Milwaukee business, nonprofit groups plan big community investment fund

September 15, 2019

Some of Milwaukee’s largest business and philanthropic organizations plan to create an investment fund to promote economic development and affordable housing in neighborhoods surrounding downtown.

 

The organizers don’t have a targeted dollar amount yet, but $50 million has been floated conceptually, said Julia Taylor, president of the Greater Milwaukee Committee. The discussion is an offshoot of the MKE United planning effort, which aims to promote investment, housing affordability and employment in neighborhoods that haven’t enjoyed the post-recession building boom as much as Milwaukee’s downtown.

 

“It will be a fund that will enable us to make the kind of long-term investing, and have the patient money that we need,” Taylor said. “It’s not going to look like a typical investment fund. The investment fund is basically being created to deal with the strategies coming out of MKE United, and the issue of disinvestment.”

 

That means supporting affordable housing, or providing grants to homeowners near downtown whose property taxes are rising quickly. There could be grants or loans to businesses rehabbing buildings along neighborhood main streets.

 

The organizations behind the effort include the GMC, Greater Milwaukee Foundation, LISC Milwaukee, the Milwaukee Urban League and city officials, Taylor said. They’re still working out the details and structure for the investment fund, but by spring could be ready to start fundraising outreach to the business and philanthropic community, Taylor said. 

 

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