Zilber Family Foundation: Awards $2.2 million in grants to Milwaukee nonprofits

MILWAUKEE – The Zilber Family Foundation announced today that its Board of Directors approved $2.2 million in grants to 13 nonprofit organizations throughout Milwaukee. These grants strategically align with the Foundation’s core focus areas, encompassing affordable housing, community economic development, basic human needs, and capacity building.  

“The Zilber Family Foundation is committed to improving the quality of life in Milwaukee neighborhoods and meeting the needs of the people who call them home,” said Gina Stilp, Executive Director of the Zilber Family Foundation. “Residents bring invaluable expertise and insight to neighborhood revitalization efforts, which is why we are partnering with several organizations committed to connecting with and listening to residents’ ideas, concerns, and vision for the community.”

Several of the grants in this round are dedicated to bolstering the capabilities of residents and community based organizations focused on enhancing the well-being and prosperity of the Black community. Such initiatives are designed not only to enhance the quality of life of Milwaukee’s African American population, but also to empower Black leaders and amplify awareness regarding the invaluable contributions made by African Americans across all sectors within the Milwaukee region.

The Redress MovementAfrican American Leadership Alliance of MilwaukeeBlack Leaders Organizing Communities (BLOC), and African American Roundtable are four of the organizations focused on resident and civic engagement and community organizing as a tool to catalyze social change.

Redress Movement

The Redress Movement is a nonprofit organization launched in 2022 to educate communities about the history of segregation and empower them to take direct action to remedy the multi-generational harms of racial segregation. Redress envisions a society no longer divided and separated, where damage done through segregation has been addressed and repaired and all community members have equal access to homeownership. The Redress Movement currently works in three pilot cities: Milwaukee, Charlotte, and Denver.

Funding from the Zilber Family Foundation supports education, convening, and mobilization of residents and community leaders to reverse the long-term harm created by policies to segregate communities. This work bolsters the Foundation’s focus on increasing homeownership and access to affordable rental housing in the Zilber Neighborhood Initiative (ZNI) neighborhoods of Lindsay Heights, Clarke Square and Layton Boulevard West. 

African American Leadership Alliance of Milwaukee (AALAM)

AALAM is a nonprofit, cross-sector network of African American leaders and allies dedicated to developing, supporting, and positioning Milwaukee’s pool of African American talent. 

Funding from the Zilber Family Foundation supports the implementation of AALAM’s narrative change strategy and toolkit. These efforts aim to change the negative perception of Milwaukee and African Americans in the city by positioning Milwaukee as a place of opportunity for African American leaders. AALAM will train more than 100 partners and allies representing the nonprofit, corporate, business, and public sectors on how to use the toolkit. 

Black Leaders Organizing Communities (BLOC)

Black Leaders Organizing Communities (BLOC) was created in 2017 to ensure a high quality of life and access to opportunities for members of the Black community in Milwaukee and throughout Wisconsin. BLOC does this by going door to door and talking directly to residents about issues that are important to them. BLOC believes that civic engagement should be intentional and conducted year-round, not just around elections. Ongoing civic education leads to greater knowledge and understanding of ways to advocate for and implement change in neighborhoods. 

Funding from the Zilber Family Foundation supports nonpartisan civic engagement, leadership development, and wellness resources for staff.

African American Roundtable (AART)

AART exists to empower and organize our community to transform policies so that African Americans can thrive and live at their greatest potential. AART uses grassroots organizing as an essential strategy for catalyzing systemic change. It organizes around issues that are important to people living in Zilber Neighborhood Initiative neighborhoods and other Milwaukee neighborhoods, like housing and safety. Through its leadership development and community initiatives, AART is cultivating Milwaukee’s next generation of Black leaders. 

Funding from the Zilber Family Foundation supports AART’s youth member base and builds the skills, knowledge, and power of Black leaders in Milwaukee.

Additional August 2023 grant recipients include:

  • Cathedral Center: To support the provision of safe shelter and case management services to help women and families gain independence, acquire permanent housing, and prevent future homelessness.
  • Data You Can Use: To support the delivery of data technical assistance and training to nonprofits, residents, and funders working in ZNI and other neighborhoods.
  • Fondy Food Center: To support local entrepreneurs and small family farmers, while improving healthy, local food access at the Fondy Farmers Market Lindsay Heights.
  • Journey House: To support Journey House’s youth and family programs in Clarke Square and its THRIVE training and internship program.
  • Meta House: To support outpatient treatment for women struggling with drug and alcohol addiction.
  • Milwaukee Center for Independence: To support the Level Up workforce training program for participants from Lindsay Heights.
  • Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity: To build 10 new homes in Lindsay Heights and provide critical home repairs to homeowners in Zilber Neighborhood Initiative communities.
  • Safe & Sound: To support community organizing in the Clarke Square and Layton Boulevard West neighborhoods to improve neighborhood and housing conditions, quality of life, and economic growth.
  • UEDA (Bank On): To support the Bank On Greater Milwaukee Coalition in its work to minimize barriers to banking access and improve financial equity for underserved households in ZNI and other Milwaukee neighborhoods.

A complete list of Zilber Family Foundation 2023 grant recipients is available on the Foundation website.

About the Zilber Family Foundation:

Formed in 1961 by Joseph J. Zilber, a philanthropist and businessman, the Zilber Family Foundation is a private independent grantmaking institution dedicated to enhancing the well-being of individuals, families, and neighborhoods by supporting nonprofits to address basic needs and personal safety, increase access to social and economic opportunity, and improve the quality of life in neighborhoods. For more information, please visit: www.zilberfamilyfoundation.org