Northwestern Mutual Foundation invests nearly $3.4 million to foster thriving neighborhoods and educational success

September 27, 2018

Northwestern Mutual is dedicated to enhancing its headquarters in Milwaukee by providing its residents with access to quality health, educational and community resources. To further its commitment, the company, through its Foundation, announced on Wednesday, September 26, 2018, nearly $3.4 million in grants to nonprofits and organizations. The organizations receiving funding are committed to propelling Milwaukee toward a better future through community outreach and educational improvement.

Since 2013, the company has invested in and partnered with the Milwaukee neighborhoods of Amani, Metcalfe Park and Muskego Way to increase safety and build strong families and healthy and thriving youth. Many of the organizations receiving funding through this year’s neighborhoods grants, including Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee, Journey House, Junior Achievement of Wisconsin and more, share a mission to help local youth reach their goals.

“For our city to thrive, it’s so vital to provide the opportunities for our children and youth to be successful,” said Eric Christophersen, president, Northwestern Mutual Foundation. “It’s essential that we help support our communities with the means to achieve their dreams, and it starts with access to valuable community resources and foundational education.”

New this year to funding is Operation DREAM, an organization that provides developmental opportunities for young men and their families through mentorship and work programs such as Operation WORK. The hands-on, incentive-based program offers the opportunity for young men to learn fundamental social and employment skills, understand the value of self-sufficiency and explore entrepreneurial opportunities in Milwaukee through internships and employment.

Those individuals who successfully complete the program obtain jobs throughout the city in various sectors, including law, nonprofit, environmental organizations and more. Last year, Operation WORK partnered with the City of Milwaukee to clean and further develop Pocket Parks, mini-parks that promote wellness through outdoor activities, including two in Amani and one in Metcalfe Park.

In the Milwaukee education system, Northwestern Mutual focuses on funding literacy programs that emphasize third-grade reading proficiency and best-in-class mentoring programs, partnering with six schools located in the Amani, Metcalfe Park and Muskego Way areas. In addition, the company aims to provide meaningful STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) educational experiences to students to help shape both their technology proficiency and passion for related industries.

Among the organizations and schools that the Foundation supports is Milwaukee College Prep, a four-campus network of K-8 schools committed to eliminating the achievement gap to help children develop fundamental skills.

Milwaukee College Prep focuses heavily on literacy and reading fluency, especially in early primary grades, which starts with the intensive training of its instructors through a literacy coaching program. Following the 2016-17 school year, Milwaukee College Prep received five-star Department of Public Instruction (DPI) ratings for all of its eligible schools and reported a 96 percent on-time high school graduation rate among its alumni.

In connection to the Foundation’s neighborhoods work, Milwaukee College Prep serves students in the Metcalfe Park and Amani neighborhoods.