Since 1915, the Greater Milwaukee Foundation has continuously addressed community needs and supported the work of nonprofits through grant funding. The Foundation awards thousands of grants each year, with the vast majority supporting Milwaukee, Waukesha, Ozaukee and Washington counties. Through the generosity of our donors past and present, the Foundation has been able to award more than $1 billion in grants to help build a Milwaukee for all. 

The Foundation administers two primary forms of grantmaking:

  • Board-directed grantmaking
    The Foundation manages a series of grant cycles each year focused on addressing community priorities to which organizations from throughout the region can apply for funding. The Foundation’s Board authorizes the awarding of these strategic grants to qualified nonprofits. 
  • Donor-recommended grantmaking
    Donors who partner with the Foundation for their philanthropy make significant investments in our community using the funds they have established. Through such tools as donor advised, designated and scholarship funds, Foundation donors can make grants to organizations and causes they choose. Donors also can align their giving with the Foundation’s strategic priorities to further amplify impact around the community’s greatest needs and opportunities.

In partnership with the community and donors, we have expanded early childhood education, increased access to quality housing, advanced scientific research, provided food and shelter for those experiencing hunger or homelessness, created nature preserves, started scholarships, and much more.

Grants overview

2023 Year in Review 

Last year, the Foundation invested over $56.7 million in the community through grantmaking from all sources. 

Board-directed grants 

$10.9 million 


Donor-recommended grants 

$45.8 million 



Grantmaking by interest area

numbers are rounded

Grantmaking by interest area pie chart

Recent grants

Learn about the recent grants awarded through our competitive grantmaking program.

Learn more