The YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee (the Milwaukee Y) announced today that a public/private consortium of funders – including Bader Philanthropies, Inc.’s Isabel and Alfred Bader Fund, the City of Milwaukee, the Greater Milwaukee Foundation, Herb Kohl Philanthropies, the Northwestern Mutual Foundation and the Zilber Family Foundation – have agreed to strategically invest in furthering the Y’s urban mission in Milwaukee. To-date, over $1 million in private funds have been committed, with additional commitments expected to be made this year, including a multi-year block grant from the City of Milwaukee.
These investments build on increased demand for Y programs, expanded community partnerships and continuous improvements to the Y’s operating model. Separate from the Y’s Annual Campaign, this “venture philanthropy” approach calls for up to five years of strategic funding as the Milwaukee Y continues to strengthen its capacity and capability to help children, youth and families lead healthy, productive lives.
“The Zilber Family Foundation’s board of directors has followed the Y’s story over the years and has been impressed with its willingness to face its challenges head on while never forgetting its mission and purpose,” said Susan Lloyd, executive director of the Zilber Family Foundation. “We and other funders considered what the partnership means, not only for the Northside Y and the YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee as a whole, but also for residents throughout the city.”
The Milwaukee Y’s earned revenue and fundraising is pacing ahead of 2016 targets and 2015 results, ensuring that its urban mission continues to flourish. So far in 2016:
- Enrollment in the Milwaukee Y’s school programming, which includes both Early Childhood Education and Before & After School Care, is 6.5 percent ahead of 2015’s full-year totals. Seven new school locations have signed up for the 2016/2017 school year, with registrations expected to continue throughout the summer and into the fall.
- Registrations for Camp FLY, the Milwaukee Y’s summer day camp program that focuses on stemming summer learning loss, are up 18 percent compared to last year’s totals.
- Camp Minikani, the Milwaukee Y’s day and overnight camp on Lake Amy Belle in Hubertus, Wisconsin, is nearly 98 percent full for the summer, with last-minute registrations expecting to push the camp to full capacity.
- Registration for the second year of Milwaukee Swims, a swim safety program, is off to a great start, with a full enrollment push currently underway. Lessons are available for children ages 6 and above and non-swimming adults for just $5 per child, with a family maximum of $10.
- New for Fall 2016, the Milwaukee Y will be providing School’s Out Camp at Parklawn, a safe way for children to have fun on days when school is not in session.
In addition to private foundation support, the City of Milwaukee has committed a multi-year community development block grant to help sustain the Y’s urban mission. Tom Barrett, mayor of Milwaukee, said: “The Y has had a long, vibrant history in Milwaukee. We are proud to continue to stand by them as they work with us and others to help build strong, healthy, safe communities throughout Milwaukee.” The amount of the grant will be determined this fall.
“I am impressed with this public/private approach and the Milwaukee Y’s creativity and commitment to developing solutions-based programming that directly responds to critical needs,” said Alderman Ashanti Hamilton, president of the Milwaukee Common Council. “And they’re doing this by going beyond their four walls to meet Milwaukee’s kids and families in our communities, right where they live, work and play.”
The Milwaukee Y also today provided an update on the upcoming leadership transition of Julie Tolan, president and CEO of the Milwaukee Y. As previously announced, Tolan will step down on June 30. Given strong confidence in the existing leadership team and the organization’s improving performance, the board of directors has asked Jack Takerian, current chief operating officer of the Milwaukee Y, to serve as interim CEO.
Takerian will continue to be supported by Tina Schmitz, chief financial officer, Helen Boomsma, vice president of development and community relations, and TR Yow, vice president of center operations. Tolan has agreed to serve as a consultant to the organization through December 31, 2016, to ensure a smooth and successful transition.
“There is tremendous potential for the Y to positively impact many more of the children and families who need our help the most,” said Julie Tolan, president and CEO of the YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee. “It is nearly impossible to put into words how grateful we are that these funders value the work of the Milwaukee Y, and are willing to walk with our leadership to advance our mission and strategy. They are true partners.”
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