As part of the Public Policy Institute’s focus on preventing and ending poverty, we employ a number of strategies related to public health prevention efforts. Prevention services focus on stopping a negative situation from ever taking place, and therefore such approaches are often highly cost-effective. While some prevention interventions provide direct contact, such as offering youth a curriculum on why they should refuse drugs and alcohol, other prevention interventions use universal or environmental strategies that target entire communities, such as public awareness campaigns using posters and billboards.

The Public Policy Institute’s first role in prevention services was in administering the Milwaukee implementation of the state of Wisconsin’s Brighter Futures Initiative. We have since expanded to include youth substance use prevention, violence prevention, and a special focus on promoting youth self-sufficiency and employment.

How we support grantees

Local organizations can do more to prevent and reduce the harm of poverty with evidence-based programming and the right support. The Public Policy Institute receives funding to coordinate processes of strategically distributing grant awards to local programs related to the funding source’s goal. The process usually involves writing and disseminating a Request for Proposals, recruiting an independent review panel to score the applicants’ proposals, and coordinating the award and evaluation processes. 

When we grant funds to community-based agencies to impact specific needs, the award is accompanied by training and technical assistance to boost the agencies’ effectiveness and organizational capacity. In addition, comprehensive program evaluation includes a shared database for monitoring, as well as regular site visits. Our programs that employ re-granting include the MKE Brighter Futures Initiative and the Milwaukee County Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition's Stay Strong MKE Initiative.


The Public Policy Institute's prevention services include the following:

MCSAP funds and supports 10 community-based programs who propose projects aligning with coalition efforts to prevent the harmful consequences of substance use and abuse.

The City of Milwaukee Tobacco-Free Alliance is a multi-jurisdictional coalition using education and community mobilization to eliminate health disparities and support tobacco prevention.

Youth Works MKE links teens at risk of criminal involvement with subsidized jobs and supportive services including mentoring to increase employment skills and positive engagement while preventing participation in criminal and delinquent activities.

Our SE region AWY enhances the capacity of member coalitions to prevent youth substance abuse, collaborate, and implement evidence-based strategies.

The Milwaukee Brighter Futures Initiative funds and supports 13 community-based programs to prevent and reduce child abuse and neglect, youth violence and delinquent behavior, youth alcohol and other drug use and abuse, and teen pregnancy.