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Foundations Collaborate to Expand Community Engagement Work in Central City Milwaukee

The Siebert Lutheran Foundation and We Raise Foundation jointly awarded $300,000 to St. Marcus Lutheran School for the school’s “Building Stability and Prosperity for Community Transformation” project that will expand support services available to school families.

Support services launched by St. Marcus in 2017 are working to build a more diverse Harambee neighborhood, both racially and economically, allowing children and families to thrive.

The funding, which was announced June 10, 2021, will create one new staff position at the school and strengthen two existing positions that will provide services to school families that are designed to create stable households and productive learning environments. These include:

  • Financial literacy classes

  • One-on-one financial coaching/accountability

  • Homeownership workshops

  • Job networking

  • Peer-to-Peer Community Support

  • Crisis Stabilization (healthy food, supplies, shelter)

The community engagement specialist will further engage leaders and organizations in the community to build effective collaborations and partnerships internally and externally for the good of the whole community. These opportunities will give families the foundation for financial stability, independence, and prosperity and allow students to excel in the classroom.

With the planned opening of its third Harambee Campus in August, St. Marcus will be able to use its three geographically close campuses to serve more than 1,500 students as a platform to support families more broadly. St. Marcus recognizes that an excellent education addresses social, emotional, spiritual, and academic needs of students and is critical for future success in life. Oftentimes, however, it is not enough. Students’ performance in the classroom can be influenced by life events unrelated to school. A stable home, employment, and abundance of healthy food all affect a child’s academics.

“We Raise Foundation is pleased to partner with Siebert Lutheran Foundation to invest in the work being done at St. Marcus Lutheran School,” said Paul Miles, President and CEO of We Raise Foundation. “Under the extraordinary leadership of Henry Tyson and his team, St. Marcus sets the highest standards of academic performance and then creates innovative solutions to help its students meet them. We are proud to support their work and equally proud to be a leading voice for foundation partnerships like the one designed with Siebert. We believe we are stronger when we work together to create healthy communities and encourage other funders to consider how they could do more through partnerships.”

Since 2017, more than 650 individuals have received services through this project in collaboration with community partners such as Wisconsin Women's Business Initiative Corporation (WWBIC), ACTS Housing, Milwaukee JobsWork, The Joseph Project, and Habitat for Humanity.

“This collaborative grant to St. Marcus embodies the Siebert Lutheran Foundation’s core value of educating youth while sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And, the partnership with We

Raise reflects our shared value of aligning resources to create additional collective impact,” said

Charlotte John-Gomez, Siebert’s President. “We are grateful for the time and attention St. Marcus gave to developing its three-year vision for this program and are excited to see the positive impact it will have on the community for many years to come.”

A platform for a thriving school is created when school staff and parents are spiritually supported and have access to 1:1 life coaching and community resources to break the cycle of poverty and achieve stability followed by prosperity. The community will have access to high-quality education, financial literacy, crisis stabilization, safe affordable housing, home ownership and job opportunities.

“Any time two leading foundations collaborate on an essential vision with the central city of Milwaukee as its focus is an incredible blessing,” said Henry Tyson, Superintendent of St. Marcus School. “It is a huge win no matter how you look at it. When a lot of entities are content to turn a blind eye to what is happening in our city, Siebert and We Raise stand out in sharp contrast. We are grateful for their partnership and the impact it will have on the Harambee community.”

About St. Marcus School

St. Marcus School is a Christian, college-prep, 5-star school, “significantly exceeding expectations” serving 570 students (K4-8th grades) at its Main Campus at 2215 N Palmer Street and 350 students (K3-8th grades) at its North Campus at 2669 N Richards Street, five blocks north of the main campus. The new Harambee Campus at 110 W Burleigh Street, five blocks north of the North Campus will open in August 2021 with 200 students and will eventually grow to serve over 600 students (K4-8th grades).

Students are predominantly low-income African-American students. As a nationally recognized leader in urban education reform, St. Marcus empowers individuals, children and families to overcome challenges and reach their full potential. Graduating students are fully prepared for high school and positioned to excel in higher education, including university academics and as leaders in their communities.

Academic Achievements:

  • 95% daily attendance

  • 87% high school graduation rate

  • 87% student return rate

The Christian focus and no-excuses approach encourages growth in wisdom, dedication and self-discipline. For more information about the mission of St. Marcus School, please visit

About Siebert Lutheran Foundation

The Siebert Lutheran Foundation, as a steward of its resources and relationships, enables the Lutheran community to be more collaborative, creative, and effective in how it shares the Word of God, educates and instills Christian values in our youth, and serves people in need. Siebert is a private independent foundation and was established by the late Albert F. Siebert to fund Christian ministries identified with Lutheran churches and organizations within Siebert’s funding priorities in Wisconsin. Siebert Serves, an initiative launched in 2019, helps Christians maximize their life’s impact to God’s glory through customized philanthropy management services ranging from one-time grant making to long-term disbursement of donor assets. In 2020, Siebert granted $3.72 million to nearly 90 organizations and ended the year with $124 million in total assets. The Foundation has granted $139 million since 1976.

About We Raise Foundation

Motivated by the belief that freedom is grace in action (Galatians 5:1a), We Raise Foundation partners with Christian nonprofit organizations and emerging leaders working at the intersection of poverty, violence, and inequality. We have a preference for funding solutions within the areas of education, workforce development, and criminal justice and employ a unique approach to our investing by coupling program funding with a variety of robust value-added services that empower our grantees to grow their solutions. As a result of these value-add services, every $1 that donors invest through We Raise multiplies into more than double the benefit to the organizations we support. To learn more, please visit You can also find You can also find We Raise onFacebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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