Running Rebels Community Organization has launched a capital campaign to purchase and operate a second community center in Milwaukee’s Harambee neighborhood. The $4.1 million Full Circle Capital Campaign will allow the organization to purchase the building at 225 W. Capitol Drive, make improvements to its current community center at 1300 W. Fond Du Lac Ave., create a building reserve fund and provide additional program support.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 provides after-school and summer educational programming for Milwaukee youth.
The capital campaign is co-chaired by Clifton Phelps, vice president of business development for JCP Construction, and Craig Robinson, vice president of player and organizational development for the Milwaukee Bucks.
Running Rebels has secured more than $1 million in gifts and pledges to date, including a $500,000 lead gift from the Zilber Family Foundation and an additional $500,000 as a challenge grant to close the campaign. “The new facility on Capitol Drive will increase Running Rebels’ capacity to provide after school programs in art, music, athletics, and academics,” said Phelps, who serves on the Running Rebels board. “These programs empower our youth and set them up for success as adults." Robinson, a former basketball player and coach, touted Running Rebels’ use of basketball as a youth development tool.“Mentoring is the key to transforming youth into empowered adults,” Robinson said. “It is an honor to help Running Rebels raise the funds it needs to expand and sustain its mentoring and youth development programs.” Additional support has come from Chicago-based nonprofit facilities lender IFF, the Milwaukee Bucks, Phoenix Investors, Alderwoman Milele Coggs and Common Council President Ashanti Hamilton, the organization said in a news release.“The Rebels East development concept compliments our mission of revitalization and economic growth in Milwaukee,” said Frank Crivello, chairman of Phoenix Investors. “Therefore we are honored to support Dawn and Victor with the incredible work that they are doing right here in the heart of the city."