The MKE Civic Response Team Update provides news and information about our community’s strategic response to COVID-19 and coordinated efforts to change systems in greater Milwaukee for the better.
Civic Response Snapshots
The MKE Civic Response Team contributes to progress and informs strategy on relief and recovery efforts across a range of intersecting community priorities. Recent activities include:
Food delivery pilot: Helped launch a pilot program to increase access to food for neighborhood residents by connecting community-based organizations, delivery services and the local restaurant industry in a mutually beneficial solution. The initial collaboration involving Metcalfe Park Community Bridges, The Tandem, Gener8tor and Uber delivered 2,500 meals in the first several weeks to residents in Metcalfe Park, with a focus on those who are homebound due to age or health condition.
Child meal advocacy: Successfully advocated for an extension of three United States Department of Agriculture waivers that offer local child nutrition program operators the flexibility needed to feed children in ways that accommodate family safety through social distancing. Through Aug. 31, Milwaukee-area child meal providers, including Milwaukee Public Schools, can continue to serve meals to kids outside of the normally-required group setting; allow parents/guardians to pick up meals and bring them home to their children; and provide meals outside standard serving times, enabling grab-n-go options and multiple days-worth of meals to be provided at once.
Coronavirus guidance for business: Partnered to develop a Health and Safety Toolkit for businesses that are maintaining or seeking to resume operations. Informed by the joint expertise of the Medical College of Wisconsin and the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce, the digitally delivered resource provides guidelines that minimize the introduction, exposure or spread of COVID-19 in the workplace; communication tools to engage employees, customers and vendors; and links to local health department resources.
Early childhood education funding: Helped shape policy at the state level for how dollars from the federal CARES Act are flowing to support early childhood education providers in Wisconsin. Team members informed criteria and parameters for the Department of Children and Families’ Child Care Counts COVID-19 Emergency Payment Program – based on the fundamentals of the early childhood education stabilization program the Team launched for Milwaukee (see story below) – and conducted targeted outreach to legislators to build support. Three funding programs have been established: 1) funding to support an open provider’s costs of providing care for essential workforce families, such as mortgage/rent, family reimbursement, materials and payroll; 2) funding to provide incentive pay for staff at open providers that prioritized services for essential workers; 3) funding to support staff retention and reopening of providers that temporarily closed due to COVID-19.
Attention to economic recovery: Established a seventh civic response team - the Economic Recovery Team – with shared leadership provided by Dr. Jeanette Mitchell of the African American Leadership Alliance-Milwaukee, Nancy Hernandez of the Hispanic Collaborative, and Kristi Luzar of the Urban Economic Development Association of Wisconsin. The team is in the process of building its membership and defining its charter. An eighth team focused on public policy and advocacy is also under exploration.