Last updated on July 1st, 2019 at 11:01 am
The funding came from Chase’s Partnerships for Raising Opportunity in Neighborhoods program and will be targeted to neighborhoods adjacent to downtown to support neighborhood entrepreneurship, alleviate blight and fill vacant commercial space. Brew City Match was one of four winning collaboratives nationally to be funded this year through the PRO Neighborhoods program.
Brew City Match, modeled on Detroit’s Motor City Match, includes neighborhood entrepreneurship program RISE and Pop-Up MKE, which matches entrepreneurs to “pop-up” retail spaces in vacant storefronts along Historic King Drive, Cesar Chavez Drive, and the North Avenue and Fond du Lac business improvement districts with the help of the City of Milwaukee’s white box and façade funding. Among the entrepreneurs that took part in the first two cohorts of Pop-Up MKE was Tiffany Miller of FlyBlooms.
Chase says the new funding will support hundreds of local businesses and help revamp 1 million square feet of commercial properties in disinvested commercial corridors in Milwaukee.
Chase initially made a $200,000 investment in Brew City match, which is led by LISC and also includes fellow Community Development Financial Institutions Hmong Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce, Columbia Savings and Loan, Milwaukee Economic Development Corp. and the Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corp. The CDFIs work with the Milwaukee Department of City Development and the Greater Milwaukee Committee.
“Collaboration is the key to developing long-term, regional economic solutions that benefit everyone,” said Whitney Smith, head of Midwest philanthropy for JPMorgan Chase. “Partnering with Brew City Match will bring much-needed resources to enhance and activate Milwaukee’s underserved commercial corridors, ultimately driving inclusive growth.”
“Brew City Match has a framework similar to Detroit’s Motor City Match and is a direct response to recent investments in downtown development,” said Donsia Strong Hill, executive director of LISC Milwaukee. “This initiative will help adjacent neighborhood corridors to stabilize and benefit from the emerging growth opportunities, while mitigating the risk of widespread displacement. BCM also provides what minority entrepreneurs need to achieve economic mobility—access to affordable, flexible capital and the technical support to help them thrive.”