Greater Milwaukee Foundation provides more funding for ‘Basic Needs’

Area food pantries and homeless shelters hit hard by continued high demand are getting immediate help from the Greater Milwaukee Foundation. The foundation’s board of directors approved an additional $300,000 in funding for its Basic Needs Fund, offering needed support to nonprofits serving the area’s most vulnerable residents. Two other local foundations – The Faye McBeath Foundation and The Ceres Foundation, Inc. – each committed $50,000 to the fund within the past 30 days.

Since December 2008, the Greater Milwaukee Foundation, its donors, other foundations, and the community have contributed or committed $978,535 to The Basic Needs Fund. In the past year, $890,100 of that total has been made in grants to local organizations in the four-county area, with $362,300 going to help 19 homeless shelters and food programs in Milwaukee, Washington and Waukesha counties within just the past month. Some dollars are being held in reserve to meet any urgent needs that occur.

“We know from our own Vital Signs project that more and more area residents are in need of emergency food and shelter; need is not diminishing,” said Jim Marks, vice president of programs for the foundation. “The agencies receiving these funds will put them to use right away to meet pressing needs that are even more keenly felt during the holiday season.”

The Basic Needs Fund was established by the Foundation in December 2008 with an initial grant of $300,000. A second grant of $150,000 was made in June 2009, with the third grant of $300,000 made in December 2009. The remaining $228,535 came in gifts and commitments from other foundations, Greater Milwaukee Foundation donors, and the community.

Individuals and organizations can support the Fund by sending contributions to: The Basic Needs Fund, Greater Milwaukee Foundation, 101 W. Pleasant Street, Suite 210 Milwaukee, WI 53212

Milwaukee homeless shelters receiving funding include:

  • Sojourner Family Peace Center

  • Hope House of Milwaukee

  • Daystar

  • Walker’s Point Youth and Family Center

  • Milwaukee Rescue Mission

  • Guest House of Milwaukee

  • The Cathedral Center

  • Pathfinders

  • Social Development Commission

  • Community Advocates

  • Salvation Army of Greater Milwaukee

  • Repairers of the Breach.

Waukesha County shelters are:

  • Cooperating Congregations of Waukesha County

  • Hebron House of Hospitality

  • Women’s Center – Waukesha

  • Friends of Abused Families in Washington County is also receiving assistance.

Food programs receiving recent grants are:

  • Hunger Task Force

  • Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin (formerly Second Harvest of Wisconsin)

  • Food Pantry of Waukesha County.

Hunger Task Force and Feeding America will use their grant dollars to help eligible individuals apply for FoodShare (formerly food stamps) so they can access a consistent source of food.

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