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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.

Grant amount

  • Grants will range from $500 to $5,000.
  • One application may be submitted per eligible group.


Proposals from city of Milwaukee resident groups and grassroots groups, neighborhood-based organizations both formal and informal, even if they are not an incorporated, or 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations. Any group without official nonprofit status will need to partner with a 501(c)(3) organization to serve as the fiscal sponsor to serve as the recipient and manager of the grant. Eligible nonprofit organizations are required to have board membership that is at least 10 percent people of color. The term “people of color” refers to all persons who are not categorized as white by the U.S. Census.

Target audience to be served

Grants are intended to support the work of formal and informal groups formed by everyday people out of their mutual self-interest. We are looking for ideas that originate with a group of people from a city of Milwaukee neighborhood and that are being moved into action through educational events, group or youth activities, festivals, performances, picnics, recreational and block level activities, and those which build resident leadership.

Spring 2017 Deadlines

1st Cycle

March 1


Application available

April 3


Grant application deadline (11 p.m. CST)

May 12


Applicants notified of final funding decision

2nd Cycle

May 22


Application available

June 21


Grant application deadline (11 p.m. CST)

July 21


Applicants notified of final funding decision


How to Apply

First time applicants must first create an organizational profile before receiving access to the grant application. Not to be confused with the application itself, the profile provides necessary general information about your agency that is not contained in the grant application.

Grant materials

Grant application guidelines and questions (PDF)

Expense sheet (PDF)

Required attachments

  • Audited financial statement
  • Most recent income and expense statement
  • Most recent balance sheet

Learn More

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