Bucyrus Foundation Grants

Façade Improvement Grant

This grant program is for enhancing the attractiveness of South Milwaukee's business districts and to promote commercial vitality and increase economic activity in all commercial districts.  There are two funding tiers based on location, providing up to a $15,000 grant and requiring up to a 50% match.  

Applications will be accepted after preliminary project eligibility is approved by the city's economic development staff.

Facade Improvement Grant Program Guide
Commercial Facade Design Guidelines
Façade Grant Application
Design Concept Grant Application
Zoning Map
Downtown District Map

Bucyrus Foundation ED Community Grants

New Business Grant

This grant provides one-time assistance in the amount of $5,000 for new and existing businesses opening a new location or expanding operations in a vacant commercial space on Milwaukee Avenue between the 800 and 1300 blocks.  Grants may be awarded prior to receiving a Certificate of Occupancy.


In order to be eligible, an applicant must have submitted an occupancy permit through the City of South Milwaukee and must either provide proof of an active lease for their commercial space or documentation showing they are the owner of the commercial space. 

  • The lease must be for at least one year, with no early termination language.
  • The business must be open to the public at least 25 hours per week.
  • The storefront space must be at least 500 square feet. 
  • The space must also have been vacant for a period of at least 60 days.
  • A business must open within 2 months of receiving the grants.
  • Requires a signed agreement.

New Business Program Guide Program Guide
New Business Grant Application
Building Owner Acknowledgement Form

Storefront Activation Grant

There are many buildings in the downtown district that are non-compliant with modern building codes and that the cost of these improvements often falls to new entrepreneurs looking to establish small businesses. 

Through this program, the city will provide matching grants to encourage interior improvements resulting in a finished or close-to finished space.

 The program offers reimbursable grants:

  • Grants up to $20,000. Minimum grant $3,000
  • Grants may not exceed 50% of the total project costs. 


  • Commercial spaces must be located in the Downtown District (per Comprehensive Plan) 
  • Commercial spaces must be a first-floor and be vacant at the time of application
  • Buildings must be greater than 50 years old
  • Work must be completed after grant approval to be eligible for grant reimbursement
  • Commercial spaces shall be in such condition that the space is not readily leasable
  • Completed projects must result in a close-to finished space supporting a relatively quick move-in time for a business
  • Street-facing building exteriors that are in poor condition or have unresolved exterior code violations may require façade improvements
  • Planned or future business lease agreements shall require a business open to the public at least 25 hours per week 

Storefront Activation Grant Program

Application Storefront Activation Grant

Civic Grant

This annual program allows for nonprofit organizations to apply for up to $25,000 to address a community need, improve community support, solve a problem, or enrich the people of South Milwaukee.

Submit a Letter of Interest to the city's economic development staff to receive preliminary approval.  The letter should be a brief, typed, one page summary that outlines the project, who will benefit, and a budget estimate.  Applications will not be accepted prior to preapproval. 

Letters of Interest are due March 1, 2024, emailed to elang@smwi.org

Applications are due April 31, 2024

Letter of Interest Information

Civic Grant Program Guide

2023 Awarded Grants

  1. Ericka Lang

    Economic Development Manager
    Phone: 414-762-2222 x135