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Together We Build Wealth: An Update on the Legacy of Sylvia O’Neill

Updated: Jul 19, 2023


Sylvia O’Neill lived at Capitol Lakes for a decade before she passed away in 2020. She was an active member of our community, working tirelessly to make life better for her neighbors and friends. But she also cared deeply about the community outside our city block. According to her obituary, “When asked how she would like to be remembered she replied ‘As someone who helped make a difference in addressing inequities – but I was never alone in this effort, I always worked with others.’


Sylvia’s work to address inequality lives on through a fund created by her daughter, Jan O’Neill. The Together We Build Wealth (TWB) fund seeks to address the wealth gap between White and Black families and improve economic prosperity in greater Madison through investment in Black-owned businesses.


Your Capitol Lakes Foundation was pleased to invite Jan as well as TWB fund Advisory Team Member, Nichole Crust, to give an update on the $50,000 grants that were awarded to five Black-owned businesses in 2022. Over a dozen Capitol Lakes residents came to learn more about the significant impact these grants had on the growth of the selected businesses and the effort to build on that success by raising an additional $250,000 to provide another round of grant assistance.


“I was grateful to Jan and Nichole for accepting our invitation,” recounts Capitol Lakes Foundation Director, Lenee Kruse. “Capitol Lakes is an incredibly philanthropic community and I knew our residents would want to hear what Sylvia’s legacy was accomplishing and how they might help.”

If you would like to learn more please visit the TWB fund page on Madison Urban League’s website - https://ulgm.org/buildtogether/. Thanks for caring so deeply about the Capitol Lakes community as well as our larger community. Together we can follow Sylvia’s example and enhance the living experience for all.


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