JPMorgan Chase & Co. announced $3.5 million for a collaborative of Milwaukee-based economic development organizations to help fuel economic development in underserved communities—including revitalizing commercial strips, spurring entrepreneurship for people of color, and creating jobs within the MKEUnited footprint.
Known as Brew City Match (BCM), the collaborative will use the funding from winning JPMorgan Chase’s Partnerships for Raising Opportunity in Neighborhoods (PRO Neighborhoods) competition, to provide capital coupled with business and financial educational support. BCM will leverage City of Milwaukee white box and façade funding to help grow neighborhood businesses, alleviate blight and fill vacant commercial space. The group’s goal is to take advantage of the hundreds of millions of dollars of downtown development activity to benefit downtown-adjacent areas—without displacing residents or threatening the neighborhood’s rich culture and character.
“Collaboration is the key to developing long-term, regional economic solutions that benefit everyone,” said Whitney Smith, head of Midwest philanthropy for JPMorgan Chase. “Partnering with Brew City Match will bring much-needed resources to enhance and activate Milwaukee’s underserved commercial corridors, ultimately driving inclusive growth.”
“Brew City Match has a framework similar to Detroit’s Motor City Match and is a direct response to recent investments in downtown development,” said Donsia Strong Hill, executive director of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) in Milwaukee. “This initiative will help adjacent neighborhood corridors to stabilize and benefit from the emerging growth opportunities, while mitigating the risk of wide-spread displacement. BCM also provides what minority entrepreneurs need to achieve economic mobility—access to affordable, flexible capital and the technical support to help them thrive.”
LISC is leading BCM and is a certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) and working in concert with these other key partners, also CDFIs, the Hmong Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce, Columbia Savings and Loan, MEDC, and the Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation (WWBIC), and will coordinate with the City of Milwaukee’s Department of City Development and the Greater Milwaukee Committee (GMC).
BCM is the next phase of the successful RampUp, which includes “RISE,” an initiative to spur neighborhood entrepreneurship and “PopUp MKE,” commercial corridor retail popups. The funding for BCM will also in part lay the groundwork for additional neighborhood investment designed to provide catalytic investment for neighborhood projects and leverage capital opportunities led by MKEUnited in accordance with the MKEUnited Plan. Key to this initiative is an annual competition aimed at sparking collaboration among community development financial institutions (CDFIs), lenders that provide affordable financing to promote economic opportunity for underserved communities. The goal is to support and incentivize these organizations to leverage resources and expand lending for comprehensive, holistic strategies to close the opportunity gap in neighborhoods nationwide.
“WWBIC is thrilled to be part of this collaborative and essential work in the heart of these neighborhoods in Milwaukee,” said Wendy Baumann, WWBIC’s Chief Visionary Officer.
Additional partners include the African American Chamber of Commerce of Wisconsin, which will support, “RISE,” a culturally relevant entrepreneurship program and the Milwaukee Urban League, which will support mentoring through a revamped SCORE program.
BCM is one of only four winning collaboratives nationwide to be funded this year by JPMorgan Chase through its PRO Neighborhoods program, a five-year, $125 million commitment to provide communities with the capital and tools they need to support locally-driven solutions for reviving distressed neighborhoods across the U.S. JPMorgan Chase believes more people should have access to opportunity and the chance to move up the economic ladder, particularly in the world’s cities where the benefits of revitalization are not reaching everyone.
The JPMorgan Chase investment is expected to help support hundreds of local businesses and work to redevelop a million square feet of commercial properties in some of Milwaukee’s most disinvested commercial corridors.
A press conference and press availability with Mayor Tom Barrett, members of the collaborative, JP Morgan Chase officials, BID directors and other local officials will take place at the October 15th at 1:30pm at the Wellness Commons, most recently a “PopUp MKE” site, located at 1617 W. North Ave.