Two of Milwaukee’s largest private philanthropic foundations have stepped up to make major lead gifts to the Running Rebels $4.1 million Capital Campaign. The Bradley Foundation has committed $500,000 and the Burke Foundation has committed $250,000 to help the organization establish a presence at a beautiful new building located at 225 W. Capitol Dr., while maintaining services at the original Running Rebels location at 1300 Fond du Lac Ave.
Running Rebels Community Organization provides mentor-based programs focused on transforming the lives of some of Milwaukee’s hardest to reach and most at-risk African American youth, with a particular focus on serving boys, teen boys, and young men.
In early 2017, with support from the Zilber Foundation and IFF, Running Rebels purchased the modern new building on Capitol Dr., which was specifically designed for providing youth services and includes classrooms, more private meeting spaces for individual mentoring, a commercial grade kitchen, a gym and locker rooms
“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 and to have our own gym,” says Running Rebels Founder and Co-Executive Director Victor Barnett.
“We are incredibly grateful to the Bradley and Burke Foundations for investing in Running Rebels and the young people we serve. The Bradley Foundation has supported our growth for many years. The Burke Foundation came on board this year. We are just amazed at their commitment to youth in Milwaukee,” Barnett says.
In addition to the major gifts provided by Bradley and Burke, one of Running Rebels own stepped up to make a substantial contribution to the campaign. NBA star, Kevon Looney, who started with Running Rebels when he was in fourth grade and now plays for the Golden State Warriors was in town last week to present a $10,000 personal check to Running Rebels and shoot some hoops in the new gym.
“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!” said Barnett.
Running Rebels, which offers mentoring, arts, athletics, workforce development, tutoring, and college prep services to about 1500 youth annually must still raise about $2 million to complete improvements at both facilities, expand programming, and create a solid foundation for the future.
Founded in 1985, the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation supports organizations that are committed to fostering strong families and communities, informing and educating citizens, advancing economic growth and promoting the principles of a free society.
The Burke Foundation seeks to make a difference in the lives of youth by investing in creative, well-conceived and cost-effective educational opportunities that enhance and improve the character, quality and access to education; the personal, social and intellectual development of children and youth; the educational and social quality of community life.