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Past Projects

KPOW - Keep Public Our Water

KPOW formed as a large coalition of diverse Milwaukee-area organizations opposed to the privatization of our drinking water. The group includes environmental groups, neighborhood associations, faith-based organizations, civic activists, unions, youth and other concerned citizens. Read more...


Good Jobs and Livable Neighborhoods

IWF’s advocacy on behalf of low-income families with other groups in the state led to the formation of the Good Jobs and Livable Neighborhoods Coalition in 2002. The Good Jobs & Livable Neighborhoods Coalition (GJLN) was designed to improve economic conditions in the city of Milwaukee. Its goal was to leverage city and county financial support for development projects so that the projects would benefit the entire community by providing family-supporting jobs, skill training opportunities, environmentally-friendly development practices, and resources for affordable housing. In addition, GJLN also wanted to make sure locally-owned businesses a real opportunity to compete for development funds. Read more...


Welfare Reform and the Road to Self-Sufficiency

In 1996, Former Governor Tommy Thompson signed into law comprehensive welfare reform legislation that brought sweeping changes to Wisconsin’s welfare landscape. Wisconsin was following the rules of AFDC (Aid for Families with Dependent Children) but W-2 (Wisconsin Works) changed the rules by requiring those on welfare to meet specific, work-based criteria to receive assistance and instituted strict punitive measures if they did not.

IWF’s research and work around W-2 began during the legislative drafting and continued well into its implementation. Before the law was signed, IWF projected a negative impact if it were implemented as planned. Once the law was operative, IWF monitored W-2 practices and found there was a significant gap between the intent of the law and its practice. Read more...


Youth ROC

In 2004, IWF launched a two-year project called Youth Reclaiming Our Communities —Youth ROC. The project was designed to engage students in the fight for school funding adequacy and give young people a voice in the fight for funding reform.

Youth ROC worked with high schools to organize students and teach them how to become advocates for their own education. The co-directors of Youth ROC traveled statewide to meet with students and hold events to promote the fight for funding adequacy. Read more...


Health Care and Health Insurance Reform

Health insurance costs continue to rise at alarming rates nationwide. Families and businesses are feeling the financial squeeze as double-digit increases are forcing workers to choose between quality health care and basic needs. Lawmakers have been slow to act as the insurance companies continue to raise premiums for working families and employers who want to provide quality benefits.

In 2005, IWF held a series of statewide focus groups on health care reform and published a report based on what citizens statewide wanted to see in a new health care plan. Read more...


Raising the Minimum Wage

In 2005, IWF started its work to raise the minimum wage in Wisconsin. Working families were suffering because the minimum wage was only $5.15 per hour, unchanged since 1997. While Governor Jim Doyle advocated raising the minimum wage to $6.50 per hour, he was stalemated repeatedly by the State Legislature. Read more...