Grants exceed $80 million in 2018

More than $80 million in grants were awarded in 2018 by the Greater Milwaukee Foundation and generous donors who conduct their philanthropy through Wisconsin’s largest community foundation.

Over the last five years, the community has benefited from over $315 million in grants from the Foundation, its donors and partners, supporting a vast range of nonprofit organizations and programs in the region and beyond.

“Community foundation grantmaking is like holding up a mirror to the community’s hopes and needs,” said Ellen Gilligan, Foundation president and CEO. “In any given year, you can see the activities and aspirations of the community reflected in those programs and investments, and each year builds on the legacy of all those who have given generously throughout the last century to bring those ambitions to life.”

As they have for the last several years, community development efforts received the most grant funding. This is due in large part to the $100 million gift the Foundation has stewarded since 2014 on behalf of former Sen. Herb Kohl in support of the downtown arena project, now the Fiserv Forum. In 2018, about $30.5 million in charitable funds were directed toward that project. Arts and culture, followed by education, round out the top three areas of support.

Foundation grant support in 2018 by category, according to preliminary financial data:

Community development: $38 million

Arts & culture: $8.93 million

Education: $8.56 million

Human services: $6.91 million

Environment: $6.03 million

Child/Youth/Family: $4.24 million

Health: $3.91 million

Other: $2.13 million

Employment & training: $1.56 million

Grants issued by the Foundation include strategic and responsive investments authorized by the Board of Directors using discretionary resources, as well as grants and coinvestments made through the funds of those who partner with the Foundation for their philanthropy. The totals include grants awarded by the Foundation’s geographic partners: the Greater Cedarburg Foundation, the Oconomowoc Area Foundation and the West Bend Community Foundation and their affiliate funds.

RECENT GRANTS: Descriptions of responsive and strategic grants awarded by the Foundation in 2018 to local organizations are listed by grant cycle.

Philanthropy in metro Milwaukee continues to be strong. Last year, donors contributed more than $47 million in new gifts to and through the Foundation. At year end, 2018, the Foundation’s assets totaled $834 million, based on preliminary figures.

“We are continually building on our century of history and experience serving this community,” Gilligan said. “We’ve been commissioning research and using data to inform our decisions. We are intentional around convening community members to listen, understand and find solutions together. We are committed to leading change around the values we share with our donors and everyone who calls this region home.”