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Milwaukee Awarded $25,000 Cities of Service Impact Volunteering Fund Grant to Implement Artistic Board-Up Initiative

Grant Funds, Provided by Bloomberg Philanthropies, Will Support a New “Impact Volunteering” Initiative to Address Vacant Foreclosed Houses in Milwaukee’s Amani Neighborhood
 

December 16, 2013

After receiving a record-number of applications, Cities of Service announced that it has awarded $25,000 to Milwaukee to implement a service initiative designed to address neighborhood deterioration caused by vacant foreclosed houses. Milwaukee is one of 23 U.S. cities to win a Cities of Service Impact Volunteering Fund grant, which supports mayors who are implementing “impact volunteering” strategies that tackle pressing local challenges.

“Milwaukee is stronger when partners team up and work together. With its investment, Cities of Service is promoting an effort that improves the appearance of neighborhoods, and, even more importantly, it engages residents in a way that builds lasting strength,” Mayor Tom Barrett said.

Milwaukee’s $25,000 grant will go to expand a successful pilot project that utilizes community volunteers to assist with the installation of decorative panels at vacant city-owned properties in Milwaukee’s Amani neighborhood to improve neighborhood appearance and pride, build community cohesion, and reduce vandalism and crime.

The Cities of Service model focuses on impact volunteering – volunteer strategies that target community needs, use best practices, and set clear, measurable outcomes to gauge progress. Dozens of cities across the nation have adopted the model since its introduction in 2009. Cities that received first round grants from the Cities of Service Impact Volunteering Fund in October 2012 already have shown success leveraging volunteers across a range of issue areas. For example, Fall River, MA created its first urban tree farm to support ongoing revitalization efforts; Austin, TX surveyed 10% of city-owned land to identify invasive plant species for removal to protect the local environment; and Little Rock, AR is engaging more than 3,000 elementary school students in a comprehensive anti-obesity and healthy eating initiative to improve health outcomes.

More than 60 mayors applied for Cities of Service Impact Volunteering Fund grants to support the implementation of nearly 90 initiatives. Grants ranging from $25,000 to $100,000 also will support efforts in Allentown, PA; Atlanta, GA; Austin, TX; Birmingham, AL; Buffalo, NY; Campton Hills, IL; Charleston, SC; Fall River, MA; Flint, MI; Hartford, CT; Hayward, CA; Kalamazoo, MI; Kansas City, KS; Louisville, KY; Mesa, AZ; Nashville, TN; Orlando, FL; Philadelphia, PA; Richmond, CA; San Jose, CA; Utica, NY; and Washington, DC.

Funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Cities of Service Impact Volunteering Fund is a multi-million dollar fund. Nearly $1 million was awarded through the first round of grants in October 2012, with an additional $1 million awarded through this second round. Grantee cities were selected based on the quality of initiative proposals, scale and potential for impact, and caliber of implementation plans, among other criteria. Cities of Service Impact Volunteering Fund initiatives address issues in the Cities of Service priority areas of education and youth, health, neighborhood revitalization, preparedness and safety, sustainability, and veterans.

About Cities of Service

Founded in September 2009 in New York City by New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and 16 other mayors from across the nation, Cities of Service is a bipartisan coalition of over 180 mayors committed to addressing critical city needs through impact volunteering. American cities face serious challenges and many mayors want to take advantage of every resource available to them – including the time and energy of public-spirited residents – to address those challenges. But in cities across America today, citizen service is often an underutilized strategy by municipal governments. By leveraging citizen service strategies, Cities of Service helps mayors address local needs and make government more effective. To find out more about Cities of Service, visit our website at www.citiesofservice.org or follow us on Twitter @CitiesOfService.

For more information about Milwaukee’s Impact Volunteering Fund grant, contact William J. Malone, Youth Development Coordinator of the Department of City Development, at 286-5894 or William.malone@milwaukee.gov.