The Dominican Center, a nonprofit organization that supports resident-led revitalization efforts in Milwaukee’s Amani neighborhood, has named Maricha Harris as its next executive director.
Harris previously managed the day-to-day operations of Milwaukee nonprofit Safe & Sound.
“I’m humbled, honored and grateful for this opportunity,” said Harris. “I’m excited to work alongside DC staff, Amani United, community partners and other stakeholders to continue moving the important work that’s happening forward.”
Prior to Safe & Sound, Harris worked at various area nonprofit and education organizations, including Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Wisconsin, Milwaukee Public Schools, Silver Spring Neighborhood Center, Trini-Dad’s Child Development Center. She’s also a licensed realtor with Coldwell Banker Realty.
“This is a full circle moment for me,” said Harris, who is a native of Milwaukee. “Growing up, I lived in neighborhoods that faced significant challenges. And while I remember those challenges, I also remember resilience, strength and the beauty that lives within our neighborhoods. There are so many assets in our community – right here in Amani and 53206.”
The Dominican Center was founded in 1995 as an urban ministry program to learn more about the women in the neighborhood and has since evolved to serve all Amani residents. Today its focus is on increasing access to quality education, improving health outcomes and contributing to economic development. It serves as the community anchor for the White House Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative, Building Neighborhood Capacity Program and is the lead community partner for the U.S. Department of Justice’s Innovations of Community Based Crime Reduction grant for Amani.
It's one of three neighborhood anchor organizations that has received funding from Northwestern Mutual since 2013, along with Metcalfe Park Community Bridges and Milwaukee Christian Center.
Harris succeeds Sister Patricia Rogers, who led the organization for the past decade until her retirement in June, and interim executive director Denisha Tate-McAlister.
“Working with DC and the Amani Neighborhood has been exciting, inspiring, challenging and rewarding. We have many accomplishments to be proud of and several opportunities we have yet to realize. But the work of the residents, partners and supporters has been life changing,” said Tate-McAlister. “Amani means peace. It is with peace of mind that I welcome the new executive director of DC, Maricha Harris, to her role. I pass the torch with pride and promise. I am excited about where she will go, what she will experience, and how the community will embrace her as she loves them.”