In February, people from all around the world participate in cultural celebrations including Carnival Brazil, Mardi Gras in New Orleans, Carnival Mazatlan, and Fasching in Germany. Since 2009, we have modeled our annual fundraiser after these celebrations.

Join us and enjoy food from diverse vendors all over the city, live music by De La Buena, dancing by Salsabrositas, drumming from Samba da Vida, a raffle, interactive photo booth, and great company in celebration of the work we do to support thriving urban communities.

This highly anticipated community event brings together nearly 300 guests every year from a diverse array of backgrounds, neighborhoods and ages – we believe this interaction is meaningful and promotes a deeper appreciation of the “mosaic” that is Milwaukee!

CARNIVAL MILWAUKEE 2024

Friday March 8th | 5:30-9:00 PM

At the Historic Pritzlaff, 333 N Plankinton Ave, Milwaukee

$75 General Public | $65 Current UEDA Members

Ticket price includes food, entertainment, dancing, photo booth and more!

Members: contact martha@uedawi.org to verify your member status for the discount code.


VOLUNTEER WITH US

It’s a great opportunity to enjoy the fun at Carnival Milwaukee!

We are in need of help with set-up, food serving, raffle, check-in, and more. If you would like to learn more. Visit Sign Up Genius to get the details and volunteer. If you have additional questions, reach out to Constance Alberts at constance@uedawi.org.


Check out our local, live entertainment partners!

Logos for De La Buena, Salsabrositas, Samba Da Vida

www.delabuena.com

Facebook.com/wisconsinsalsa

Facebook.com/SambadaVidaMKE


2024 Bill Johnson Bridge Builder Award

Congratulations Menonomee Valley Partners!

Every year we present a Bridge Builder Award to recognize a community member or partner for their efforts to honor diversity and connect people and places through the expression of culture in food, art, music, and space. We are proud to present this year’s award to Menonomee Valley Partners for their commitment to connecting people and place through projects that feature the cultural identity, natural heritage, vibrant local businesses, and unique spaces in Milwaukee’s Menomonee River Valley.

Learn more about Menomonee Valley Partners and the great work they do – their website showcases the food, local businesses, natural spaces, and art located in the Valley. Each September Valley Week celebrates these many elements and draws new visitors to different spaces. Follow them on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram for the latest updates.

 

Carnival Milwaukee is a fundraiser for the Urban Economic Development Association of Wisconsin (UEDA) and celebrates Milwaukee’s diversity through food, music, and dance while supporting the local businesses, individuals and organizations that contribute to the economic and cultural vitality of our city.

Not able to join us this year? Consider making a contribution to support UEDA!

Your support will not only provide direct investment into local businesses, but will also help fund UEDA’s work in sustainable homeownership and affordable housing, financial empowerment, small business growth, workforce mobility, and community investment.

Donate Now button

As we close out 2023, we’re looking back on an impactful & busy year!

Perhaps you joined us at Carnival Milwaukee … or attended an Emerging Topics Series session … or visited our table at a community resource event … or participated in a Bank On or Take Root meeting. Scroll down for more highlights from the year!

UEDA highlights include:

  • Welcomed new Member Services Director Martha Collins.
  • Said goodbye to our previous Trinity Fellow Kat Klawes and welcomed new Fellow Adam Bridges.
  • Completed a new strategic plan for UEDA, to guide our work 2024-2026.
  • Gained 20+ UEDA, Bank On Greater Milwaukee or Take Root Milwaukee members.
  • Presented a great Emerging Topics series, partnering with Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service, MGIC, UW-Milwaukee, Milky Way Tech Hub, Latinos in Tech, and SEWRPC. Check out the Recap!
  • Launched new training and development programs for City of Milwaukee community organizers and area financial counselors.
  • Provided project support to Nonprofit Lift and Milwaukee Rental Housing Resource Center.
  • Worked to formalize our partnership with the Nonprofit Academy of Wisconsin to provide technical assistance and organizational reviews to nonprofits.
  • Met up with 60 our closest member friends at the Annual Community Gathering at Wall Street Stock Bar (check out the Instagram highlight reel).
  • Increased our participation & outreach activity – this year we shared homeownership resources and financial education with over 850 people at 14 community events!

Our Take Root Milwaukee program:

  • Developed a listing of Financial Coaching and Credit Counseling programs in Milwaukee.
  • Working with IMPACT Connect to develop a system to better connect residents to home repair resources and services in the community.
  • Successfully advocated for $2M for Down Payment Assistance (DPA) Program in 2024 City Budget.

Our Bank On Greater Milwaukee program:

  • Connected with Employ Milwaukee / City of Milwaukee Earn and Learn Program to start offering banking access and financial education to youth employees in the summer job program.
  • Worked with the WI Department of Corrections (DOC) and financial partners to offer banking access prior to release, use of penal system identification to open an account, and provide financial education resources to returning citizens.
  • Began development of:
    • A NEW website that will be more consumer-focused (look for it in 2024!)
    • “How to Open a Bank Account” Video
    • Outreach materials for teens and youth on why a bank account

View our 2022 Impact Report and look for our 2023 Impact report in late January. Check out our Newsletter archive for additional updates, links, and resources.

We thank all of our Volunteers, Funders, Members, and Partners for their continued support of our work in community and economic development – we could not accomplish our mission without you!

Thank you for all we achieved together in 2023 and we look forward to continuing our collaborative work in 2024!

UEDA Emerging Topics Series

Thank you for joining us for our 2023 Emerging Topics Series! 

This year we featured a wide range of interests that included community-based journalism, new research on disparities in wealth-building and homeownership, technology tools to help streamline our daily work, and the upcoming update of Southeast Wisconsin’s Regional & Land Use Plan, VISION 2050.

A huge thank you to the 85+ people who attended this year’s series, our Partners & Presenters, and Sponsors for their support!

Session 4 Recap: VISION 2050: Weigh in on the Region’s Future

Thank you to the 25+ people who participated in our last session for 2023, which featured an overview of the process for the upcoming review and update of Southeastern Wisconsin’s VISION 2050 Regional Land Use & Transportation Plan. We learned from Regional Planning Commission staff about the Plan and the process to update financial and equity analyses, meet federal requirements, and gather public input over the next 6 months. View the slides here>>

UEDA is proud to be a Community Partner of the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission (SEWRPC), learn more about them here.

VISION 2050 logo - regional land use plan

 

Session 3 Recap: Making Tech Work for You – Leveraging Technology for Small Organization

On October 11th, we celebrated WI Tech Month at this hands-on workshop with presenter Tim Syth, Contexture, who discussed how to effectively and efficiently use existing technology tools such as Google Workspace and the Cloud. Thank you to the small group who joined us for some interactive learning on how to leverage automation and streamline tasks, save resources and time, and increase our ability to achieve mission. We also learned how small organizations can unleash the power of ChatGPT and explore other AI alternatives while gaining insights into how they can improve organizational operations. See the slides here>>.

Special thank you to Milky Way Tech Hub and Latinos in Tech for their support of this month-long series of events.

Logo for Wisconsin Tech Month

 

Session 2 Recap: Bridging the Racial Disparity in Wealth Creation in Milwaukee

On September 12, nearly 40 people attended our second session of the 2023 series to learn about new research on household wealth and homeownership from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, supported by the Mortgage Guaranty Insurance Corporation (MGIC). The project included a multi-disciplinary team and looks to create a foundational approach to identifying and measuring how effective homeownership can be as a generator of wealth, and inform policy and social investments that help address racial disparities in homeownership and wealth-building.

Attendees shared feedback on the initial research findings and ideas on intentional ways we could support residents in neighborhoods with lower homeownership rates, strengthen efforts to prevent foreclosure, and how other factors could impact wealth generation across different areas. As our learning from these findings continues, we look forward to future research that could guide policy and investment.

View the press release and the presentation slides. Thank you to our presenters and partners!

MGIC and UW-Milwaukee logos

 

Session 1 Recap: Neighborhood News Connect

Thanks to all who joined us for our first Emerging Topics Series for 2023 on June 27, held in partnership with Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service (NNS). NNS is a nonprofit news organization that covers Milwaukee’s diverse neighborhood stories that are important to the people who live, work, and serve in the city. The NNS staff members who presented were: Ron Smith, Executive Director, Deborah Heffner, Director of Development and Partnerships, Princess Safiya Byers, Report for America Staff Reporter and Bevin Christie, News 414 Project Manager.

Photo collage from UEDA's June 2023 Emerging Topics Series on June 27

They talked about the changes they’re seeing in community-based journalism, and the power it holds to empower and uplift communities. NNS covers topics such as education, public safety, economic development, health and wellness, environment, recreation, employment, youth development and housing. One of their most read articles last year focused on what Milwaukee Mayors actually do, a part of their efforts to promote civic education. Look for more pieces like that in the coming year.

NNS also shared how they leverage storytelling to create impactful narratives, and the tools available to the community to engage with them:

  • Their Community Voices section allows community members to submit opinions on topics of interest.
  • Posts from Community is where groups can submit news releases and articles about their issues and events.
  • And News414 is their service journalism project in partnership with Wisconsin Watch.

Learn more about NNS at https://milwaukeenns.org, we thank them for partnering with us on this session. We hope to collaborate with them more in the future. And a very special thank you to Bader Philanthropies for hosting our first session of the 2023 series!

 

2023 UEDA Emerging Topics Series Sponsors logos

Thank you to the 40+ people from the Bank On Greater Milwaukee coalition and Milwaukee Alliance for Economic Alliance (AEI) who joined us to celebrate our 4th anniversary on Tuesday, September 19. Our partner, the AEI, shared an overview of findings from the FDIC’s most recent Unbanked and Underbanked Survey and changes we’ve seen in the consumer landscape as a result of the public health pandemic.

Additionally, Lisa Locke from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis presented on the Bank On National Data (BOND) Hub, an interactive dataset tracking Bank On certified account activity across the country and partnerships that promote economic inclusion.

Our celebration of Bank On Consumer Success included a report from Constance Alberts, Program Director, on the accomplishments of the coalition. We unveiled our new Bank On Greater Milwaukee (BOGM) Impact Report, featuring data from coalition members and partners on our impact in 2022 and shared a preview of the forthcoming update of the BOGM website.

Lastly, we recognized our volunteers and key projects that have been in progress over the past year, which include:

  • Banking Flier for Teens
  • BOGM Advocacy Map 2.0
  • How to Open a Bank Account Video
  • “What’s In Your Wallet” educational flier
  • Banking Access: Prior To Release

All of these efforts emphasize strong, collaborative partnerships with financial institutions, community-based organizations, and local government. We thank our coalition members and volunteers for their support!

View the presentation slides and the BOGM 2022 Impact Report.

Keep an eye out for the updated BOGM website to go live by the end of this year!

Collage of photos from Bank On Greater Milwaukee's 4th anniversary event, held on September 19, 2023

As National Small Business Week approaches, it’s important to highlight the significant role that small businesses play in Wisconsin’s economy. Small businesses create jobs, contribute to the tax base, and drive innovation and economic growth in our communities.

There are more than 445,000 small businesses in Wisconsin, which employ 1.2 million people.

Small businesses account for 99.4% of all businesses in the state.

Here are 5 ways to celebrate our small businesses this week and throughout the year:

  1. Shop local: Make an effort to support small businesses in your community by shopping locally. Buy from local stores, eat at local restaurants, and use local services whenever possible.
  2. Share on social media: Use social media to highlight small businesses in your area. Share photos and positive reviews of your favorite small businesses to help promote them to your followers.
  3. Write a review: Leave a positive review for a small business on Yelp, Google, or another review site. Positive reviews can help small businesses attract more customers.
  4. Say thank you: Take the time to say thank you to the small businesses in your community. Let them know that you appreciate their hard work and the contributions they make to your community.
  5. Buy gift cards: Purchase gift cards from local small businesses to give as gifts or use for yourself later on.

The U.S. Small Business Administration, state and local small business resource providers all host events and highlight resources to help our small business community. For example:

  • The SBA is hosting a virtual summit May 2-3, which will include educational presentations by experts, an exhibit hall, networking, and a mentoring lounge. The event is free to attend for both established and aspiring business owners. View details & register here>>
  • Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. (WEDC) is hosting the Small Business Academy in partnership with the Lt. Governor. It takes place May 2-5, with virtual sessions Tuesday-Thursday and in-person events throughout the state on Friday May 5. Topics include funding, scaling strategies, workforce retention, cash flow, storytelling and more. View details & register here>>
  • UEDA Member SBA Wisconsin’s website lists local resources and upcoming learning opportunities throughout the year: www.sba.gov/district/wisconsin

Thank you to our small business members:

Bright Horizons Real Estate
Center of Care LLC
Center for Public Skills Training
Columbia Savings & Loan Association
Community Charge PGH
Community Development Management Partnerships
Community Insurance Information Center
Contexture
Diverse Dining
GoodFlow Enterprises
Goyke & Associates
HomeWorks Bronzeville
Jobs That Help
Lloyd Consulting, Inc.
Midwest Executive Realty
P3 Development Group

 

And thank you to these UEDA members who provide resources & services to our small business community!

AARP Wisconsin
Burleigh Street CDC
City of Milwaukee DCD
Gateway to Milwaukee
Greater Milwaukee Committee
Groundwork Milwaukee
Guest House of Milwaukee
Harbor District
Historic King Drive BID
Hmong Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce
Latino Chamber of Commerce of SE WI
LISC Milwaukee
Menomonee Valley Partners
Milwaukee Development Corp.
Milwaukee Economic Development Corp. (MEDC)
Milwaukee Public Library
PRISM Economic Development Corp.
Riverworks Development Corp.
SBA Wisconsin
The Business Council
VIA CDC
WHEDA
WI Dept. of Agriculture, Trade & Consumer Protection
WI LGBT Chamber of Commerce
WI Veterans Chamber of Commerce
WWBIC
YWCA Southeast Wisconsin

 

Carnival Milwaukee 2023 photo collage

This 15th annual Carnival Milwaukee fundraiser was truly special! On Friday, March 3rd, 270+ guests and friends joined us at the Historic Pritzlaff as we gathered in-person for the first time since 2020.

We celebrated Milwaukee’s diversity through food, music, culture, and fellowship. De La Buena, Salsabrositas, and Samba Da Vida brought the music, dance and vibrant beats, 20 local restaurants and caterers wowed our guests with a diverse menu for our food tasting, and guests enjoyed an interactive photo booth and top-notch raffle. And, this year we invested $6,000+ in local, diverse-owned businesses through this event!

View the 2023 Carnival Milwaukee photo album Read the full recap email here


A Tribute to Bill JohnsonBill Johnson at Carnival Milwaukee 2015

At this year’s event we celebrated the life of Bill Johnson, our Executive Director from 2006-2015, who created this seminal event. He dreamed of creating a space for people from different walks of life to come together and enjoy all the beauty and diversity our community has to offer – in short, a party with a purpose.

We honored him with a a Second Line tribute and other special touches like a “Bill’s Favorites” basket in our raffle, including the creation of a special tribute video featuring live footage and reflections on Bill’s impact. His vision continues to inspire us all!

Special thanks to Vogue Dreams Pro for partnering with us on this video project!

YouTube player

Thank you to our local, live entertainment partners!

Logos for De La Buena, Salsabrositas, Samba Da Vida

www.delabuena.com

Facebook.com/wisconsinsalsa

Facebook.com/SambadaVidaMKE

Thank you to our 2023 Carnival Milwaukee Food Tasting participants!

Aladdin’s Taste of the East Antigua Latin Restaurant Blue Star Cafe
C. Adams Bakery Casablanca China Gourmet
Funky Fresh Spring Rolls Gray Jett Cafe Immy’s African Cuisine
Kilwin’s – Milwaukee Bayshore Lisa Kaye Catering LLC Lola’s Empanadas
Orenda Cafe Pound 4 Pound Cakes Speed Queen BBQ
Sweet Joy Brazilian Cafe Thai Barbq The Ladle Lady
Tres Hermanos Turning Tables Tavern & Eatery

 

Check out this flier of all Carnival Milwaukee Food Tasting Participants
Keep it handy and explore all they have to offer throughout the year!

Carnival Milwaukee is a fundraiser for the Urban Economic Development Association of Wisconsin (UEDA) and celebrates Milwaukee’s diversity through food, music, and dance while supporting the local businesses, individuals and organizations that contribute to the economic and cultural vitality of our city.

Not able to join us this year? Consider making a contribution to support UEDA!

Your support will not only provide direct investment into local businesses, but will also help fund UEDA’s work in sustainable homeownership and affordable housing, financial empowerment, small business growth, workforce mobility, and community investment.

Donate Now button

Congratulations to our 2023 Awardee!

Bill Johnson Bridge Builder Award image, Riverworks Development Corporation logo

Every year we present a Bridge Builder Award to recognize a community member or partner for their efforts to honor diversity and connect people and places through the expression of culture in food, art, music, and space.

On Tuesday, February 21st during our virtual Fat Tuesday event we recognized Riverworks Development Corporation for their commitment to connecting neighborhoods and residents through creative place-making, economic activity with small, diverse businesses, and cultural community events in Harambee and Riverwest.

Their key projects and activities include the development and management of the Beerline Trail, 53212 Marketplace, creative corridor activity, and an array of community events utilizing these newly created spaces. Learn more about them at www.riverworksmke.org.

We also announced that this award will now be known as the Bill Johnson Bridge Builder Award, in honor of UEDA’s former Executive Director, who created the Carnival Milwaukee event in 2009. Bill was one of the most well-known “bridge builders” in our community and we could think of no better way to celebrate his life.

THANK YOU TO OUR 2023 SPONSORS!

2023 Carnival Milwaukee Sponsors list

On Thursday, November 3, 2022 UEDA celebrated 25 years of supporting individuals and groups in the community and economic development sector at our Annual Community Gathering with nearly 60 of our closest friends, members and partners.

4 picture collage of photos from UEDA 25th anniversary

We enjoyed food and beverages from Turning Tables MKE and attendees received a special gift acknowledging the ways we seek to connect and support our members.

UEDA’s Executive Director, Kristi Luzar, shared recent updates with the network and reminisced about UEDA through the years via these UEDA Highlights, a snapshot of the projects and programs we’ve been involved in over the years.

Lastly, we recognized the following individuals for their commitment to UEDA and their community, who exemplify our values of collaboration, capacity and connection.

Outstanding Community Partner
Brian Peters, Independence First

Extraordinary Volunteer
Maria Prioletta, City of Milwaukee Department of City Development

Check out a full recap / slideshow here.

Thank you to those who joined us! It was a classic UEDA event of connection and fellowship.

2022 Annual Community Gathering Sponsors image

On September 29th we celebrated and shared the accomplishments of Bank On Greater Milwaukee with nearly 50 attendees. A big THANK YOU to our funders and supporters! We also recognized our 2022 Bank On Champions for their efforts to support safe and accessible banking. Over the past 3 years, we’ve achieved the following:

  • Promoted 14 Bank On Certified Accounts. In 2019 there were 6 – our efforts have more than doubled the number of certified accounts in our market!
  • Completed an update of our annual “Your Smart Money” resource guide, including new content and a redesign. It features information on specific financial topics and in 2022 we’ve distributed nearly 6,000 guides in English & Spanish. It is also posted on the BOGM website Resources page.
  • Helped implement 6+ banking access program integrations and have produced & widely shared 23+ items of educational content, including guides, blogs posts, and videos.
  • Increased our coalition from 26 to 52 members, which includes 27 community-based organizations, 17 financial institutions, 3 government partners, and 5 network partners. Members have contributed 900+ volunteers hours to BOGM!
  • Educated and informed over 550 individuals on banking access issues through 10+ coalition meetings and roundtables.
  • Launched the Bank On Greater Milwaukee Advocacy Map, a tool to help us identify areas of need compared to banking access points (branches, other financial services) – read more about it here.
  • Assisted coalition members and community partners to secure other CFE Fund resources to launch new services that strengthen financial stability for people and families such as the City of Milwaukee Financial Navigator program and REAL Banking initiative.

Check out slides from the event which includes more accomplishments over the past three years and watch a congratulatory message from Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson HERE.

 

2022 Bank On Greater Milwaukee Champions photo collage

Pictured above, left to right:

Conor Williams (Community Connector), Migdalia Ervin (Innovation), Adam Procell (Community Connector), Wisconsin Bankers Association, Heather MacKinnon (Community Partner), Wisconsin Bankers Association, Rose Oswald Poels (Community Partner), Pastor Raymond Monk (Community Connector), Jaime De Jesus, Sr. (Community Connector), Dan Krohn (Leadership & Activity)

Read more about our Champions HERE.

 

Bank On Greater Milwaukee program funders image

 

UEDA Emerging Topics Series

 

Our Fall 2022 sessions featured credit access programs and economic development tools such as business and neighborhood improvement districts.

Session 2: BIDs and NIDs – Overview & Outlook
Held on October 20th, this session featured a primer on an established tool for community and economic development: BIDs and NIDs (business and neighborhood improvement districts). They continue to evolve to meet the needs of local neighborhoods, support commercial corridors, and shape the fabric of Milwaukee.

Just over 40 people attended and learned about the Harambee NID, which has been operating since 2016 and has a homeowner repair program, the Crisol Corridor BID and their Cluster Grant Program, and gained a bit of knowledge about special purpose BIDs. This event was held in partnership with the City of Milwaukee Department of City Development Commercial Corridors team. View slides here>>

PRESENTERS: 

  • Ken Little, City of Milwaukee Neighborhood Business Development Manager
  • Matt Rejc, City of Milwaukee Commercial Corridor Manager
  • Sally Svetic, City of Milwaukee Economic Development Specialist
  • Cordella Jones, Harambee NID #7 Board Chair
  • Leif Otteson, Cristol Corridor BID #50 Executive Director
  • Dan Adams, Kinnickinnic River BID #35 Board Member

Session 1: Special Purpose Credit Programs (SPCPs)
Nearly 40 people joined us on September 13th to learn about SPCPs, an established tool that promises to bridge homeownership and wealth gaps across America. Earlier this year, an interagency statement on the SPCP provision clarified how lenders can structure and offer an SPCP and HUD issued guidance addressing compliance with Equal Credit Opportunity Act, Regulation B, and the Fair Housing Act. Together these changes have led to increased interest and investment in SPCPs. Our session featured expertise and discussion from:

  • Brad Blower, General Counsel, National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC)
  • Geoff Cooper, Vice President – Product Development, Mortgage Guaranty Insurance Corporation (MGIC)
  • Gabe del Rio, President & CEO, Homeownership Council of America (HCA)
  • Letticia Flores Poole, Vice President & Co-Head, BMO for Black and Latinx Businesses, BMO Harris Bank
  • Moderator: Carol Maria, Community Affairs Specialist, FDIC

Attendees heard an overview of what SPCPs are, how they are being used, and about the impact of new federal guidelines. Additionally, our speakers talked about the importance for lenders to develop SPCP plans and the newly released online toolkit for mortgage lenders from the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) and Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA). We are excited to work with the UEDA network as we see SPCPs emerge. View the recording and slides here.

Interested in learning more about SPCPs? Check out these links!

 

UEDA 2022 Emerging Topics Series Sponsors logos