Thanks to a $130,000 grant from the Greater Milwaukee Foundation, more reading teachers within Milwaukee will have an opportunity to strengthen their essential skills and knowledge in literacy, ultimately impacting a minimum of 1,000 children in the city’s classrooms.

The grant to Marquette University’s Milwaukee Summer Reading Project supports teacher training for 40 Milwaukee educators, 11 of whom will teach in Marquette’s program this summer. The six-week intensive summer reading program began in 2010, shortly after research from the National Assessment of Education Progress showed that the city’s African American fourth grade students scored the lowest in the country when it came to reading. Howard Fuller, director of Marquette’s Institute for the Transformation of Learning and former superintendent for Milwaukee Public Schools, convened a group of area leaders together to tackle the alarming issue. The Foundation has supported the Milwaukee Summer Reading Project since its inception, providing grants that have covered student assessment and data analysis as well as professional development.

“A strength of the Milwaukee Summer Reading Project is the effective teacher training provided to its instructors,” said Jeannie Fenceroy, the Foundation’s senior program officer. “Students’ success in reading depends on knowledgeable, well-trained teachers. MSRP teachers learn why certain instructional practices work, how to recognize a specific challenge facing struggling readers, and how to address it. By training teachers to understand the complex process of reading development and instruction, more children will become successful, independent readers.”

During the summer of 2013, the Milwaukee Summer Reading Project served 152 students at four sites. Eighty percent of the students improved their reading comprehension skills, 82 percent improved their phonics skills and 86 percent improved their vocabulary knowledge.

The grant was part of more than $1,140,000 awarded through the Foundation’s first quarter competitive grant cycle to support its main grantmaking impact areas of strengthening education, strengthening neighborhoods, increasing economic opportunities and promoting racial equity and inclusion. Additional grants include:

Strengthening education

College Possible: $75,000 to support its ACT college preparation and readiness programming, which serves more than 600 students at 10 Milwaukee high schools.

Junior Achievement of Wisconsin: $50,000 in support of its career and personal financial initiative called College, Career & Life Ready Initiative, which works with 2,000 students and their teachers in Waukesha and Milwaukee.

PEARLS for Teen Girls: $45,000 to provide special training and coaching for the agency’s staff to better serve high need girls, or girls who have experienced some level of trauma such as sexual abuse, physical abuse, or mental illness.

Growing Minds: $25,000 to support implementation of the Mindfulness School Project in 50 classrooms within Milwaukee Public Schools. The project teaches social and emotional strategies that help students better deal with stressful situations.

Children’s Hospital and Health System Foundation: $15,000 to provide support and technical assistance to 11 health care clinics in Milwaukee to run Reach Out and Read, a program in which doctors and nurses promote early literacy and school readiness to young children and their families.

Strengthening neighborhoods

Rebuilding Together Greater Milwaukee: $95,000 for emergency repair and accessibility modifications for low-income elderly, veterans and homeowners with disabilities, with particular focus in Amani, Metcalfe Park and the neighborhoods participating in the Foundation’s Healthy Neighborhoods Initiative.

Housing Resources: $70,000 toward expansion of its marketing and education services for low to moderate income families throughout the four county area. These efforts will help identify buyers who are ready to purchase and implement online education classes to reach buyers who may be ready to purchase but cannot attend the current classes offered for a variety of reasons.

Dominican Center for Women: $25,000 toward continued support of the implementation of the Building Neighborhood Capacity Program in Milwaukee’s Amani neighborhood.

Neighborhood Improvement Development Corp.: $25,000 in funding for resident-led community improvement projects in Milwaukee neighborhoods that are part of the city’s Target Investment Neighborhood program.
Wisconsin Partnership for Housing Development: $25,000 toward business planning for a real estate fund to address the foreclosure crisis in Milwaukee.

CEOs for Cities: $3,000 in support of the participation of a group of Milwaukee civic, academic and community leaders in the multi-city leadership and learning organization, which promotes learning across multiple sectors in multiple cities.

Planning Council for Health & Human Services: $1,500 to support travel costs for a cohort of nonprofit staff from Milwaukee to participate in a conference about using the National Neighborhood Indicators Project.

Increasing economic opportunities

Milwaukee Area Workforce Funding Alliance: $150,000 (over two years) for matching funds to secure a Social Innovation Fund grant from the National Fund for Workforce Solutions. The funds will support workforce training programs in automotive repair, manufacturing and healthcare, and will help build the alliance’s capacity.

Southeastern WI Coalition for Transit NOW: $29,000 in support of the second phase of its workforce mobility study, which includes outreach to the business community to help address workforce mobility gaps in metro Milwaukee.

Milwaukee Christian Center: $25,000 for Youthbuild, a job training program that serves youth ages 16 to 23.

Waukesha County Community Dental Clinic: $25,000 to help the clinic expand its services, which include emergency care, exams and restorative care, to low-income adults in Waukesha County.

My Home, Your Home: $15,000 for matching funds for a Department of Housing and Urban Development grant that supports Lissy’s Place, the transitional housing program for young women who have aged out of foster care.

Promoting racial equity and inclusion

Diverse and Resilient: $25,000 for the second phase of Acceptance Journeys, a social marketing campaign designed to address stigma and discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals. The second phase will expand outreach and messaging to Milwaukee’s Latino community.

Regional vitality

Sojourner Family Peace Center: $75,000 (over two years) to expand its school and neighborhood based outreach and education programming.

Creative Alliance Milwaukee: $25,000 to help the nonprofit expand and deliver its new programming to a more diverse membership base.

Meta House Inc.: $25,000 to support its peer consumer specialist program, which pairs drug addicted women in their first year of recovery with a formerly addicted peer for support.

Marquette University: $25,000 to support a study that will evaluate the effects of movement – specifically ballroom dance – on helping improve the quality of life for people with multiple sclerosis.

UWM Foundation: $25,000 to support Arts at Home/Islands of Milwaukee, a collaborative and creative partnership that will connect artists, researchers and care providers with older adults who are living alone or who are underconnected in their communities.

AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin: $20,000 to support research on the impact of long-term HIV medicines and neurological challenges in older adults with HIV.

Aurora Family Service: $20,000 in support of its solution focused therapy training program offered through its Family Therapy Training Institute.

A.F.A.R.: $19,500 in support of a business model and feasibility study for The Ability Center, a proposed fitness, athletic and recreational facility for people with physical and cognitive disabilities and able bodied individuals.

Milwaukee Artist Resource Network: $15,000 to provide an opportunity for artists to receive professional development, networking, and business development opportunities.

BESTD Clinic: $10,000 to support its activities at Pridefest to promote HIV testing and prevention in at-risk populations

Leukemia & Lymphoma Society – Wisconsin Chapter: $25,000 in support of two research studies. One, underway at the Medical College of Wisconsin, looks at ways to improve patient survival following stem cell transplantation. The other, underway at the University of Wisconsin-Madison by a former Shaw Scientist winner, investigates how mutations in a particular gene cause leukemia and if a certain combination therapy might kill leukemia cells.

League of Women Voters of Wisconsin Education Fund: $2,500 to support voter outreach education and registration activities in Milwaukee for new citizens.

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