African American Chamber of Commerce of Wisconsin
Press Release

The African American Chamber of Commerce of Wisconsin Raises $1 Million for the Legacy Campaign

A Donation from American Family Completes the Campaign

MILWAUKEE (October 26, 2020) – The African American Chamber of Commerce of Wisconsin has reached its $1 million fundraising goal to establish the Legacy Co-Working and Innovation Space at 1920 N. Martin Luther King, Jr., Drive. Campaign donations will also support increased operational expenses in the coming year and establish an endowment. The American Family Insurance Dreams Foundation stepped forward to provide the final gift that helped the campaign achieve its $1 million goal.

“American Family is committed to being a strong partner in our communities, and as we confront difficult and complex issues like the pandemic, equity and wealth gaps, and racial injustice, it’s more important than ever,” said Jim Buchheim, American Family community and social impact officer. “We’re proud to support the efforts of the African American Chamber of Commerce in creating this inclusive and accessible space, located on the historic Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in Milwaukee, for entrepreneurs and business leaders.”

Ossie Kendrix, Chamber President, expressed gratitude for American Family and all the donors who gave generously to the campaign, saying, “In this time when African Americans have struggled to maintain health, security and means, campaign donors have stepped up to ensure that local entrepreneurs have a space to nurture their business dreams. Donors’ gifts to the Chamber ensure that we can invest in the entrepreneurs who will lead our community to prosperity.”

The Chamber launched the campaign in earnest in Fall 2019. The pandemic halted buildout of the Legacy space earlier this spring, however, construction has resumed. The Legacy Co-Working and Innovation Space will provide workspace and programmatic resources for Chamber members and entrepreneurs, that includes: Co-Working space, Leasable Private Offices for Entrepreneurs, SHARED Commercial Kitchen, and Coffee Shop/Retail Space. Chamber offices will move into the space in December, and the shared spaces will be completed in early 2021, in anticipation that a vaccine or other public health protocols will make it safer for people to gather.

Support for the campaign came from the following donors: Chris Abele; WEDC Funding via Milwaukee County; Greater Milwaukee Foundation; MillerCoors; American Family Insurance Dreams Foundation; Brewers Community Foundation; Fiserv; Johnson Controls Foundation; Wells Fargo; Herb Kohl Philanthropies; Town Bank & Catholic Financial Life; Evinrude Foundation; AACCW Board Giving; Deborah Allen/DNA Network; WE Energies Foundation; Enterprise Holdings Foundation; and the 100 for $100 Bronzeville Campaign.

Deborah Allen, DNA Network and Chamber Board Chair, Susan Lloyd, Lloyd Consulting and Greg Wesley, Medical College of Wisconsin, chaired the campaign, with significant support from Cecelia Gore, Executive Director of the Milwaukee Brewers Community Foundation and the Chamber’s immediate Past Chair Wanda Montgomery.

About: the African American Chamber of Commerce of Wisconsin champions the growth and sustainability of African American owned businesses by providing access to capital, education and advocacy through capacity building and strategic partnerships. 

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