June 22, 2023

Helping Build Thriving Neighborhoods

By Becki Fiegel

Becki Fiegel headshot

The front and back covers of our 2022 annual report featured maps of two of Madison’s many thriving neighborhoods. The corridors along South Park Street and East Washington Avenue have seen the investment and development of community resources that contribute to the vibrancy of their respective neighborhoods, and of the city overall.

Madison Community Foundation believes that the most effective way to bring meaningful, lasting change is by supporting ecosystems, which creates momentum in a way that discrete individual grants may not. We understand that funding specific nonprofits in isolation rarely produces the level of impact our community wants and needs. But funding several organizations in a similar geographic or focus area creates greater momentum as the next grant builds off the last.

This approach has worked well in neighborhoods across Madison, including those in South Madison along the Park Street corridor and along East Washington Avenue on the city’s east side.

South Side Renaissance

Kids enjoy a bouncy house with a man who is wearing a Boys & Girls Club of Dane County tee shirt

Madison’s south side is experiencing a renaissance that is the culmination of many years of hard work by community leaders who had a vision for what could be, and have worked long and hard to bring it to fruition. Many of these organizations have worked together to provide a full range of services to area residents, and to develop spaces that celebrate Black and Hispanic culture and accomplishments.

MCF – together with many donors and foundations – has been investing in South Madison for decades. Over the last 15 years, MCF has awarded more than $3.5 million in grants from our Community Impact and Field of Interest grant funds to the following organizations along the Park Street corridor on Madison’s south side. These grants have been amplified by our fundholders, who have distributed an additional nearly $4.5 million to these organizations.

  • Access Community Health Center
  • African American Council of Churches
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of Dane County
  • Catholic Charities
  • Catholic Multicultural Center
  • The Center for Black Excellence and Culture
  • Centro Hispano
  • Energy Services, Inc.
  • Literacy Network
  • Madison Black Chamber of Commerce
  • Madison College
  • Madison Public Library – Goodman South Branch
  • NAMI Dane County
  • Nehemiah Center for Urban Leadership Development
  • Omega School
  • One City Schools
  • Penn Park
  • Quaker Housing, Inc.
  • Southside Raiders
  • Urban League of Greater Madison
  • Urban Triage
  • YWCA Empowerment Center

East Washington Transformation

An artist poses in his studio at Art + Lit Lab with several large and colorful paintings

Like the Park Street corridor, East Washington Avenue has transformed over the past 15 years. Considering just the area between South Blair Street and South Baldwin Street you will find a thriving – and growing – hub of creativity. The mix of for-profit and nonprofit businesses is compelling.

While MCF has invested in anchor nonprofit buildings such as MyArts and the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestra through our grantmaking, they exist alongside for-profit venues such as the Sylvie and Breese Stevens Field. This small ecosystem of East Washington Avenue is also home to organizations that support entrepreneurship and environmental conservation, and that provide workforce training and social services.

Over the past 15 years, MCF has awarded more than $2 million in grants from our Community Impact and Field of Interest grant funds to the following organizations along the East Washington corridor on Madison’s east side. Our fundholders have distributed an additional $38 million to these organizations.

  • Art + Lit Lab
  • Children’s Theater of Madison
  • Gathering Waters
  • Groundswell Conservancy
  • Madison Skate Park
  • Madison Youth Choirs
  • Maydm
  • MyArts
  • The Rainbow Project
  • Salvation Army of Dane County
  • Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestra

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