By Press Release Submitted to Published Oct 08, 2014 at 10:55 AM

Through the Community Connections Small Grants Program, developed through a partnership of the Greater Milwaukee Foundation, Northwestern Mutual Foundation and Zilber Family Foundation, 13 resident-led groups are getting a boost to strengthen the neighborhoods in which they live.

"We are thrilled with the interest in the Community Connections Small Grants program and the opportunity to help make an impact in Milwaukee neighborhoods," said John Kordsmeier, president, Northwestern Mutual Foundation. "We wanted residents to have a choice and a voice to increase the quality of life in their neighborhoods. We are excited to see the results of the efforts taking place in each community."

This first round of grants provide up to $500 for 13 projects, ranging from water reclamation for a community garden and neighborhood beautification to a positive body image workshop.

"The diverse mix of community projects receiving small grants is outstanding and will enhance each neighborhood," said Kathryn Dunn, vice president, community investment, Greater Milwaukee Foundation. "We are honored to be part of this program and have a hand in bettering Milwaukee."

The grants, which are among the first of their kind in the area, are distinctive in that they are awarded directly to the residents. A group of resident reviewers recommends which grants should be funded. Groups living and working in 21 Milwaukee neighborhoods are eligible to apply.

"Since 2008 the Zilber Family Foundation has supported efforts to revitalize Milwaukee neighborhoods, and the resident-led groups receiving these grants are doing just that," said Susan Lloyd, executive director, Zilber Family Foundation. "We look forward to seeing the groups carry out the projects and improve their neighborhoods."

Community Connections project recipients and their neighborhoods include:

  • Tree of Life Earthworks (Clarke Square)
  • Stand Up and Stand Out Day Block Party (Sherman Park)
  • Overflowing Life for Harambee (Sherman Park)
  • Tower Hill Curb Appeal Beautification (Tower Hill)
  • Gravitate to Greatness Talent Show and School Supply Giveaway (Washington Park)
  • Metcalfe Park Selfies (Metcalfe Park)
  • Walnut Hill Community Garden Project (Walnut Hill)
  • South Harambee Alley Clean-Up (Harambee)
  • Eye on Beauty (Sherman Park)
  • Healthy Cooking Classes (Layton Boulevard)
  • Page Turners (Lindsay Heights)
  • Clinton & Bernice Rose Park Celebration (Harambee)
  • Project Alley Watch (Grasslyn Manor)

The application deadline for the second round of grant funding for the Community Connections Small Grants Program is November 3. At least one member of the resident group applying is required to attend an application informational session. Visit for more information.

The Greater Milwaukee Foundation is a family of nearly 1,200 individual charitable funds, each created by donors to serve the local charitable causes of their choice. Grants from these funds serve people throughout Milwaukee, Waukesha, Ozaukee and Washington counties. Started in 1915, the Foundation is one of the oldest and largest community foundations in the world.

The mission of the Northwestern Mutual Foundation is to improve the lives of children and families in need. The Foundation has given more than $270 million since its inception in 1992 and is designed to create lasting impact in the communities where the company's employees and financial representatives live and work. We accomplish this by combining financial support, volunteerism, thought leadership and convening community partners to deliver the best outcomes. Our efforts are focused nationally on curing childhood cancer, and locally on education, neighborhoods and making our hometown of Milwaukee a great destination.

Formed in 1961, the Joseph and Vera Zilber Family Foundation, Inc. is a private independent grant making institution dedicated to enhancing the well-being of individuals, families, and neighborhoods, with a primary emphasis on the City of Milwaukee. In recent years, the Zilber Family Foundation has pledged $30 million to Marquette University to fund scholarships and other programs; $10 million to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee to establish a School of Public Health; and $50 million over 10 years to improve the Milwaukee neighborhoods of Lindsay Heights, Clarke Square, and the Layton Boulevard West neighborhoods of Silver City, Burnham Park and Layton Park.