As a community foundation, the Greater Milwaukee Foundation aims to build trusted partnerships with community members, including but not limited to our grantmaking process. Within that community-building process, the Foundation’s grantmakers seek to understand the authentic needs of the community by honoring the expertise and lived experiences of the individuals impacted by unjust systems. Our grants prioritize immediate community needs and the redress of historic and persistent racial harm while prioritizing transformative approaches to advancing racial equity that transfers power, builds representation and structures new ways of being.  

Although grantmaking is just one resource that can support a community’s vision for itself, funding decisions are made with a commitment to trust the people closest to an issue and to humbly discern how best to allocate limited resources using the criteria below.

What the Foundation does NOT fund

  • Individuals or individual schools
  • Ongoing operating expenses
  • Debt reduction or agency endowments
  • Sectarian organizations for religious purposes
  • For-profit organizations
  • Partisan political activities

Who may apply

Grants are made only to 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations and, on occasion, to governmental agencies. An eligible fiscal sponsor may apply on behalf of an organization that is not a 501(c)(3). View the Fiscal Sponsor Agreement for more information.

Geographically, funding for our discretionary grantmaking program is limited to projects that will significantly improve the lives of people living in Milwaukee, Waukesha, Ozaukee and Washington counties. Grants to individuals are ineligible for support from the Foundation's discretionary funds.

Generally, the Foundation awards grants to an organization for up to one year although they may be longer, given program priorities. An organization may only have one open grant per grant period.

The Foundation is committed to promoting equity and inclusion with a focus on racial equity in our community. This commitment applies to our grantmaking. Nonprofit board diversity is the first of many things we will consider. Eligible nonprofits must have board membership that is at least 10 percent people of color. The term “people of color” refers to African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans and all other persons who are not categorized as white by the U.S. Census.

How to apply

Review the steps in the Grant Application Process section and then log on to Foundant to complete your application. 

Evaluation criteria

  • Demonstrated financial need for the project, program, or the organization’s operating expenses 
  • Fiscal state of the agency 
  • Ability of an organization to implement project and/or its mission 
  • Organization ‘s project or mission advances racial equity and inclusion
  • Collaboration with other organizations 
  • Racial/ethnic diversity of the organization's governing board 
  • Advances community leadership


Grants Portal Access


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Contact Us

hines-janel.jpgFor questions on our grantmaking priorities and guidelines, contact Janel Hines.