Acts Executive Director Michael Gosman, 2018 Homeowner of the Year James Reynolds, and Board President Allison Steinhafel
Since 2017, Acts Housing’s community partners and supporters have raised more than $2.1 million though a capital campaign. With a theme of Bring Us Home, proceeds from the campaign will be allocated to Acts Lending’s Loan fund to support families purchasing and repairing properties, and also to the purchase and renovation of Acts Housing’s “home” on 24th and Vliet, a once vacant convent building. On May 13, supporters of Acts gathered at the nonprofit’s location at 2414 W Vliet to celebrate.
The $2.1 million raised is a dramatic increase from all previous fundraising efforts.
In his remarks during the program, Acts Executive Director Michael Gosman marveled at the growth he has seen in the organization in the seven years he’s been an employee.
“When I started at Acts…only three individuals made gifts as large as $1,000,” he said. “We were doing great work, but we weren’t that well-known and we didn’t have the resources to do much more.”
Since then, Gosman said Acts has been able to increase impact by growing the team, create a strong volunteer base, and improve excellence in family service.
To celebrate the campaign’s success, attendees heard from the Zilber Family Foundation and Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation as well as Acts homeowner James Reynolds.
Reynolds was paying $550 in rent each month, but when he purchased his home his housing payment decreased to $262.
He said supporting Acts is a win-win.
“It’s a win for the city, it’s a win for the homeowners, and it’s a win for donors,” Reynolds said.
President and CEO of the Bradley Foundation, Rick Graber, drew parallels between his organization’s founders Lynde and Harry Bradley and Acts Housing.
“They believed in strong communities and in the City of Milwaukee,” Graber said. He said the Foundation’s challenge when reviewing philanthropic grant applications is to think about what the Bradleys would do.
“It’s not always easy,” Graber said. “But when it comes to Acts Housing it is pretty easy” he said citing the opportunities currently exist that didn’t exist before, the dignity that comes from accomplishing homeownership, and the markets being created.
“If Lynde and Harry were here…they’d be nodding their head in approval of this partnership,” Graber said.
The Zilber Family Foundation was one of the earliest supporters of the fundraising campaign.
“When [Gosman] asked if we would consider making a capital gift, I said absolutely,” said Zilber Family Foundation Executive Director, Gina Stilp. She said the Foundation had previously made grants to Acts to increase homeownership opportunities based on the foundation’s commitment to bettering the lives of low-income children and its commitment to neighborhoods.
Eighty Acts families have purchased homes in the Zilber neighborhoods: Lindsay Heights, Layton Boulevard West Neighbors, and Clarke Square.