"Heart of Canal Street" program to benefit 31 children's charities in 2016

MILWAUKEE -- Potawatomi Hotel & Casino announced on Wednesday, September 7th the City of Milwaukee’s MKE Plays initiative as its 2016 Heart of Canal Street Charity of Choice.

The MKE Plays initiative will receive the first $100,000 raised during this year’s Heart of Canal Street campaign. The program was selected because of its focus on an emerging need in the community – helping develop safe spaces for children and their families in Milwaukee’s most compromised neighborhoods.

Alderman Michael Murphy said in a statement the funds will be used to renovate the playground at Witkowiak Park, located near 4th and Mitchell.

“The generosity of the Potawatomi is truly humbling, and it will have a tremendously positive impact on the children and families in the neighborhood who like to use the playground,” Alderman Murphy said in a statement. “I speak for the city of Milwaukee in extending my heartfelt thanks to the Potawatomi and the Heart of Canal Street for this very generous gift to the community.”

MKE Plays is a city-led initiative aimed at renovating 12 of Milwaukee’s most dilapidated playgrounds in an effort to encourage children to play and exercise and to combat childhood obesity.

MKE Plays was selected by Heart of Canal Street based on its focus on developing safe spaces for children and families in some of the city’s most compromised neighborhoods.

According to the statement from the city of Milwaukee, Witkowiak Park was last renovated in 1998. It will be completed in 2017 as one of 14 parks to be improved as part of the MKE Plays program.

Heart of Canal Street is Potawatomi Hotel & Casino’s signature community program benefitting children’s charities throughout southeastern Wisconsin. The majority of funds are raised through the Canal Street bingo game, played during each bingo session at the casino through Dec. 15. Half of the cost of the $3 or $7 game goes to the Heart of Canal Street fund and half goes to the winner of that game. Thirty-one children’s charities will benefit from the program in 2016.

Since its inception in 1994, the Heart of Canal Street program has made over 550 donations totaling nearly $16 million. In 2015, 31 children’s charities in southeastern Wisconsin shared in funds totaling more than $1 million.