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Advocate Aurora Health awarding $2.1 million for community projects in Milwaukee

The Better Together Fund awards address social and economic needs to help eliminate inequities

October 30, 2020

Milwaukee, Wis. – Advocate Aurora Health is awarding a total of $2,125,000 in grants to Milwaukee community organizations through its Better Together Fund. The funds will be distributed to 11 community projects across 10 organizations to address the social and economic needs of the Milwaukee community as we continue to face COVID-19.

"We will put the Better Together Fund to work by providing awards to community partners with an emphasis on eliminating inequities and assisting diverse populations in hard-hit neighborhoods to recover from the economic and health impact of the COVID-19 pandemic," said Cristy Garcia-Thomas, Advocate Aurora Health Chief External Affairs Officer. "Our goal is to address the social and economic needs of the vulnerable communities we're so proud to serve."

The Better Together Fund is a one-time funding commitment to develop critical services in Milwaukee. Community groups from across Milwaukee were invited to submit proposals.

The initial grant recipients seek to support the minority workforce as they continue to face challenges during the COVID-19 crisis. The first two recipients are:

  • Hispanic Collaborative – MercadoMKE
    $250,000 to support and increase the number of Hispanic-owned businesses with an online presence and sales platform.
  • African American Chamber of Commerce – RISE MKE Entrepreneurial Training Program
    $250,000 to support African American-owned businesses with training and technical support to develop e-commerce business and other strategies.

"The effects of COVID-19 have spotlighted the vulnerabilities of our minority communities and exacerbated the differences between healthy and well-positioned communities and those without assets to leverage," said Nancy Hernandez, President of the Hispanic Collaborative. "We're grateful for this grant and know it will go a long way to assist Hispanic-owned businesses successfully pivot during this time frame, make them stronger and diversify their sales base through MercadoMKE."

"Prior to the pandemic, African American business owners found themselves at a disadvantage. COVID-19 created even more hurdles, but this grant will help," explained Ossie Kendrix, President & CEO of the African American Chamber of Commerce. "RISE MKE is designed to positively impact African American entrepreneurs who are starting or growing their businesses and give them the tools they need to be successful during this pandemic and beyond."

In the coming weeks, Advocate Aurora will announce the recipients of additional grants aimed at supporting workforce development, access to behavioral health services, food security, affordable housing and community safety.

The Better Together Fund is managed by the Greater Milwaukee Foundation.

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About Advocate Aurora Safe Care Promise
Health and safety is our highest priority. The Advocate Aurora Safe Care Promise provides additional measures to protect patients and our team members. In person or online, we are here to ensure safe, comfortable and convenient care, and have taken additional measures to protect patients and their families including:

  • Masking – Ensuring anyone who enters our locations is wearing a mask. If they don't have one, we'll gladly provide it.
  • Screening – Taking the temperature and asking questions about symptoms and exposure to everyone who enters our locations.
  • Social distancing – Rearranging our waiting areas and staggering appointment times to reduce traffic and create safe spaces.
  • Virtual check-in – Facilitating check-ins with digital devices for seamless, low-contact arrivals.
  • Enhanced Cleaning – Adding additional cleaning precautions in all areas and added handwashing/sanitizer stations.

About Advocate Aurora Health
Advocate Aurora Health is one of the 10 largest not-for-profit, integrated health systems in the United States and a leading employer in the Midwest with more than 70,000 employees, including more than 22,000 nurses and the region's largest employed medical staff and home health organization. A national leader in clinical innovation, health outcomes, consumer experience and value-based care, the system serves nearly 3 million patients annually in Illinois and Wisconsin across more than 500 sites of care. Advocate Aurora is engaged in hundreds of clinical trials and research studies and is nationally recognized for its expertise in cardiology, neurosciences, oncology and pediatrics. The organization contributed $2.2 billion in charitable care and services to its communities in 2019. We help people live well.

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