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 is committed to providing backpacks and school supplies to students with financial constraints so they have the tools they need to succeed in school. Each year the coalition distributes thousands of backpacks with grade appropriate school supplies to students in grades K-9.  

In 2023, more than 7,100 new backpacks filled with school supplies were distributed to local students. 

Reasons to support:

  • The average cost of school supplies hovers around $75 and not every family can afford this cost. 
  • Reduces the amount of money teachers spend from their own pockets to provide school supplies for their students. 
  • Helps families redirect their limited budgets to other important needs: rent, food, bills, school clothes, and more. 



Our goal is to provide over 8,000 filled backpacks to students for the start of the 2024-25 school year.



When you donate to Backpack Coalition, we can purchase backpacks and school supplies at bulk rates.


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"

Additional Ways to Support

Host a Supply Drive

Encourage your customers, clients, and/or employees to collect supplies at your office or business. We make it easy for you with a downloadable toolkit and collection bins.

High Priority Items: Crayons, 24 ct.; Folders, paper or plastic; Markers, 10-12 count, thin or broad tip; Composition notebooks, college or wide ruled; Spiral notebooks, college or wide ruled

Complete this form so we can support you along the way!

Sponsor a School

Sponsor a school (or grade level) through Backpack Coalition. Every student in the school will receive a backpack with grade-specific items sponsored and packed by you and your company!

Learn more.

Purchase Supplies

Double Your Donation Promotion: For every backpack you donate, Fenrici Brands will ship an additional backpack on your behalf. United Way will also receive 5% back from your purchase. 

View our Amazon Wish List and purchase items to be shipped directly to United Way.

Special Events

Fill the Bus

Donate school supplies at participating Walmart Supercenters to help us Fill the Bus to support students this upcoming school year! 

Saturday, August 3
9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.

New Berlin Walmart Supercenter
15205 W. Greenfield Ave.

Waukesha Walmart Supercenter
2000 S. West Ave.

Learn more

Sewa 5K for SELF supporting Zablocki Elementary School

Join the 5K for SELF and take your first step towards a healthier you, while supporting Zablocki Elementary Students. 

Saturday, August 3
8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Havenwoods State Forest
6141 N. Hopkins St. Milwaukee, WI 53209

Learn More


Hartlands Kids Days

Hartland Kids Day is featuring Backpack Coalition as the charity of choice. Gather your family for a day of fun and drop off school supplies to support students next school year. 

Wednesday, July 31
9:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.

Learn more


Need a Backpack?

Backpack Coalition provides school supplies for students in:

  • Milwaukee Public School students attending one of our Milwaukee Community Partnership Schools, please contact your guidance counselor.
  • Waukesha County students attending Hadfield, Hawthorne, and Heyer Elementary schools and Waukesha South freshman, please contact your guidance counselor. Families who utilize the following agencies may sign up for supplies by June 14, 2024: Waukesha County Health & Human Services, Food Panty of Waukesha County, Mukwonago Food Pantry, Muskego Food Pantry, Oconomowoc Food Pantry, Pewaukee Food Pantry, and Waukesha Salvation Army. 
  • Germantown School District, please contact Stephanie Kaebish, School Social Worker at 262.502.7121 or at
  • Ozaukee County, please contact Melissa Parchim at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ozaukee County at to sign up by June 14, 2024.

For all other requests, please contact the free IMPACT 211 service (1.866.211.3380).

Thank You to our 2024 Supporters

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Backpack Coalition Committee

Our committee collaborates to ensure backpacks and supplies are beneficial to the students and distributed equitably.

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

Thank You to Our 2024 Supply Vendors

Double Your Donation Promotion: For every backpack you donate, Fenrici Brands will ship an additional backpack on your behalf. United Way will also receive 5% back from your purchase.

Please wait while we gather your results.

Questions? Contact Sydney Radandt at 414-837-3558 or email.