Milwaukee County Board: Approves $700,000 for arts organizations impacted by COVID-19

MILWAUKEE – At its Thursday, November 5 meeting, the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors authorized $700,000 for a program providing financial assistance to arts and cultural organizations adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The measure was part of a resolution from the Crowley administration adjusting the expenditures of Milwaukee County’s CARES Act funds from the federal government, which passed with 17 votes in favor and one abstention.

“Our local arts and cultural organizations are vital to our community and I am proud that Milwaukee County will be giving them assistance in their time of need,” said Supervisor Jason Haas. “These organizations provide much needed sales tax revenue to the county, world-class entertainment and education to audiences from across the region and employment to hundreds of people. Their contributions to Milwaukee County are undeniable.”

Details on the program’s administration have not yet been finalized. Initial plans include modeling the program after a similar one administered by the State of Wisconsin and prioritizing funding towards advancing racial equity. The Department of Administration and Parks Department will collaborate to develop a written method to be approved by County Executive Crowley.

Wisconsin’s arts and cultural organizations are among the hardest hit by the spike in unemployment caused by the COVID-19 pandemic according to an August report from the Wisconsin Policy Forum.

The resolution also includes funding for economic support and public health programs. A small business grant first established in September received an additional $5 million. Milwaukee County’s eviction prevention program also received an additional $5 million. $1.8 million was allocated to provide funding for refrigerators, delivery vans, coolers and IT enhancements for food network organizations including Hunger Task Force and Feeding America.