For over a century the Rotary Club of Milwaukee has been proud to make a difference by CONNECTING PEOPLE AND RESOURCES.  This year the Rotary Club of Milwaukee is again offering all members a fun way to make a difference in Milwaukee. Using $25,000 from the RCM Community Trust, and Rotarians' connections in the community, members were able to make an impact by enabling "Connecting to the Community" grants to worthwhile projects in metro Milwaukee.

Consideration was given to grants that address equitable access and structural racism across education, arts, the environment or health.  

The 2024 Grant Winners are...
First Stage - $2,500

First Stage logoFirst Stage touches hearts, engages minds, and transforms lives by creating extraordinary theater experiences for young people and families.  Aiming to overcome the financial and transportation barriers that often prevent low-to-moderate income families from attending theater performances and enrolling in arts programs, First Stage will bring theater to them with IN MY GRANNY'S GARDEN—an interactive touring production suited for children (ages 0-5) and their caregivers.  Based on the book by Pearl Cleage, IN MY GRANNY'S GARDEN helps young audiences understand that food doesn't just come from the grocery store: it's grown in the ground.  This grant will help First Stage bring theater and its benefits directly to children and families historically excluded from professional arts experiences due to economic disparities and hardship. Learn more here.
America's Black Holocaust Museum (ABHM) - $5,000

America's Black Holocaust Museum (ABHM) is an integrated virtual and physical museum experience which serves as a catalyst to educate visitors around our collective history, promotes healing, and empowers us all to be agents for change. This grant will support exhibit rotations by using archival best practices to properly handle, clean, move, and catalog artifacts currently stored in three different storage facilities to one newly acquired storage facility near the museum.  Suitably caring for and preparing collections will allow ABHM to share even more history and perspectives with in-person and virtual visitors. Learn more here.
Forward Scholars (FS) - $5,000
Forward Scholars (FS) helps Kindergarten through 3rd grade Milwaukee Public School (MPS) students reach grade level in reading.  Trained community volunteers provide one-to-one, research-based tutoring to over 200 students twice each week during school hours in seven schools. Students are provided individualized lesson plans which utilize high quality, culturally relevant, leveled, and decodable texts for practice.  This grant will be used to purchase student supplies such as culturally relevant books/texts, certificates, school supplies, sticker charts, book bags and celebration treats. Learn more here
Milwaukee Homeless Veterans Initiative (MHVI) - $2,500
MHVI is dedicated to serving homeless and at-risk veterans throughout Wisconsin, with the majority served in the greater Milwaukee area. This grant will fund emergency transportation expenses. Transportation is one of the most common barriers veterans face so MHVI provides bus tickets or gas cards for veterans to remove those barriers.  Learn more here.
Charles Allis Art Museum and Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum - $5,000
This grant will help convert the Great Hall at the Charles Allis Art Museum, a nationally recognized historical space, to "The Hall," an open-to-the-public, free art gallery for Milwaukee Public School middle and high school students.  Learn more here.
Many thanks to the Connecting to the Community Grants Committee, co-chaired by Pat Cronin and Beth Ridley, and members Scott Brown, Kaushal Chari, Krista Doelder, Elizabeth Evans Draper, Janine Kolbeck, Avrum Lank, Edgar Lin, Jody Lowe, Mary McCormick, Kathleen O'Brien, Theresa Reagan, Natraj Shanker, Barbara Velez and Marilka Velez.