PHOTO: f11photo/shutterstock

PHOTO: f11photo/shutterstock

From large community foundations to niche private family funders, Milwaukee is always one of the top cities in Wisconsin for philanthropic donations. With a population of nearly 600,000 people, Milwaukee has many different charitable needs, but one of the biggest local concerns here is affordable housing. One foundation, the Zilber Family Foundation (ZFF), has made this issue its top priority and has been steadily increasing its support for affordable and supportive housing in select Milwaukee neighborhoods.

Here’s a look at Zilber’s most recent grant commitments in the Milwaukee community and why this is an important name to know in the nonprofit world.

Prioritizing Affordable Housing

The Zilber Family Foundation recently committed over $3.5 million to Milwaukee nonprofits through new 18 grants. Much of this support went towards affordable housing and community economic development as part of the Zilber Neighborhood Initiative.

For example, the funder awarded a $200,000 grant to Community Advocates to provide emergency housing support for people experiencing homelessness and to increase access to quality affordable housing. ZFF also gave Revitalize Milwaukee a $600,000 grant to provide free home repairs for disadvantaged homeowners as part of a home improvement matching grant program. Other housing-related interests of ZFF include access to low-cost financing, community engagement, commercial development and financial literacy.

Specific Milwaukee Neighborhoods

Although Milwaukee has numerous neighborhoods that could benefit from revitalization and development, ZFF is primarily interested in just three of them. These neighborhoods are Lindsay Heights, Layton Boulevard West and Clarke Square. These are the places where ZFF has focused its local efforts for over 11 years. The foundation has invested millions of dollars in support of the Zilber Neighborhood Initiative since 2008.

Related: Getting to Know the Zilber Charitable Foundation and its Milwaukee Giving

Other Top Zilber Interests

However, affordable housing is not the only topic that the ZFF board and staff are interested in. To a lesser extent, ZFF also provided support for basic human needs and youth development in its most recent giving cycle. For the most part, ZFF only looks outside of the Milwaukee area to a few nonprofits in Hawaii, another place of interest for the Zilber family and its company. ZFF also matches the contributions of Zilber Ltd. employees as part of its grantmaking program.

Getting Involved with Zilber

Fortunately for local grantseekers, ZFF is an accessible local foundation that is open to hearing new ideas, especially if they relate to neighborhood improvements. At this time, ZFF only accepts letters of inquiry for its Zilber Neighborhood Initiative, but not for any other topics of interest. Local nonprofits that serve Lindsay Heights, Clarke Square or Layton Boulevard West can use the funder’s online system to submit letters of inquiry. For ZFF’s current grant cycle, the neighborhood awards will be announced in early April.

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