Barrett, who helped introduce the awards program, thanked all 16 awards nominees for their contributions in tackling persistent city challenges like poverty, education and home foreclosures.
"We are fighting back and it's the people in this room who are fighting back, and I'm here to say thank you," Barrett said in his opening speech.
Each year, the MANDI Awards, or Milwaukee Awards for Neighborhood Development Innovation, honor local individuals, organizations and collaborative initiatives that strive to enhance Milwaukee's central city neighborhoods.
2013 MANDI Award winners include:
*Washington Park for the Brewers Community Foundation Public Space Award, which honors a public space that unites neighborhoods.
*The Clock Shadow Building for the State Farm Building Blocks Award, which acknowledges real estate that enhances community.
*Charlotte John-Gomez of the Layton Boulevard West Neighbors for the Northern Trust Navigator Award, which highlights a proven leader.
*Progressive Community Health Centers for the BMO Harris Bank Cornerstone Award, which honors an initiative that has a long-standing commitment to its community.
*Our Next Generation's Outbound Learning Program for the PNC Trailblazer Award, which recognizes an innovative approach to a city challenge that is producing results.
Our Next Generation President and Chief Executive Officer Robert Dunn commended the organization's outreach partners and community volunteers for their role in the continued success of its educational and mentoring efforts.
"Success in Our Next Generation is not about programming," Dunn said during his acceptance speech. "It's really about children and caring adults who are willing to take time to reach out and share who they are, share their values, their beliefs, their dreams, and their aspirations with young children who oftentimes because of the circumstances and the environment in which they live don't have those visions."
LISC also recognized ManpowerGroup with the 2013 Vision Award for the Milwaukee-based company's dedication to promoting workforce development and job creation throughout Milwaukee.
The individuals and organizations highlighted at the MANDI Awards are Milwaukee's "unsung heroes," said Leo Ries, executive director of LISC Milwaukee.
"The awards ignite hope and offer a roadmap for improving conditions in our city," Ries said. "I know the statistics that define Milwaukee's major challenges. MANDI finalists are not running away from these problems. They are attacking them with courage, tenacity and vision. The MANDIs celebrate these unsung heroes."
LISC Milwaukee is part of a national organization focused on building community, improving access to education, enhancing real estate, promoting economic development, and encouraging healthy environments.
U.S. Bank served as the official sponsor of the 2013 MANDI Awards, and BizTimes Media served as a media sponsor.