The Greater Milwaukee Foundation has announced that it will allocate $30 million over the next five years to impact investments focused on producing positive social and economic impact.
In addition to the $620,000 in grants already provided to help sustain local small businesses during the pandemic, the foundation pledged $15 million of its own resources and will work to raise an additional $15 million in support of racial equity and inclusion initiatives in the region. To maximize the impact of the funding, the foundation will deploy a variety of tools to concentrate resources in communities that have suffered from years of declining and/or nonexistent investment.
Building on a $1 million impact investment pilot that contributed to the growth of nearly fifty small businesses, created more than eighty-five jobs, resulted in the redevelopment of several dilapidated properties, and attracted $4.9 million in additional public-sector investment, the foundation will focus new investments in the areas of equitable economic opportunity, affordable housing, and early childhood education and will collaborate with local stakeholders on solutions designed to assist families, neighborhoods, and businesses and drive long-term change.
"Thoughtful projects that would bring excellent value to the community but are encountering barriers to traditional financing are often strong candidates for impact investing," said Kathryn Dunn, the foundation's senior vice president of community impact. "We've shown how this instrument can cultivate entrepreneurship — particularly in communities of color — increase employment opportunities, and support creation of vibrant, mixed-income communities. Such investment is needed now more than ever."