At its recent meeting, the board of directors of the Zilber Family Foundation awarded 17 grants totaling $3,035,000 to nonprofit organizations in Milwaukee, bringing the total for 2017 to $7,847,265. The grants support organizations working to address the causes and consequences of poverty in Clarke Square, Layton Boulevard West, Lindsay Heights, and other city neighborhoods. Through the Zilber Neighborhood Initiative, the Foundation funds local efforts to meet basic needs, increase access to social and economic opportunity, and improve the quality of life in a 110-block area on the city’s north side and a 170-block area on the south side. Newly-awarded grants include:
- $50,000 to Feeding America of Eastern Wisconsin to increase access to healthy foods for low-income households in Lindsay Heights and support an indoor agriculture program at youth-serving organizations. Together with its 15 partners in Lindsay Heights, Feeding America will increase local production and distribution of foods that promote good health, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains; invest in the capacity of local agencies to expand urban farming; and deliver food boxes to homebound senior citizens in the neighborhood. As the leading hunger-relief organization in Wisconsin, Feeding America annually provides more than 21 million meals to 400,000 people, including nearly 10,000 residents in Lindsay Heights.
- $200,000 over two years to Layton Boulevard West Neighbors to support capital improvements to Burnham Park, which is located at the center of the Layton Boulevard West neighborhoods. Burnham Park is the only significant green space in a 165-block radius, and is the neighborhood park and community gathering spot for some 21,000 residents. Renovations include the conversion of a small wading pool into a larger ADA-accessible splash pad, new playground equipment, and new basketball courts. Construction is scheduled to begin by early summer of 2018.
- $100,000 to Revitalize Milwaukee to continue its partnership with Clarke Square Neighborhood Initiative (CSNI) to deliver specialized home repair services to low- and moderate-income residents of Clarke Square. Revitalize Milwaukee’s programs preserve affordable housing, improve vulnerable neighborhoods, and keep older adults and disabled individuals safe in their homes. The grant will allow Revitalize Milwaukee and CSNI to complete more than 20 home improvement projects in the neighborhood, award home improvement grants to homeowners totaling $46,500, and host the annual Most Improved Home contest. In 2017, Revitalize Milwaukee invested $287,000 to improve 30 properties in Clarke Square with landscaping, painting, plumbing, window replacement, and electrical systems upgrades.
- $200,000 over two years to Running Rebels Community Organization to provide afterschool and summer programs for at-risk youth and young adults in Milwaukee. Founded in 1980, Running Rebels is Milwaukee’s premier community-based youth mentoring program, serving primarily African-American youth. It offers alternatives to gangs, drugs, delinquency, and violence through educational and recreational programs and adult mentoring. The grant will also support Running Rebels to deliver violence prevention programs in seven MPS schools and operate its R-Life Café, a catering business where young people gain on-the-job experience in the food service industry. More than 1,500 youth benefit from Running Rebels programs annually. This operating grant adds to a grant of $1 million awarded last year. The 2016 grant helped Running Rebels to purchase a new building and to offer donors the chance to match, dollar-for-dollar, donations up to $500,000 to support the growth of Running Rebels. The Full Circle Capital Campaign is co-chaired by Bucks broadcaster and former player, Marques Johnson, and Clifton Phelps, vice president for business development at JCP Construction.
- $20,000 to Silver Spring Neighborhood Center to expand its job readiness training, education, and career navigation services for adults in Milwaukee neighborhoods. Silver Spring serves residents of Westlawn, Wisconsin’s largest public housing development, and the surrounding community. The grant will allow Silver Spring to offer its current employment program to up to 235 men and women ages 18-45 who are unemployed or underemployed and live in nearby neighborhoods. Funds would also be used to expand educational programs in health care, information technology, and customer service, to be delivered at the Learning Center at Carmen High School and Technology sponsored by Froedtert Hospital and the Medical College of Wisconsin.
- $50,000 to Sixteenth Street Community Health Centers to support community engagement and environmental health programs in Clarke Square, Layton Boulevard West, and other south side Milwaukee neighborhoods. Sixteenth Street, a federally qualified community health center, serves nearly 40,000 residents each year. In partnership with other community organizations, Sixteenth Street will design and deliver services in the areas of housing improvement, community safety, economic development, land use planning, environmental cleanup, and grassroots leadership development. The grant also will support outreach efforts to more than 2,000 residents in the Kinnickinnic River Corridor.
For more information and a complete list of Zilber Family Foundation grants, visit: www.zilberfamilyfoundation.org.
Formed in 1961, the Zilber Family Foundation is a private independent grantmaking institution dedicated to enhancing the well-being of individuals, families, and neighborhoods, with an emphasis on the City of Milwaukee. Since the start of the Zilber Neighborhood Initiative in 2008, the Zilber Family Foundation board of directors has awarded $54,823,312 to support programs that meet basic human needs, enhance access to economic opportunity, and improve the quality of community life.