Backpack Coalition
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United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County

two girls with backpacks in front of a school bus

Backpack Coalition

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Backpack Coalition, which has been led by United Way since 2014, is committed to providing backpacks and school supplies to students with financial constraints, helping ensure they succeed in school. Each year the coalition distributes thousands of backpacks with grade appropriate school supplies to students in grades K-12. 

Thank you to our community for their past support of the Backpack Coalition. In 2022, we distributed over 8,000 brand new backpacks filled with school supplies to children across our community, from students in Milwaukee Community Schools to those living and learning in Waukesha County.

Here are just a few of the ways each donation altogether made a difference:

  • We ensured a child started the school year with the supplies they needed to succeed. With the right school supplies, a child's capacity to learn can be greatly enhanced.
  • We helped a child feel proud to have their own school supplies. The average cost of school supplies hovers around $75 and not every family can afford this cost.
  • We reduced the amount of money teachers spend from their own pockets to provide school supplies for their students.
  • We helped families redirect their limited budgets to other important needs: rent, food, bills, school clothes, and more.

As the 2022-23 school year approaches, we are proud to once again ensure thousands of local students start the year off right. We hope you'll join us again this year in supporting the Backpack Coalition.




2022 Final: 7,661 Filled Backpacks


Donate by clicking the button below!




Or to donate via check, mail to:

United Way Pledge Processing
PO Box 88988
Milwaukee, WI 53288-8988

Payable to: United Way Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County
NOTE: Please add to your check memo line, "Backpack Coalition Restricted Fund"

Thank You to our 2022 Partners

These organiziations supported Backpack Coalition with either a $500+ in-kind or financial donation.

Batteries Plus
Briohn Building Corp
Charter Manufacturing
Clifton Larson
Elmbrook Schools
Extension, Inc

Employers Mutual Casualty
HSA Bank
Johnson Controls
Jones Logistics
Landmark Credit Union

Markel American Insurance Co.
M3 Insurance
ProHealth Care
Quest CE
Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren
Two Men and a Truck

We Energies
Weyco Group
Winter Services
Zimmerman Architectural Studios, Inc.
Zurn Industries  

Impact History

Numbers indicate how many students were served through Backpack Coalition annually.

Coalition Members

Aurora Health Care, Child & Family Centers of Excellence, Food Pantry of Waukesha County, Germantown School District, Girl Scouts of Wisconsin Southeast, Milwaukee Area Labor Council AFL-CIO, Mukwonago Area School District, Mukwonago Food Pantry, Muskego Food Pantry, Oconomowoc Food Pantry, Pewaukee Food Pantry, School District of Waukesha, The Waukesha Salvation Army, United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County, Waukesha County Health and Human Services, Waukesha County UW-Extension


Contact Lori Hayes at 414.837.3639 or email.