The Greater Milwaukee Foundation has provided small business loans to 17 Milwaukee-based businesses, primarily located in three neighborhoods on the north side.
The foundation's ThriveOn program for small businesses, which was launched in May, aims at distributing $1 million. Priority will go to Milwaukee's Harambee, Halyard Park, and Brewers Hill communities, as well as Black- and Brown-owned ventures.
Kenneth Robertson is the executive vice president and chief operating officer of GMF related that the foundation knows that Black- and Brown-owned companies face systemic barriers in accessing funding. So when the foundation saw the impact the pandemic was having upon small businesses in Milwaukee neighborhoods we knew we had no choice but to change our thinking and move quickly.
GMF's $30m commitment to small businesses over five years is part of its impact investing program. The foundation has made $12 million in the program to date. This includes $10 million for the ThriveOn Kings restoration and renovation project, and a $1million investment in Gateway Capital to support prerevenue startups in Milwaukee.
According to Ellen Gilligan, president and CEO of the foundation, that ThriveOn Small Business Loans were possible because of our generous donors who contributed over $500,000.
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Dr. Rajiv Shah, the Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) leads the U.S. government’s efforts to end extreme poverty. He chose to participate in the impact investing conference at the Vatican and met with Pope Francis directly to address world poverty, the future of impact investing, and promotion of resilient, vibrant democratic societies worldwide.