MILWAUKEE — Advocate Aurora Health and the Wisconsin Women's Business Initiative Corporation (WWBIC)have partnered to help build healthier communities in Wisconsin.
The two organizations completed a $1 million contract in which WWBIC distributes loans to local businesses. This stemmed from Advocate Aurora Health's $50 million commitment to addressing social determinants of health as part of the Healthcare Anchor Network, which includes dozens of health systems across the country.
Reverend Harold Turner received a $100,000 loan from the partnership to purchase The Milwaukee Times, a longstanding Black-owned newspaper.
"It just became an opportunity and I was available at the right place at the right time," Rev. Turner said.
After spending decades serving in the church and working in insurance, Rev. Turner became the newest CEO, owner, and publisher of the weekly paper in late 2021.
"Hopefully, I can make a difference in our community," Rev. Turner said.
The loan will go toward general support and advancing the paper. WWBIC will also offer industry support including educational programming.
"I thought maybe that's a reward from God telling me to keep going. Don't stop," said Rev. Turner.
"This is a long-standing significant community newspaper in Milwaukee that would be sorely missed if it did not succeed," said Wendy Baumann, president and chief visionary officer for WWBIC.
Since January 2021, the partnership, along with other pooled funding sources, has supported 21 business loans.
The combined effort addresses economic and social challenges to health while leveling the playing field for people who face increased barriers to running a small business.
"I've heard the term used, your wealth is equal to your health outcomes," said Vincent Lyles, systems vice president community relations for Advocate Aurora Health.
"Part of the work here is to again expand access to financial resources that in turn, will create better opportunities for people that in turn, will lead to better health outcomes," Lyles said.
Looking ahead, Rev. Turner wants to hire more staff, update their equipment, and reach more people across the community.
"That's the only way that we're gonna make a difference is inform the community," Rev. Turner said.