Local philanthropic coalition raises $1.2 million to help community during coronavirus outbreak

Prioritizing food, housing and medical needs

A coalition of prominent Milwaukee-area philanthropic and nonprofit organizations has raised $1.2 million to date to provide resources for those affected by the COVID-19 coronavirus.

Initial partners include Advancing a Healthier Wisconsin Endowment, Bader Philanthropies, Brewers Community Foundation, Burke Foundation, Greater Milwaukee Committee, Greater Milwaukee Foundation and its donors, Herb Kohl Philanthropies, Milwaukee Public Schools, Northwestern Mutual Foundation, United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County, Wells Fargo and Zilber Family Foundation.

The coalition said its highest priorities right now are providing access to food, housing and shelter and medical needs.

“Our focus right now is those agencies on the front line who are providing emergency food, who are making sure that the most vulnerable in our community have what they need,” said Amy Lindner, president and chief executive officer of United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County. “Everybody’s scared right now, it’s understandable. And everybody needs a little bit of help in some way. But there also are a lot of us who are in a position to help.”

The group said it will leverage funding and volunteer resources jointly to maximize the community impact. In particular, the funding will sustain nonprofits’ “essential work” amid the disruption and social distancing measures put in place to slow COVID-19’s spread.

“Though our community faces both uncertainty and adversity caused by the evolving COVID-19 pandemic, the philanthropic community is leaning on its long history of compassionate generosity and commitment to the health and well-being of greater Milwaukee to guide our cooperation today,” said Ellen Gilligan, president and CEO of the Greater Milwaukee Foundation. “Our certainty that we are greater together is a powerful catalyst for today’s solutions, and we will continue to work collectively to protect our community’s health, economy and quality of life.”

Those interested in donating can contribute to the MKE Responds Fund at the Greater Milwaukee Foundation, the COVID-19 Urgent Needs Fund at United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County, or give directly to nonprofit organizations of their choosing.

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