Potawatomi's 'Heart of Canal Street' returns with more than $500K in donations for 6 local charities

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Potawatomi Hotel & Casino is helping the community with the return of its "Heart of Canal Street" program. 

Five local organizations were selected for outstanding service to children and families in southeastern Wisconsin during the pandemic. More than $500,000 was distributed and that was in addition to a donation to the United for Waukesha Community Fund, to help those impacted by the Waukesha parade tragedy.

"Really it's not the tragedy that defines us, it's how we respond to that, and how the community responds to that" said Shelli Marquardt, Waukesha County Community Foundation. "It's the generosity, the kindness, the love, and I just want to let you know that we feel the love from you guys and we feel the love from those that care about Waukesha. Thank you." 

Heart of Canal Street is Potawatomi Hotel & Casino's signature community program that raises funds for children's charities in southeast Wisconsin. The program has raised more than $19 million for hundreds of area organizations since 1994. 

These are the five organizations receiving $100,000 donations:

Digital Bridge: Digital Bridge promotes digital inclusion by providing affordable technology and digital literacy to vulnerable and underfunded populations. During the pandemic, Digital Bridge partnered with Milwaukee Public Schools and the United Way to help meet demand for technology and will use Heart of Canal Street funds to provide more families with hardware and access to affordable broadband Internet.

Gerald L. Ignace Indian Health Center: The Gerald L. Ignace Indian Health Center provides health, peace, and well-being services to urban Indians in the greater Milwaukee area. Heart of Canal Street funds will be used for the Health Center’s “Youth Empowerment Program,” which uses a variety of services to engage Native American youth including summer day camp and mental health programming.

Hunger Task Force: Hunger Task Force is a local organization striving to meet the needs of hungry people throughout southeast Wisconsin free of charge. Heart of Canal Street funds will be used to provide fresh and healthy food to through its food box delivery program. Food is delivered to quarantined children and to those from families of domestic violence.

Journey House: Journey House provides adult and childhood educational opportunities along with youth development and family engagement to the near south side of Milwaukee. Heart of Canal Street funds will be used for youth development programs which provide services to 2,000 economically challenged, predominantly Latino youth, through educational, social, physical, mental health and creative development.

Running Rebels: Running Rebels offers mentoring, educational support, community organizing assistance, and violence prevention to primarily black youth between the ages of 12-25. Heart of Canal Street funds will be used for the “Community Mentoring Program,” which provides intensive mentoring with youth at risk of becoming involved with the juvenile justice system.

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