Running Rebels Community Organization’s capital campaign to establish a second Milwaukee community center has received a $750,000 boost thanks to recent gifts from the Lynde & Harry Bradley Foundation and Burke Foundation.
The Bradley Foundation’s $500,000 gift and the Burke Foundation’s $250,000 gift will support the organization’s new community center at 225 W. Capitol Drive in Milwaukee’s Harambee neighborhood and help maintain services at its original center at 1300 W. Fond Du Lac Ave.
Running Rebels, which provides after-school and summer educational programming for Milwaukee youth, is in the middle of a $4.1 million campaign to fund the purchase of the new building, make improvements to its Fond Du Lac Avenue building, create a reserve fund and provide additional program support.
The organization purchased the building on Capitol Drive in early 2017 with support from the Zilber Family Foundation and Chicago-based nonprofit facilities lender IFF. The new community center, called Running Rebels East, triples the organization’s space and includes a gym, cafeteria, catering kitchen, computer labs and offices for its 125-person staff. The organization serves about 1,500 youth annually.
“It’s a major milestone for us to be in this 21st century facility and to be able to provide our community with a higher level of service, more services, and to have our own gym,” said Victor Barnett, Running Rebels founder and co-executive director. “We are incredibly grateful to the Bradley and Burke Foundations for investing in Running Rebels and the young people we serve.”
Running Rebels has about $2 million left to raise, officials said.
The campaign has enjoyed the backing of Golden State Warriors player Kevon Looney, who participated in Running Rebels activities while growing up in Milwaukee. Looney recently presented a $10,000 personal check to the organization.
“We stress the importance of giving back to all of the kids, so it is incredibly meaningful to have Kevon step up and support the campaign in such a big way,” Barnett said.
The Milwaukee Bucks Foundation also gave $100,000 to the campaign in June 2017.