$25,000 awarded to 13 projects tackling mental health, human trafficking, homelessness and more

Milwaukee, Wis., Dec. 30, 2019 – The Greater Milwaukee Foundation has announced the winners of its 2019 Ideas to Action funding, which helps organizations with creative ideas take action to strengthen community and deepen civic involvement. Each idea was developed during the Foundation’s annual On the Table MKE– where more than 5,000 residents came together on Oct. 10 to engage in hundreds of collaborative conversations on various topics. 

Awards totaling $25,000 were given to 13 projects focused on a wide range of issues including youth development, health and wellness, homelessness, human trafficking, gender equality and more. Each recipient earned between $500 and $2,500 to support diverse and tangible activities that will benefit neighborhoods and the public good across the region. 


Alverno College 

$825 to support 20 girls and teens of color from Milwaukee Public Schools and Racine Public Schools to attend the State of Wisconsin Girls Summit on Mar. 28, 2020. These girls would work with mental health professionals and policy advocates to develop a plan to galvanize support for policies that encourage mental health for girls of color in Wisconsin. 

Calvary Presbyterian Church 

$475 to support purchasing bus tickets and reduced admissions to community attractions and events for recent chronically homeless residents at St. Anthony’s Place apartments. The program’s hope is that residents can begin to fully engage with what the city has to offer after the harsh life they’ve experienced within it. 

Code for Milwaukee 

$2,500 to support the development of a project management framework that will create projects that advance racial equity and inclusion and increase the digital, data and internet literacies of all involved in the project. 

Convergence Resource Center 

$1,000 to support guidelines for survivors of human trafficking when seeking medical and mental health assistance. A group of human trafficking survivors will help create the initial guidelines.  

Greater Bethlehem Temple World Ministries

$1,700 to support an event focused on educating the community on men’s health, in particular, prostate cancer and screenings, addressing the various areas/conditions related to prostate cancer and providing onsite testing and connections to health resources. 

Healing First Peer Advisory Committee 

$2,000 to support a recruitment campaign to increase diversity and gain members from the wider community, increasing the committee’s effectiveness at tackling homelessness in Milwaukee. The committee will request match dollars from partners to continue the momentum beyond the spring.

Health Connections (TGNCNB) 

$2,500 to support a four-month pilot program for the coordination and facilitation of name and/or gender change services to TGNCNB (transgender, gender non-conforming, non-binary) people using the Health Connections Inc.’s “Name/Gender Change Guide” for Milwaukee County.  

Milwaukee Environmental Consortium 

$2,500 to support three activities including an event celebrating environmental heroes of color. It will feature a nationally recognized keynote speaker on the topic of environmental equity, a camping and outdoor expo to demonstrate outdoor recreation and camping skills, and an anti-bias workshop addressing the history of exclusion in the environmental movement.

Milwaukee Youth Arts Center 

$2,000 to support a new youth-led initiative, Milwaukee Youth Arts Center’s Student Advisory Board, which will host informal events that spark conversation and aim to build and strengthen friendships between diverse groups of individuals and programs.  

Public Allies Milwaukee

$2,500 to support Healing Justice MKE, a cohort of 15 people engaged in racial equity work. The cohort members will learn how to identify harm they have experienced and implement healing practices in their daily life and social justice work. Informed by practices of self-care, trauma-informed care and healing justice, the workshops will be designed to promote healing, asset-based thinking, collaboration and continuous learning. 


$2,000 to support an event focused on bringing awareness to the barriers young adults face when they age out of foster care, such as acquiring housing and employment. The event will include a simulation and panel of youth who have aged out of foster care and will invite and engage the community, individuals, groups, organizations and corporate partners. 

TEMPO Milwaukee  

$2,500 to support bringing the American Association of University Women Work Smart and Start Smart workshops to Milwaukee women in the spring of 2020. The trainings will give women the skills and confidence to advocate for themselves in the workplace. 

Walnut Way 

$2,500 to support 10 Lindsay Heights residents who are interested in developing their own food and culinary businesses. The project will give tours of commercial kitchens and will help residents with trainings and assistance to acquire their licenses. 

“Our community clearly wants their On the Table MKE experience to mean something, where their dialogue represents just an early chapter in the full story of positive change in greater Milwaukee,” said Ellen Gilligan, Foundation president and CEO. “Congratulations to this year’s Ideas to Action recipients and everyone who is building on their newly formed relationships and commitments.”

Over the last three years, On the Table MKE has produced countless stories of learning, listening and most importantly, cross-collaborative problem-solving, igniting further momentum and impact.

The Foundation began its Ideas to Action funding program in 2018 to help encourage On the Table MKE participants to turn ideas generated at their tables into action. Last year, projects such as breaking down stereotypes among high school students and building unity, empathy and opportunity through performing arts emerged from table discussions.

About the Greater Milwaukee Foundation

The Greater Milwaukee Foundation is Wisconsin’s largest community foundation and was among the first established in the world. For more than a century, the Foundation has inspired philanthropy by connecting generous people to community needs that align with their interests. The Foundation was founded on the premise that generosity can unlock an individual’s potential and strengthen the community as a whole for everyone who lives here. We work in partnership with those who are committed to ensuring greater Milwaukee is a vibrant, economically thriving region that comprises welcoming and inclusive communities providing opportunity, prosperity and a high quality of life for all.

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