Packers player Oren Burks, American Family Insurance, surprises tenants of Sherman Phoenix with $ 40,000 rental subsidy

Green Bay Packers player Oren Burks today surprised six Milwaukee companies with a six month rent reduction on their Sherman Phoenix leases thanks to a $ 40,000 donation from the Packers and American Family Insurance.

The Sherman Phoenix is ​​a thriving business center in Milwaukee’s Sherman Park neighborhood, home to 27 small, mostly black-owned businesses, offering a variety of dining, spa and cultural activities.

Breaking the news on Zoom, Burks surprised six business owners from CTRL C, Funky Fresh Spring Rolls, Hello Beautiful, Lavish Salon, Rise and Grind Coffee Shop, and Underground Makers Market. The beneficiary companies were selected by Sherman Phoenix to receive the additional support.

“With so many small businesses facing ongoing challenges from the pandemic, we are proud to partner with American Family Insurance to support these entrepreneurs,” said Burks. “We hope this rental support can help them prioritize other needs so their business can grow and thrive in the months ahead.”

Burks, who has helped donate to Sherman Phoenix through the Packers Social Justice Initiative over the past few years, is also a board member of the Sherman Phoenix Foundation, the nonprofit arm of the business and cultural center.

American Family Insurance donated $ 20,000 and the Packers doubled the donation, bringing the total to $ 40,000. American Family Insurance recently committed $ 100,000 per year to Sherman Phoenix for three years and helped set up the Sherman Phoenix Foundation.

“We are committed to protecting the dreams of the people who live and work in our communities, and this is just another way to positively influence minority-owned businesses that can take advantage of the support this time of year,” said Seth Freeman, American Family Insurance Brand and Marketing Experienced Associate Vice President. “Our valued partnership with Green Bay Packers goes well beyond the field and enables us to deliver on our promise to fill equity gaps.”

This Sherman Phoenix joint venture is part of American Family’s Free to Dream Initiative announced in 2021. American Family has pledged $ 105 million over the next five years to continue its already profound commitment to closing racial equality gaps and influencing the social impact and positive change in communities across the country.

The Packers have been supporting Sherman Phoenix and its companies since 2018, making multiple grants to support black entrepreneurs and their growing businesses, as part of the team’s ongoing pledge to support social justice and racial equality in Wisconsin communities.

Sherman Phoenix works to foster change and ensure that the east gateway to the Sherman Park neighborhood in Milwaukee is a safe, welcoming place, home to a variety of small colored businesses offering a variety of foods, wellness services, and cultural activities. The socially fair and culturally rich real estate project offers mentoring and coaching to help entrepreneurs of color grow their businesses, create jobs and support the local economy. For more information, visit

Note to the media: Media representatives are welcome to use videos of the Zoom Surprise here:

Representatives of the beneficiary companies are available for interviews about the receipt of these donations. Media members can contact: Trueman McGee with Funky Fresh Spring Rolls, (414) 841-8915, [email protected]; Jamila Riley with the Urban Under Ground Makers Market, (414) 213-5638, [email protected]*; * and Latrece Nelson with Lavish Salon, (414) 745-7707, [email protected]*. *

Leana Nakielski, Diversity and Inclusion Director at American Family Insurance, is also available to discuss donations at [email protected]*. *

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