United Way makes initial $1.5 million investment round through its racial equity fund

Photo: Public Allies

United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County announced Monday the recipients of a $1.5 million investment round through a Racial Equity Fund established with a donation from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott.

The investment will support 11 Black- and brown-led Milwaukee organizations over the next three years.

They include: African American Breastfeeding Network, Artists Working in Education, Asian American Pacific Islander Coalition of Wisconsin, Black Arts MKE, Inc., Black Educators Caucus, CAPITA (City at Peace in the Arts) Productions, Metcalfe Park Community Bridges, Public Allies Wisconsin, Southside Organizing Committee (SOC), Walker’s Point Center for the Arts (WPCA), and Walnut Way Conservation Corps.

United Way announced last February its plans to create a racial equity portfolio that would house existing initiatives – including its work with Boys & Men of Color and Milwaukee Fellows – and new initiatives, such as providing general operating grants for Black- and brown-led organizations to increase their sustainability and capacity.

The racial equity work was one of several initiatives supported by Scott’s $25 million gift to the organization in late 2020.

In addition to the initial 11 organizations, United Way will make four other investments in agencies through the Racial Equity Fund over the next three years, which will be determined by its racial equity advisory committee.

“We are so grateful to our advisory committee who guided us with our funding decisions,” said Nicole Angresano, vice president of community impact for United Way. “They chose a broad range of local organizations who are already doing powerful work right here in our neighborhoods. We believe this funding will not only support their day-to-day operations but allow them to build the infrastructure necessary to make system-level change.”

United Way also said it would direct funding from the Scott gift to support its initiative to end family homelessness in the Milwaukee area and expand its Community Schools program to more schools.

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