Milwaukee, WI – Northwestern Mutual, through its Foundation, is invested in strengthening the city of Milwaukee by working directly with residents to foster safe neighborhoods, healthy and thriving youth, and strong families. Building on its neighborhood revitalization efforts, today the company announced $1.7 million in grants to nearly 30 nonprofit organizations in Milwaukee's Amani, Metcalfe Park and Muskego Way neighborhoods.
"The most impactful changes happen when we listen to the residents directly within our communities and provide them with the skills, guidance and resources they need to build a vibrant neighborhood," said Steve Radke, president, Northwestern Mutual Foundation. "Our partners continue to inspire us as they mobilize their collective power to change the experience and narrative for residents in Milwaukee."
Spotlight: 2022 Collaborative Grants Program Recipients
Northwestern Mutual recently launched a Collaborative Grants Program to encourage meaningful collaboration across local nonprofit organizations in Amani, Metcalfe Park and Muskego Way. The program is designed to eliminate programmatic duplication, while also positioning and preparing partners to access funding to further their revitalization efforts.
As part of the program, partners have jointly developed and agreed upon a set of common goals and direction and will work together to achieve those goals by using the expertise and resources of each collaborator. This year, six projects have been selected to receive funding for a total of nearly $240,000 through the Collaborative Grants Program.
- Critical Home Repair and Training Program is led by Dominican Center with collaborative partners Ezekiel Community Development Corporation and Habitat for Humanity. The project's goal is to restore integrity to the houses on the pilot block of the Amani Housing Strategy by identifying homes that qualify for critical home repairs and facilitating remodeling projects, while also equipping residents with transferable skills for the trade industry.
- Resident Leadership Training is led by Safe & Sound in partnership with Data You Can Use, Dominican Center and Wisconsin Voices. Amani residents identified reckless driving as a major concern in a recent survey, and the project's goal is to educate residents on how to advocate for traffic-calming initiatives through grassroots organizing and increased civic engagement.
Metcalfe Park Neighborhood:
- Activating Green Spaces is led by Artists Working in Education with Imagine MKE, Jewish Community Center, Metcalfe Park Community Bridges, Milwaukee Repertory Theater and Running Rebels. The project aims to increase safe public green spaces, decrease urban blight and address environmental concerns in Metcalfe Park by redesigning the neighborhood's parks and empty lots, implementing community-created art structures, preventing illegal dumping on empty lots, and more.
- Civil Rights Revisited is led by Wisconsin Black Historical Society in partnership with Metcalfe Park Community Bridges, Running Rebels and Wisconsin Voices. Together, by educating youth about Civil Rights history and providing advocacy training to residents with a particular focus on housing, social, and environmental justice issues, the organizations aim to increase civic engagement.
Muskego Way Neighborhood:
- Community Green Lounge is led by Sixteenth Street in partnership with Imagine MKE, Milwaukee Christian Center and Safe & Sound. The project will transform a vacant lot into a community green lounge and activate a series of café-style workshops to engage and educate residents about common community issues, such as healthy soil, mental health, green spaces, connecting youth to impactful programming, and more.
- Resident-Led Arts and Culture Activations in Green Spaces is led by Imagine MKE with collaborative partners Data You Can Use, Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee Christian Center, Milwaukee Film, Sixteenth Street and Wisconsin Conservatory of Music. Together, the organizations aim to contribute to the positive image of Muskego Way through the creation of public art, transforming vacant lots into community green spaces, and engaging residents to activate community-led arts and culture programs.
To be eligible for the Collaborative Grants Program, all applicants were required to identify target strategies from each neighborhood's revitalization plan that would be best reached by a collaborative effort. Additionally, grant recipients are required to demonstrate measurable impact and program outcomes within one year.
Since 2013, Northwestern Mutual, through its Foundation, has invested nearly $15 million in Milwaukee's Amani, Metcalfe Park and Muskego Way neighborhoods, supporting nonprofit organizations focused on fostering safe neighborhoods, healthy and thriving youth, and strong families.
Locally, the company also collaborates with schools and educational programs to increase access to quality education and supports the leading attractions that make Milwaukee a great place to live and visit. Nationally, the company is focused on accelerating the search for better treatments and cures for childhood cancer, while also supporting families undergoing treatment and survivors struggling with lasting effects.