Milwaukee, Wis., Feb. 5, 2016 – Already notable as the organization’s centennial, 2015 was also the largest grantmaking year in the history of the Greater Milwaukee Foundation. The Foundation and its philanthropic donors provided more than $44.8 million in grants last year to community organizations and programs, according to preliminary financial estimates.

Grants from the Foundation support a broad cross-section of interests and community needs. Last year, philanthropic dollars made possible the centennial Gifts to the Community, which enabled 275,000 people to enjoy free access to local cultural, environmental, arts and civic organizations, attractions and services. Grant dollars also supported projects that are enhancing unique public gathering places in each of the four counties the Foundation serves – Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Washington and Waukesha.

The Foundation made a new, $1 million commitment in 2015 to Milwaukee Succeeds, the broad-based community partnership focused on ensuring educational success for all of Milwaukee’s children, from cradle to career. The Foundation launched and continues to serve as the backbone agency for Milwaukee Succeeds, which last year reported improvement in 10 of 11 key educational success indicators, inclusive of all school sectors.

Other significant investments included $1 million in funding for a series of projects designed to specifically advance racial equity and inclusion in the region. The Foundation consistently supports organizations and projects that contribute to the region’s quality of life and to making the community welcoming for all. This round of funding was an additional investment in organizations working to address the significant challenges facing people of color in the region.

“Through the generosity of many, the Greater Milwaukee Foundation is able to invest significantly in strengthening important community organizations and moving the needle on regional priorities,” said Ellen Gilligan, president and CEO of the Greater Milwaukee Foundation. “Reaching the Foundation’s highest ever grantmaking total is really a reflection of this community’s collective dedication to the prosperity of our region and everyone who calls it home.”

Of the $44.8 million in grants funded in 2015, about 22 percent was provided to local nonprofits through the Foundation’s competitive grant process and other Board-directed grantmaking, while 78 percent was issued through donor advised funds and other types of donor-suggested grantmaking by individuals, families, organizations and corporations who partner with the Foundation for their philanthropy.

2015 grant funding by category (nearest thousand)

 Grant Summary pie chart web 2015 total.png



About the Greater Milwaukee Foundation

For more than a century, the Greater Milwaukee Foundation has helped individuals, families and organizations realize their philanthropic goals and make a difference in the community, during their lifetimes and for future generations. The Foundation consists of more than 1,200 individual charitable funds, each created by donors to serve the charitable causes of their choice. The Foundation also deploys both human and financial resources to address the most critical needs of the community and ensure the vitality of the region. Established in 1915, the Foundation was one of the first community foundations in the world and is now among the largest.

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