ThriveOn Small Business Loans

A relief round of funding by the Greater Milwaukee Foundation’s Impact Investing Program

The Greater Milwaukee Foundation through impact investing has committed $1 million in Milwaukee’s Harambee, Halyard Park and Brewers Hill neighborhoods to curtail the negative impacts COVID-19 on small business and the subsequent economic crisis which continues to affect small businesses owned by Black and Brown entrepreneurs. 

The Foundation believes in a Milwaukee that is equitable and thriving. We know that education, economic opportunity and health are the building blocks of a healthy life. We also know that small businesses provide key quality of life goods and services for individuals, and are the heart of many neighborhoods throughout our city. Small businesses have a bottom line, but they provide more than simply a financial return to individuals, neighborhoods, and our region. At the heart of the Foundation’s community-based ThriveOn Collaboration is the vision for a Milwaukee that is equitable, healthy and thriving for all. In partnership with its donors, the Foundation is mobilizing $1 million in loan capital to help stabilize local businesses important to families and our economy.


  • Loan Amount: Maximum loan amount $50,000; Loan amounts vary based on need and capacity to repay.
  • Terms
    • 2% fixed interest
    • 20-year term
    • No prepayment penalty or fees
    • No interest or principal payments for 12 months. Principal and Interest repayment thereafter.
  • Repayment: This loan product is not forgivable and requires repayment.
  • Use of Proceeds: Working capital and normal operating expenses; refinance of higher cost or burdensome debt obligations resulting in cost savings. Loan can support business stabilization, revenue or staff growth with identified repayment capacity.
  • Collateral:
    • Loans will be secured by General Business Security Agreement (UCC) designating business assets as collateral, such as machinery and equipment, furniture and fixtures, etc. 
    • Personal Owner Guaranty, and 
    • If necessary physical (building) collateral.


  • Geographic Focus: Small business owners within Milwaukee’s north side neighborhoods of Halyard Park, Harambee, and Brewers Hill, but open to all small business owners in the City of Milwaukee.
  • Sector Focus: Early childhood education, restaurant/hospitality, retail and arts & culture, but open to all business sectors.
  • Ownership: Focus on Black-and Brown-owned businesses, but business owners of all races and ethnicities and eligible sectors may apply and will be given consideration.
  • Physical Location: To preserve and support community business, businesses with a physical address within geographic focus are preferred.
  • Business Tenure: Business established and operating prior to 1/1/2020 and currently operating (business has not closed).
  • Coronavirus Impact: Documented financial or operational impact due to COVID-19 pandemic.

If you are a Foundation donor interested in granting toward this round of funding, please contact your philanthropic adviser. If you are not yet a Foundation donor, you can give online or contact Andy Ogden to make a contribution.


Download and complete the digital application

Submit your application and
supporting materials to


Additional forms

Stand-alone Personal Financial Statement
(if required)


Loan application deadline
July 2, 2021 

Disbursements made by
August 2021


Program questions
For inquiries about the program, please contact William Martin at 414-350-4207

Application questions
For inquiries about your application, please contact Terese Caro at 414-343-3091