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Milwaukee neighborhoods are not immune to the unrest experienced in Sherman Park. The Greater Milwaukee Foundation staff heard directly from residents and community leaders across the City of Milwaukee on the need for immediate support for organizations proactively working to prevent turmoil in neighborhoods, build community and strengthen neighborhoods. In August 2016, the Foundation created The Reasons for Hope MKE Fund.

The Reasons for Hope MKE Fund offers a prompt response grant opportunity designed to support community based actions and activities that will encourage social connections, promote peace, and build community cohesion. GMF and our donors seeded the new fund with $200,000 in direct response to many people and organizations who are seeking to take action in their neighborhoods right now, on the ground.


  • Grants will range from $500 to $5,000.
  • Proposals from residents and grassroots groups, neighborhood-based organizations both formal and informal, even if they are not an incorporated, or 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organizations. Groups without official nonprofit status will need to partner with a 501 (c) (3) group to serve as the fiscal sponsor.
  • Grants must support activities taking place in neighborhoods within the city of Milwaukee.
  • Grants may be used for activities that promote peace and community building and cohesion, which may include but are not limited:
    • Educational events
    • Group or youth activities
    • Resident leadership
    • Recreational activities
    • Festivals
    • Performances
    • Picnics
    • Block level activities, including rental of venues and supplies
  • Groups, agencies, and organizations whose interests are consistent with the goal to support solutions that make neighborhoods better are welcome to apply.
  • Grant funds may not be used to support or advocate for activities that promote civil disorder.

How to Apply

To apply for funding, please download and complete the Reasons for Hope MKE Fund Application. Email your completed application to reasonsforhopeMKE@greatermilwaukeefoundation.org.

Applications will be accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis. Please note the last application for this fund must be submitted by November 1. Grants will be awarded twice per month on a rolling basis, beginning on September 16.

Applications will be reviewed by an advisory committee of local community leaders.

Grant decisions will be made twice per month on a rolling basis.

All activities must be completed by December 30, 2016. Successful applicants will be asked to meet at the conclusion of activities to discuss lessons learned.

Questions about eligible projects can be directed to Darlene C. Russell at drussell@greatermilwaukeefoundation.org or 414-272-5805.

Learn More

russell1-web.jpgContact Senior Program Officer Darlene C. Russell to learn more about our community development work.