymphoma Society: $100,000, over two years, to support research on an immunotherapeutic approach to curing myeloma, the second most common type of blood cancer.
  • Milwaukee Center for Independence: $100,000, over two years, for an intake/project coordinator position for its substance abuse disorders treatment and recovery program, which serves young adults ages 18 to 25 who have co-occurring substance abuse and mental health disorders.
  • Running Rebels: $100,000 for upgrades to the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system at its West Fond du Lac Avenue building.
  • Sojourner Family Peace Center: $100,000, over two years, to increase the number of front-line staff to better serve the rise in walk-ins and new clients that arrive at the agency’s shelter.

Grants issued by the foundation include investments authorized by the board of directors using discretionary resources, as well as grants and co-investments made through the funds of those who partner with the foundation for their philanthropy.

Over the past five years, GMF has distributed a total of $315 million in grants.

As of Dec. 31, the foundation’s assets totaled $833 million, based on preliminary figures.

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Lauren Anderson
Lauren Anderson covers health care, nonprofits, education and insurance for BizTimes. Lauren previously reported on education for the Waukesha Freeman. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she studied journalism, history and African studies. In her free time, Lauren enjoys spending time with family and friends and seeing live music wherever she can.