Angeline Terry

Six Sherman Phoenix Businesses Begin Year Rent-Free

Green Bay Packers, American Family Insurance donate $40,000 for rent relief.

By - Jan 6th, 2022 04:45 pm
The Sherman Phoenix

The Sherman Phoenix

Green Bay Packers linebacker Oren Burks and American Family Insurance rang in the new year by surprising six Sherman Phoenix business owners with six months of rent relief.

This $40,000 donation will benefit CTRL C, Funky Fresh Spring Rolls, Hello Beautiful, Salon Lavish, Rise and Grind Café and Underground Makers Market. These businesses were chosen by Sherman Phoenix to receive additional support. Burks shared the surprise with the owners of these businesses over Zoom.

“We’re proud to join with American Family Insurance to support these entrepreneurs. We hope this rent assistance can help them prioritize other needs to keep their businesses growing and thriving in the months ahead,” Burks said in a press release.

Trueman McGee, owner of Funky Fresh Spring Rolls, told Urban Milwaukee in an interview that he is already planning ways to use the extra money.

“One thing I want to do is take care of my staff, because they’ve been working so hard,” McGee said.

Sherman Phoenix, located at 3536 W. Fond Du Lac Ave., is a hub for small businesses and community spaces, the majority of which are owned by people of color. It was created following the 2016 unrest in the Sherman Park neighborhood.

“Community conversations identified a need for safe, welcoming neighborhood spaces, and certain leaders in the community decided to take matters into their own hands in order to foster change,” Sherman Phoenix said on its website.

Sherman Phoenix is now home to 27 small businesses and 75 jobs.

“The Sherman Phoenix has been like a literal organ to the community,” McGee said, “like a living, breathing thing that breathes life into this community.”

Burks is a member of the board of directors for the Sherman Phoenix Foundation, and has contributed to the Sherman Phoenix through the Packers’ social justice initiative.

The packers have supported Sherman Phoenix since 2018, including several player-directed Social Justice Grants as part of the team’s efforts to support racial equality in Wisconsin.

The Packers matched American Family Insurance’s $20,000 donation to total $40,000. The donation is part of American Family’s “Free to Dream” initiative, in which the company pledged to donate $105 million over the next five years to improve communities and close racial equity gaps.

Categories: Business, Weekly

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