Backpack Coalition


Backpack Coalition



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. 

The success of the Backpack Coalition is due to many caring volunteers, group supply drives, and our annual Fill the Bus event. In 2020, our strategy will look different to follow CDC guidelines but backpacks and school supplies are still needed. We know many local students rely on these backpacks so this year we are asking for a financial donation.

As we continue to adapt to the needs of students when navigating education during a pandemic, we are thankful for our partners CH Coakley. In order to support the needs of this initiative, they have volunteered their time and resources to distribute all backpacks to students across our Milwaukee and Waukesha county communities.


Goal: $75,000

We've exceeded our initial goal of $65,000! You have ensured students' are equipped with supplies through the end of fall semester.

Our updated goal will fund supplies & backpack all the way through the end of the school year!

Your donations have removed one barrier in getting an education, no student should have to worry about. We have met the basic needs for the fall semester. In order to continue support students for the entire school year, we are going to increase our fundraising goal in order to meet the evolving needs for students who will continue to go to school through the spring semester. 


This year the world of education took on a whole new look. Schools everywhere closed their doors, and kitchens in every neighborhood quickly became classrooms. Teachers and students discovered new ways to learn. Through all of the changes, one thing remained the same: the need for student school supplies was greater than ever.

As we hit milestones toward our goal of $75,000, we will color in the image above to show our progress. Donate by clicking the button below!



Or to donate via check, mail to:

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

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

Need a Backpack?

Backpacks will be distributed to our Milwaukee Community Partnership Schools.

Waukesha County
Applications available now through July 30 at: the Coalition Member Food Pantries of Muskego, Mukwonago, Oconomowoc, Pewaukee, and Waukesha, including Waukesha Salvation Army and through your social worker at the Waukesha School District or Waukesha Health and Human Services.

Show Your Support

Coloring Pages for the Family

Show your family's support of education by downloading these coloring pages and having your kids color them! Post your finished artwork with the hashtag #HelpUsFillTheBus on social media and we'll feature you on our page. You can also send it to us via email to be featured.



Click on the icon to download the full coloring page!


Send a Virtual Note

Write a note to a teacher to let them know how much you appreciate them and a note to a student to give them encouragement to keep learning. Click the coordesponding button to fill out the notes.


Teachers   Students


Thank You to our 2020 Partners


Donated dollar and/or in-kind donations of $1,000 and above

Thank you to our 2019 partners, we were able to give 6,500 students a backpack.

Advicent, Advocate Aurora Health, BMO Harris Bank, Briohn Building Corp, Charter Manufacturing, Church of the Resurrection, CSE Powered by Halo, Dana Investments, Eaton - Hickory Street, Eaton Cooper Power Systems, Enterprise holdings, Evangelical and Reform Church, Extension, Inc., First Student, Girl Scout Troop Franklin corners WISE, Good Harvest Pewaukee, Hamacher Resource Group, HNI Risk Solutions, Home Care Medical, Inc., HSA Bank, Irgens, Jason Industries, Johnson Controls, Kalmbach Media Co, Landmark Credit Union, M3 Insurance, Midwest Engineered Systems, Orbis Corp, Penrod, ProHealth Care,Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren, Rexnord Corp, Riverglen Christian Church, Rockwell Automation, Sikich LLP, SkyGen USA, Skyzone, Southridge Mall, Sunset Bank & Savings, Vernon Evangelical Lutheran Church, Waukesha State Bank, We Energies, Willis Towers Watson, Wisconsin Diagnostic, Walmart

Coalition Members

Aurora Health Care, Child & Family Centers of Excellence, Food Pantry of Waukesha County, Girl Scouts of Wisconsin Southeast, Milwaukee Area Labor Council AFL-CIO, 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.

© 2020 United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County is a 501(C)(3) Nonprofit registered in the US under EIN: 39-0806190.