Third Cohort of Racial Equity Fund Investments Announced
Skip to Content
United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County

Third Cohort of Racial Equity Fund Investments Announced

Main Content

February 14, 2023

It affects everyone when a social system is out of balance, but people of color feel the impact most severely. Racial equity works to eliminate racial disparities and improve outcomes for everyone.

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 first round of investments in 2023:

Black Space

Black Space is a community organization that provides free group therapeutic experiences for Black and Brown communities. To destigmatize mental wellness, Black Space has come together to create beautiful and safe spaces, designated for healing communities that have been burdened by economic suppression, racial disparities, limited access to quality health care, and a lack of mental health providers versed in these limitations. They look to aggressively recruit individuals that are licensed therapists. 

Looking ahead, they will ingratiate therapists as co-facilitators alongside their lead psychiatrist. This will allow co-facilitators to progress into the lead position for each group (men, women, LGBTQIA+). Multi-year funding will allow Black Space to focus on programmatic efforts, marketing, and training.

College Possible Milwaukee

College Possible’s mission focuses on the often-unseen college degree divide, in which race and income predict college access and success, instead of talent or interest. Their program model unites recent college graduates serving as AmeriCorps coaches, with students from low-income backgrounds, many of whom are students of color and will be first-generation college students. College Possible Milwaukee’s short-term goals exemplify the support provided to students and the direct results of that support. 

Multi-year funding enables College Possible Milwaukee to design and implement programs that support students for more than one year at a time. College Possible advocates for educational and racial equity for the long haul.

HIR Wellness Institute, Inc.

HIR’s mission is to increase mental health accessibility and inclusivity for health justice through demonetizing the relationships between the mental health systems, and those seeking mental health services within Indigenous and historically under-invested and therefore chronically underserved communities. Their short-term goal is to offer immediate relief, resources, skill-based coping strategies, advocacy services, mental health support and triage when needed to other agencies. 

Multi-year funding will help HIR Wellness Institute to sustain a high level of community-based mental health outreach and provide therapeutic supplies, gear, and hire a part-time mental health social worker.

Neu-Life Community Development

Neu-Life Community Development was created to empower young people of color with skills and strategies to make their best life choices. It is their philosophy that basic foundations of personal accountability, responsibility, and respect for life can be rebuilt. Neu-Life's short-term goals are to 1) Increase opportunities for Neu-Life youth to have exposure to new workforce development. 2) Continue to increase the number of staff who are program alumni. 3) Increase opportunities and experiences for all Neu-Life youth to have access to that they may not have access to. 

Multi-year funding will allow Neu-Life to continue to offer high quality, youth-driven programs focused on providing a foundation of stability and allowing youth to become successful young adults, while successfully planning for long-term engagement withing the organization.

PRISM Economic Development Corporation

PRISM EDC is a community-based, economic development organization that was founded by the Parklawn Assembly of God Church (now known as Embassy Center MKE) for the residents of Milwaukee's Sherman Park neighborhood. PRISM has become a hub for food-related community service and entrepreneurial activity focused on Community Development through Health and Wellness, through its main programs: UpStart Kitchen, where food entrepreneurs launch and build their businesses, and Brigade MKE, an accelerated skills-based career track to get youth trained and into the workforce earning a livable wage. They look to develop contractual relationships that will lead to enhanced business activity and economic growth for the entrepreneurs affiliated with UpStart Kitchen. 

Multi-year funding will allow PRISM to recruit their first full cohort of mentees from the Shular Institute and mentors at UpStart Kitchen.

VIA Community Development Corporation

VIA Community Development Corporation (VIA CDC) acts like a puzzle-master, putting together the puzzle pieces for a great quality of life – pieces like a healthy-built environment, equitable economic opportunity, and grassroots community leaders. Together they grow stronger & healthier Milwaukee neighborhoods by nourishing wellbeing and cultivating community in our neighborhoods. VIA’s primary neighborhood faces a staggering economic disparity, and VIA looks to bring creativity, innovation, and problem-solving to find new ways to sprout economic growth. Their short-term goals include 1) Help BIPOC small business owners grow and sustain their businesses 2) Support resident led commercial corridor revitalization 3) Grow affordable homeownership for long-term wealth building opportunities by increasing the stock of affordable homes for those with low-to-moderate incomes and more. 

Multi-year funding will help VIA achieve their goals by allowing them to focus on their service and growth impact. This investment will allow VIA to accomplish initiatives and organizational/service area growth alongside growing their capacity.

The Racial Equity Advisory Committee also awarded honorariums to organizations that completed a full application for funding but were declined. 


Interested in supporting the Racial Equity Fund?

Click here to donate.


For more updates on the Racial Equity Fund and other United Way initiatives, follow us on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and LinkedIN.

Have something to say? LEAVE A COMMENT:

The following required items were not provided or are in the wrong format. Please provide the required responses and submit again:

Your email address will not be published. All fields Required.

  Please enter your name
  Please enter a valid email
  Please enter a comment

United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukehsa County blog and social media presence is designed as a source for information, sharing and collaboration about United Way and health and human service related topics. As part of our commitment to our readers, we expect all posters to abide by the following rules:
 • Posts and comments should be on topic, conversational, and serve to educate or entertain  
 • Posts and comments may not be unlawful, fraudulent, threatening, libelous, defamatory, discriminatory, harassing, obscene or otherwise rude or in poor taste  
 • Posts and comments may not be used for any commercial purpose or otherwise to promote any outside organization or its activities
United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County reserves the right, at our discretion, to remove any post or to revoke a user’s privilege to post to our page. Comments found to be in conflict with the guidelines above will be removed promptly.
Comments are not necessarily those of United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County and its employees and we do not guarantee the accuracy of these posts.