Advocate Aurora Health Awards $2.1 Million for Community Projects in Milwaukee

Advocate Aurora Health is awarding a total of $2,125,000 in grants to Milwaukee community organizations through its Better Together Fund. The funds will be distributed to 11 community projects across 10 organizations to address the social and economic needs of the Milwaukee community and help eliminate inequities as we continue to face COVID-19.

“We will put the Better Together Fund to work by providing awards to community partners with an emphasis on eliminating inequities and assisting diverse populations in hard-hit neighborhoods to recover from the economic and health impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Cristy Garcia-Thomas, Advocate Aurora Health chief external affairs officer. “Our goal is to address the social and economic needs of the vulnerable communities we’re so proud to serve.”

 The Better Together Fund is a one-time funding commitment to develop critical services in Milwaukee. Community groups from across Milwaukee were invited to submit proposals.

 The initial grant recipients seek to support the minority workforce as they continue to face challenges during the COVID-19 crisis. The first two recipients are:

  • Hispanic Collaborative — MercadoMKE: $250,000 to support and increase the number of Hispanic-owned businesses with an online presence and sales platform.
  • African American Chamber of Commerce – RISE MKE Entrepreneurial Training Program: $250,000 to support African- American-owned businesses with training and technical support to develop e-commerce business and other strategies.

 “The effects of COVID-19 have spotlighted the vulnerabilities of our minority communities and exacerbated the differences between healthy and well-positioned communities and those without assets to leverage,” said Nancy Hernandez, president of the Hispanic Collaborative. “We’re grateful for this grant and know it will go a long way to assist Hispanic-owned businesses successfully pivot during this time frame, make them stronger and diversify their sales base through MercadoMKE.”

 “Prior to the pandemic, African-American business owners found themselves at a disadvantage. COVID-19 created even more hurdles, but this grant will help,” said Ossie Kendrix, president & CEO of the African American Chamber of Commerce. “RISE MKE is designed to positively impact African-American entrepreneurs who are starting or growing their businesses and give them the tools they need to be successful during this pandemic and beyond.”

 In the coming weeks, Advocate Aurora will announce the recipients of additional grants aimed at supporting workforce development, access to behavioral health services, food security, affordable housing and community safety.

The Better Together Fund is managed by the Greater Milwaukee Foundation.

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