At United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County, we believe in racial equity. We believe in building a community that offers access, resources, and the opportunity for long-term success. The Racial Equity Fund is focused on a commitment to deepen our impact as funders, partners, and conveners, especially as related to racial equity and social justice.
The goal of the Racial Equity Fund is to invest in Black- and Brown-led organizations to increase organizational capacity. A total of $1.5 million will be invested in eleven organizations over the next three years. Funding decisions were made in partnership with the Racial Equity Fund Advisory Committee.
Here are the agencies who will receive the second round of investments:
Alianza Latina Aplicando Soluciones (ALAS)
ALAS helps people of color with disabilities facing double marginalization, discrimination, and stigma that lead to poor socioeconomic outcomes. They seek to amplify the voices of Black, Brown, and linguistically diverse individuals with disabilities and their families. The three immediate goals ALAS would like to accomplish are to: 1) Collect and use data in a more meaningful way to create goals and measure impact more accurately; 2) Expand the services and opportunities for members to have access to; and 3) Increase advocacy efforts at the local and state level.
Multi-year funding allows ALAS to create a long-term strategic plan and shift some of the work from reactive to more proactive, using organizational talents focusing on larger community impacts, rather than just the day-to-day services.
The Dominican Center works with Amani residents and partners to build a better future. Their north star is Amani’s Neighborhood Revitalization Plan, which lays out a resident-inspired vision for the future of the neighborhood. As an organization led by people of color, Dominican Center can authentically partner with residents and Amani United to address community problems and improve neighborhood conditions. Dominican Center’s goals, as defined in the Amani Neighborhood Revitalization Plan, are to: 1) increase neighborhood safety; 2) improve housing and economic development; and 3) increase family well-being and lifelong learning. As an organization, Dominican Center also seeks to increase leadership development and capacity building, create documentation and communications, expand partnerships and programs, and increase resources and sustainability.
Multi-year funding will support the organizational infrastructure in terms of staffing and capacity to grow, which will improve sustainability and expand impact.
Dr. Howard Fuller Collegiate Academy
Dr. Howard Fuller Collegiate Academy (HFCA) is a tuition-free public charter high school open to all students in the City of Milwaukee. Their mission is to nurture scholars capable of transforming their world by sending them to and through college. The Dr. Howard Fuller Collegiate Academy exists to promote racial equity in academic achievement. Their leadership is Black, and the scholars they serve are Black. While engaging students, family engagement is made to be a priority as well. HFCA aspires to offer program partners adequate space for mental health and community programming to benefit both scholars and the community. Their short-term goal is to create a pipeline of apprenticeship opportunities for scholars, and their long-term goal is to build the pipeline and the number of scholars prepared to take advantage. They want to create apprenticeships for 16% to 20% of scholars, beginning in their junior year.
A full-time Director of Programs and Impact can triage interest and ensure proper opportunities are taken full advantage of to fulfill the mission. HFCA will leverage the school’s success in preparing scholars for careers, and increase enrollment, which will help ensure the academy’s long-term financial stability.
Fresh Start Learning, Inc.
Primarily serving victims of human trafficking, Fresh Start Learning’s mission is to strengthen families, restore the underprivileged people of society, and rebuild communities. They are committed to advocating and raising awareness of social justice issues by strategically creating social development programs to transform the lives of those they serve and their environments. Being survivor-led, they have the authenticity needed to speak about the root causes of the issues clients face, including social determinants of health and both individual- and community-based trauma. Fresh Start Learning's goals include: 1) To afford the staff time to enable the drop-in shelter to be open 24-hours-per day, Friday through Monday, an increase from current limited hours; 2) To pay for an annual audit; 3) To train the board of directors to enable more strategy and best practices; and 4) To achieve and sustain stability in services, staffing, and finances.
Multi-year funding gives Fresh Start the stability to step out of a short-term mentality into a new stage that welcomes strategic thinking, leveraging, and future planning.
Groundwork Milwaukee envisions the creation of a North Side Milwaukee that is populated by more urban gardens, natural public spaces, and green infrastructures. Green Teams, Ground Corps, and Milwaukee Grows Garden Network (an assembly of 85 community gardens) are the current programs that promote this work. Groundwork Milwaukee's long-term goal is to merge all three programs into one comprehensive program that equips historically neglected neighborhoods with green infrastructure projects (started by residents, constructed and maintained by neighborhood talent) to combat projected climate change-related weather events.
Multi-year funding will allow Groundwork Milwaukee to create a strategic roadmap for the organization and hire an Advancement Director to take on critical fundraising duties as the organization deepens its existing work and creates a pathway for Black and Brown young adults to family-supporting jobs in the green economy.
Milwaukee Muslim Women's Coalition
Milwaukee Muslim Women’s Coalition (MMWC) was established in 1994 as an outreach organization operated by a board of professional Muslim women. They fulfill their mission by building a community where everyone has accurate, objective knowledge of Islam and Muslims so that Muslim women and girls feel safe to be who they are. They are the only organization in Wisconsin that addresses the unique concerns around social justice and racial equity issues related to Muslim women, girls, and youth. MMWC’s programming has expanded to include wraparound services beyond outreach and education; they remain focused on racial, religious, economic, and social justice. MMWC regularly collaborates with other groups in the community who support immigrants, refugees, and other marginalized populations, including Voces de la Frontera, Diverse & Resilient, the Asha Project, Black Lives Matter, and others.
Their short-term goals are to expand their staff to include an Outreach Coordinator and Marketing Coordinator. Their long-term goals are to build a sustainable racial equity program to train women and girls to address the inequities that hinder them from reaching their full potential. Multi-year funding allows MMWC to continue their efforts and build upon their success; their outreach activities and supportive programming is a journey.
Running Rebels Community Organization
Running Rebels Community Organization 1) engages the community, youth, and their families; 2) prevents involvement in gangs, drugs, violence, and the juvenile justice system; 3) intervenes and guides youth by assisting them with making positive choices; and 4) coaches youth through their transition into adulthood. Running Rebels promotes racial equity internally through their hiring practices and focuses on connecting their primarily Black youth to their own community. Externally, they leverage longstanding relationships with MPS, Milwaukee County, the City of Milwaukee, and the State of Wisconsin to inform broader prevention efforts and influence local policy.
Short-term goals for the program include hiring a development coordinator who will help engage individual donors and assist with ongoing development needs, and an HR administrator who will be tasked with recruiting staff and creating a staff retention plan. Multi-year funding will make sure these positions are secure while the development team builds capacity to fund the positions.
The Racial Equity Advisory Committee also awarded honorariums to organizations that completed a full application for funding but were declined.
Click here to learn more about United Way's Racial Equity Portfolio and follow @UnitedWayGMWC on Facebook and Twitter for ongoing updates.