United Way Announces Community Initiatives Supported by MacKenzie Scott Donation

United Way Announces Community Initiatives Supported by MacKenzie Scott Donation

United Way logo with text together we live united on a blue background

United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County today announced key community initiatives that will be supported by a generous $25 million donation from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott.

“We are so proud to say that after all of her research, Ms. Scott chose our United Way for her donation,” said Amy Lindner, president & CEO of United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County. “This is a powerful affirmation of the work that is being done by community volunteers, our partner nonprofits, businesses, and individuals throughout our community. It’s because of our work together, MacKenzie Scott chose us to receive this incredible gift.”

Linda Benfield, board chair for United Way added, “We are so incredibly grateful to Ms. Scott for her generous donation. This gift along with the continued donations of so many in our local community, will further key initiatives that will affect the lives of so many throughout all of our neighborhoods.”

Highlights of the outlined initiatives that will be supported by the donation include:

  • Creation of a racial equity portfolio.
    • The mission is to foster long-term stability of Black and Brown-led organizations by providing multi-year, general operating grants, to center the resident voice, and sponsor systems-change work led by our communities.
    • United Way will continue the work with Boys and Men of Color and Milwaukee Fellows. They will create an advisory committee for Reducing Barriers to Employment & Advancement, and we will commit new dollars to Black and Brown led organizations and their leaders, informed by a community advisory committee.
  • Continued investments in Safe & Stable Homes initiative.
    • The goal of the initiative is to End to Family Homelessness in Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Washington, and Waukesha counties. United Way previously stated a goal to achieve this by 2025, but now we have adjusted this goal to accomplish this by 2023.
    • Funding will be available to vetted partners to address emergency rental assistance, utilities payments, arrears, and other immediate needs.
    • Funding will be available for the Eviction Defense Project, focusing on serving all families with children under 18 years old.
    • Funding will also be available for other high-risk populations, including those returning to the community after incarceration.
  • Expanding the nationally recognized Community Schools.
    • In partnership with Milwaukee Public Schools, United Way is currently working with twelve Community Schools. They will add three new schools to increase the reach of a proven educational strategy.They will also increase support for Coalition of Anti-Racist and Restorative Educators, to continue to provide professional learning communities on anti-racist practices for Community School educators.
    • They are launching a series of expanded integrated student support this year, including: early childhood linkages, housing stability, coordinated health, and college and career readiness.
    • United Way will also strengthen their partnership with Waukesha County school districts, deepening investments in current partnership schools as they help them transition to a more formal community schools’ model.
  • Address the COVID-19 academic slide by offering robust, accessible academic opportunities over the summer.
    • United Way is working with several education and youth development partners to determine how to best reach students who have fallen behind, for a variety of reasons, and how to help them regain traction.

Watch the live announcement from Tuesday, February 9, at 10 AM here. 

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