The MKE Plays initiative has received a generous gift of $500,000, the largest single contribution MKE Plays has ever been presented, from The Burke Foundation to support neighborhood playground reconstruction projects throughout Milwaukee, Alderman Michael J. Murphy said today.

This is the second large donation to MKE Plays by The Burke Foundation, as it donated $200,000 to the initiative in 2016 – money that was used to rebuild the Marcus DeBack Playfield at N. 55th and W. Wright Streets.

The Burke Foundation was created by Richard Burke, co-founder of Trek Bicycle, and focuses on improving urban education and youth leadership development.  The funds will go toward rehabilitating two playgrounds in the 7th District (Alderman Khalif J. Rainey), located at N. 29th St. & W. Melvina St. and N. 30th St. & W. Cawker Pl.

“We are humbled by the immense generosity of the Burke family and The Burke Foundation. The new and improved playgrounds will be a valuable community and neighborhood asset for all to enjoy,” said Alderman Murphy, who conceived the MKE Plays initiative in 2015 as a way to re-prioritize parks into models for local collaboration and renovation with additional help from private sector partners.

Of The Burke Foundation donation and MKE Plays, Mayor Tom Barrett said: “Thanks to the leadership of Alderman Murphy and the work of MKE Plays, deteriorated parks across the city are not only being upgraded, they are being transformed into beautiful, creative spaces. Parks bring people together. Through each playground transformation, the City is not only creating a safe, fun space for children to play, it is creating a source of pride for an entire neighborhood. I am pleased with the success of this initiative and the investment we are making in our community.”

Burke Foundation Executive Director Tina Quealy said: “The Burke Foundation is excited about our continued partnership with MKE Plays. We are especially inspired by the initiative’s community-focused approach where they truly listen to understand the recreational needs of area residents. The revitalization of these parks not only benefits the children and families surrounding the park, but the entire community.”

Alderman Rainey said he is also grateful for the generous gift, which will benefit families and children in his district and other neighboring communities.

“On behalf of the families of my district, I offer my sincere thanks to The Burke Foundation,” Alderman Rainey said. “The rehabilitated playgrounds will be a source of pride, fun and relaxation for many years to come.”

After the completion of the two playgrounds in the 7th District, MKE Plays will have transformed 17 of the city’s most deteriorated playgrounds. The Burke Foundation’s gift will also push MKE Plays’ total lifetime private fundraising total to $2.3 million, according to Alderman Murphy.

More information about MKE Plays can be found at

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