Back in October 2019, the Greater Milwaukee Foundation (GMF) held its third annual On the Table event. During On the Table individuals and organizations hold conversations on any given topic. For some the event provides a way to connect with likeminded individuals and formulate ideas and solutions.

In response to the ideas that came from the conversations, GMF created the Ideas to Action grant in 2018, which provides funding to some of the ideas generated. This year, according to GMF, more than 5,000 residents came together during On the Table. After meeting, groups have an opportunity to submit an idea to the Ideas to Action grant for consideration.

Thirteen projects in 2019 received funding with the total amounting to $25,000. Recipients received between $500 and $2,500 with the hopes that the funds will help jumpstart the ideas.

The groups awarded include: Alverno College, Cavalry Presbyterian Church, Code for Milwaukee, Convergence Resource Center, Greater Bethlehem Temple World Ministries, Healing First Peer Advisory Committee, Health Connections (TGNCNB), Milwaukee Environmental Consortium, Milwaukee Youth Arts Center, Public Allies Milwaukee, SaintA, TEMPO Milwaukee and Walnut Way.

Ellen Gilligan, the CEO and president of GMF, congratulated the winners of the 2019 Ideas to Action grant.

“Our community clearly wants their On the Table MKE experience to mean something,” Gilligan said.

“Where their dialogue represents just an early chapter in the full story of positive change in greater Milwaukee.”

GMF found that the topics of race, racial equity, justice and inclusion and diversity were the most talked about. Other common topics included youth and education and health, health care and human services
Public Allies, whose conversation took place at the Sherman Phoenix, discussed self-care, mental health and how racial equity, inclusion and diversity play a role. The group received $2,500 to support Healing Justice MKE.

Healing Justice MKE is a group of 15 people who work to promote racial equity. The funding will help the group create workshops where they will learn how to identify harm and implement healing practices in their daily life and social work.

According to the press release, “The workshops will be designed to promote healing, asset-based thinking, collaboration and continuous learning.”

Another group which received $2,500 was Walnut Way. The funding will help 10 residents living in Lindsay Heights who want to develop their own food and culinary businesses. Walnut Way will help them acquire licenses and provide them with training and tours of commercial kitchens.

Six groups in total received $2,500. Although all the groups received varying amounts, each bit will help them achieve their goal.

The Convergence Resource Center for example received $1,000. The money will be used to create guidelines for survivors of human trafficking who are seeking medical and mental health assistance. The guidelines will be created with assistance from survivors of human trafficking.

No matter their individual goals, each group that received an Idea to Action grant is dedicated to improving Milwaukee’s neighborhoods and communities.

To learn more about the topics, groups and stories go to