The Greater Milwaukee Foundation gave out $95.5 million in grants in 2017, far exceeding the foundation’s grant-making record of $60 million set in 2016.
[caption id="attachment_140375" align="alignright" width="356"] The Greater Milwaukee Foundation offices, located in the Schlitz Park office complex.[/caption]
“Philanthropy can help propel the development of solutions to a community’s most pressing needs,” said Ellen Gilligan, president and chief executive officer of the GMF. “The foundation’s donors continue to expand their giving, leading to greater opportunities for progress and partnerships, and a higher quality of life for people throughout our region.”
This is the breakdown of how grant money was awarded by the GMF in 2017:
Community development: $56.78 million
Education: $10.33 million
Human services: $7.61 million
Arts and culture: $6.19 million
Health: $4.74 million
Environment: $4.12 million
Child/Youth/Family: $3.49 million
Employment and training: $868,000
Other: $1.36 million
Of the total directed to community development, $52 million in charitable funds supported the development of the downtown arena project, as directed by former U.S. senator and philanthropist Herb Kohl, whose gift of $100 million is stewarded by the foundation. GMF spokesman Jeremy Podolski attributed the notable year-over-year grant funding spike in part to the release of those funds. Kohl's gift was made to GMF at the end of 2014, but dollars didn’t enter the community until the project was underway. In 2016, about $17 million from the gift was granted out in support of the arena project.
Last year also marked one of the community’s most generous years on record, GMF officials said. Donors giving to and through the foundation contributed more than $46 million in 2017.
The GMF makes grants, directed by its board, in support of strategies that contribute to a higher quality of life for people in the greater Milwaukee area. Grants are also issued on behalf of donor-advised funds and other vehicles for charitable giving established at the foundation.
The foundation highlighted several grants awarded in 2017, including:
Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, Marquette University and the Medical College of Wisconsin were each awarded $225,000 to support medical research projects investigating health issues and interventions focused primarily on addressing health disparities in communities of color.
18 organizations that provide services to meet basic food and shelter needs in the region were awarded more than $368,000 for capital improvement projects. Recipients include: Central City Churches Outreach Ministry, Congregation of St. John’s Cathedral, Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin, Food Pantry of Waukesha County, Friedens Community Ministries, Guest House of Milwaukee, Hebron House of Hospitality, Hope House of Milwaukee, Interchange, Milwaukee Rescue Mission, Pathfinders Milwaukee, Solomon Community Temple United Methodist Church, St. Vincent De Paul Society of Milwaukee, The Women’s Center, Triangle of Hope, United Methodist Children’s Services of Wisconsin and United Migrant Opportunity Services.
Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee was awarded $300,000 over three years in administrative support for Sponsor-a-Scholar, which provides individualized attention to help students succeed in preparing for and completing college.
LISC Milwaukee was awarded $300,000 over three years to help the organization increase its capacity to work on community revitalization related to affordable housing, public safety, economic development and family financial security.
YWCA of Southeast Wisconsin was awarded $100,000 over two years to hire a full-time trainer to expand the agency’s capacity to address racial justice issues, including the creation of additional racial justice education opportunities.
Islands of Brilliance was awarded $100,000 over two years to hire a program coordinator, allowing the organization to expand course offerings for young adults on the autism spectrum.