With the right tools, residents improve their neighborhoods through beautification, community-hosted programming and safety initiatives. To ensure residents have this opportunity, Northwestern Mutual, through its foundation, along with the Greater Milwaukee Foundation and the Zilber Family Foundation are together launching Community Connections, a small grants program to help fund resident-led efforts to improve the quality of life in the neighborhoods the three foundations support.
The program awards up to $500 to groups of three or more community members to support projects, events and activities. The grants are some of the first of their kind for the area as the funding goes directly to residents rather than relying on a nonprofit to accept or manage funds.
“We’re able to have a greater impact on the community when we collaborate with others that have similar goals,” said John Kordsmeier, president, Northwestern Mutual Foundation. “This program enables small groups of thoughtful, committed Milwaukee residents to make contributions to drive positive change, which we hope will lead to a bigger movement of getting others in their neighborhoods to join them.”
Residents in 21 neighborhoods can use the funds for a variety of projects including after-school and youth-led programs, beautification, community safety, health and wellness, literacy or adult education, public art, neighborhood festivals or events and urban gardens. To learn more about the effort and apply for grants, residents are invited to visit www.ccsmallgrants.org.
“Funding shouldn’t hold a community back when it comes to bettering the neighborhood,” said Kathryn Dunn, vice president, community investment, Greater Milwaukee Foundation. “We’re excited to kick off this grant program and look forward to the great ideas, projects and programs that will be a result of this partnership.”
Applications will be available June 2 and due July 1 with two grant cycles per year. Up to $30,000 in grants will be awarded to support resident-led projects.
“This program is aimed at building a network of actively engaged resident leaders,” said Susan Lloyd, executive director, Zilber Family Foundation. “Along with making improvements to neighborhoods, we hope the program strengthens the sense of community and increases feelings of neighborhood ownership among residents.”
Residents in the following neighborhoods are eligible to apply: Amani, Baran Park, Capitol Heights, Clarke Square, Concordia, Harambee, Havenwoods, Johnsons Park, Layton Boulevard West, Lincoln Village, Lindsay Heights, Martin Drive, Metcalfe Park, Muskego Way, Riverwest, Sherman Park, Silver Spring, Thurston Woods, Tower Hill Waukesha, Old North Milwaukee and Washington Park.