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JPMorgan Chase & Co. announced $3.5 million for a collaborative of Milwaukee-based economic development organizations to help fuel economic development in underserved communities—including revitalizing commercial strips, spurring entrepreneurship for people of color, and creating jobs within the MKEUnited footprint.
Known as Brew City Match (BCM), the collaborative will use the funding from winning JPMorgan Chase’s Partnerships for Raising Opportunity in Neighborhoods (PRO Neighborhoods) competition, to provide capital coupled with business and financial educational support. BCM will leverage City of Milwaukee white box and façade funding to help grow neighborhood businesses, alleviate blight and fill vacant commercial space. The group’s goal is to take advantage of the hundreds of millions of dollars of downtown development activity to benefit downtown-adjacent areas—without displacing residents or threatening the neighborhood’s rich culture and character.
“Collaboration is the key to developing long-term, regional economic solutions that benefit everyone,” said Whitney Smith, head of Midwest philanthropy for JPMorgan Chase. “Partnering with Brew City Match will bring much-needed resources to enhance and activate Milwaukee’s underserved commercial corridors, ultimately driving inclusive growth.”
“Brew City Match has a framework similar to Detroit’s Motor City Match and is a direct response to recent investments in downtown development,” said Donsia Strong Hill, executive director of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) in Milwaukee. “This initiative will help adjacent neighborhood corridors to stabilize and benefit from the emerging growth opportunities, while mitigating the risk of wide-spread displacement. BCM also provides what minority entrepreneurs need to achieve economic mobility—access to affordable, flexible capital and the technical support to help them thrive.”
LISC is leading BCM and is a certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) and working in concert with these other key partners, also CDFIs, the Hmong Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce, Columbia Savings and Loan, MEDC, and the Wisconsin Women's Business Initiative Corporation (WWBIC), and will coordinate with the City of Milwaukee’s Department of City Development and the Greater Milwaukee Committee (GMC).
LISC Milwaukee is currently seeking consultants to complete a Market Analysis that will inform the strategy for Brew City Match.