Milwaukee foundation gives away millions to help local groups challenged during pandemic

Posted at 5:54 PM, Dec 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-22 19:48:33-05

In a year shaken by the pandemic, one Milwaukee foundation has stayed true to its charitable core.

The Bradley Foundation has given out $10 million this year to help local organizations navigate the COVID crisis and everyday challenges.

Pastor Kurt Owens at Bridge Builders is trying to make a difference in Milwaukee, one block at a time. He's not just trying to rebuild neighborhoods near 40th and Hampton, but relationships all across our city.

"Certainly properties have been repaired, but I think the biggest part of our mojo has really been bridging the gaps of that racial divide that we have seen, that has taken our community by storm, said Pastor Owens.

Add in a pandemic - and the challenges only grows for Bridge Builders.

"It has been challenging, said Pastor Owens, because much of what we do is bring people together."

It's been a hard year for lots of non-profits. $20,000 from Milwaukee's Bradley Foundation sure helps.

"Pastor Kurt Owens does a great job with that organization that really, sort of block by block, are making our communities stronger and more cohesive," said Rick Graber, President and CEO of the Bradley Foundation.

Graber says the Bradley Foundation looks for organizations that lean on free market ideas to transform lives.

"These are perfect examples of building a strong, civil society, said Graber, without government help and making it work."

Pastor Owens says the money will help them battle the destructive forces of neighborhood drug houses, even after the dealers have been chased out.

"What the Bradley Foundation has allowed us to do is to further that campaign in acquiring some of those problematic houses," said Pastor Owens.

The foundation says it has given out more than a billion dollars in grants to 1900 organizations. $400 million went to groups within Wisconsin.

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