Greater Milwaukee Foundation offers up to $1 million in new, accessible business loans

Qualifying businesses in Milwaukee, Waukesha, Washington and Ozaukee can apply

Milwaukee, Wis., June 5, 2024 - Small businesses play an essential role in a region’s economic vitality, but risings costs and limited access to capital can make them hard to sustain. This year, the Greater Milwaukee Foundation aims to deploy $1 million in low-interest loans to support small businesses based in Milwaukee, Waukesha, Washington and Ozaukee counties. The success of the ThriveOn Small Business Loans program in previous years allowed for its expansion into all four counties.

Eligible business owners can apply for a loan of up to $75,000 at a 2% fixed interest rate with a seven-year max term. The application opens on Tuesday, June 18, and closes on Monday, July 8.

Benefits to businesses

The loan can be used as working capital, for the purchase of equipment and supplies, debt finance, building improvements, payroll assistance and a business-related transportation vehicle. In addition to the proceeds, benefits include technical assistance, networking opportunities and the ability to support other small businesses.

Business owners interested in learning more are invited to attend an informational session at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, June 13, at the Foundation’s office, 2153 N. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Dr., Suite 4000.

Building a thriving Milwaukee

From 2022-23, previous cycles of ThriveOn Small Business Loans, part of the Foundation’s impact investing program, provided over $1 million in low-interest loans and business coaching to 23 local businesses collectively. This effort supports the Foundation’s commitment to infuse significant capital into disadvantaged, small neighborhood businesses.

As loans are repaid, the dollars are recycled back to the community to support other small businesses and opportunities in housing and early childhood education.

Loan offers align with the Foundation’s commitment to its North Star of racial equity and inclusion, which aims to advance equitable economic opportunities and build a thriving Milwaukee for all.

About the Greater Milwaukee Foundation

The Greater Milwaukee Foundation is Wisconsin’s largest community foundation and was among the first established in the world. For more than a century, the Foundation has been at the heart of the civic community, helping donors achieve the greatest philanthropic impact, elevating the work of changemakers across neighborhoods, and bringing people and organizations together to help our region thrive. Racial equity is the Foundation’s North Star, guiding its investments and strategies for social and economic change. Leveraging generations of community knowledge, cross-sector partnerships and more than $1 billion in financial assets, the Foundation is committed to reimagining philanthropy, recentering communities and remaking systems to transform our region into a Milwaukee for all.