MANDI finalists build stronger neighborhoods

Fourteen individuals, projects and organizations are finalists for a Milwaukee Award for Neighborhood Development Innovation (MANDI), a program by Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) to recognize the work in building stronger neighborhoods.

In 2009, LISC will celebrate 10 consecutive years of MANDI Awards that recognize the work of individuals and organizations that spark positive changes in Milwaukee area neighborhoods.

“Throughout Milwaukee, people work in numerous ways to build stronger neighborhoods,” said Leo Ries, executive director. “What a difference we’ve seen in 10 years of highlighting the many innovative and groundbreaking projects that may not make the headlines but certainly make a huge impact on the quality of life in our community.”

Cecelia Gore, Jane Bradley Pettit Foundation program officer, chaired the independent selection committee that reviewed 34 nominations for awards in several categories. All of the finalists will be honored, and winners of each award will be announced at the 10th annual MANDI Awards Ceremony on Thursday, March 19, at the Harley-Davidson Museum.

In honor of the 10th year of the MANDI Awards, Ries also announced that two new awards will be given this year to recognize visionary leadership and regional leadership. Details of these two awards will be announced during the awards ceremony.

The finalists were chosen in five MANDI categories, as follows:

The Harris Bank Cornerstone Award recognizes outstanding innovation and perseverance.

  • Housing Resources Inc. assisted more low-income and minority residents in achieving homeownership than any other agency in Milwaukee. It provides home-buying/home retaining counseling services
  • St. Catherine’s Residence provides safe, affordable and supporting housing to low-income women and now men. It also provides employment training as 20,000 women have been housed and served.
  • Silver Spring Neighborhood Center serves low-income residents of Westlawn Housing Development and surrounding neighborhood for 50 years with health care, day care, after-school and recreational programming, job training resources and more.

The Navigator Award recognizes an individual who shows leadership in neighborhood development within a public or private community development entity.

  • Melissa Goins created a for-profit, woman and minority-owned development firm that focuses on central city commercial and residential redevelopment and was the first such firm to receive Low Income Housing Tax Credits from the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority.
  • Mick Hatch has provided continuous pro-bono legal services to nonprofit community development organizations and has been instrumental in creating several collaborations between public entities, non-profits and the private sector to achieve community development goals.
  • Maria Prioletta has forged numerous creative and effective partnerships to increase investments that build stronger neighborhoods and increase housing options in the central city, in her role as Redevelopment and Special Projects Manager for the City of Milwaukee Department of City Development.

The State Farm Building Blocks Award is given to outstanding development projects that spark the rebuilding of Milwaukee’s neighborhoods.

Large Project:

  • Independence First Inc., 540 S. First St. A relocation and expansion enables this nonprofit organization to grow its workforce to serve a greater number of clients with disabilities to lead independent lives.
  • St. Catherine Residence, 1032 E. Knapp St. Newly constructed McCauley Apartments add additional supportive housing to this 115-year institution.

Small Project:

  • Prince Hall Village, corner of West North Ave and North Teutonia, offering 24 units of affordable housing and community space for families developed by Vanguard Development.
  • Teutonia Gardens, 2709 N. Teutonia Ave, redeveloped site to include affordable apartments, commercial space and a community teaching garden, including a stormwater cistern developed by Maures Development.
  • UMCS Townhomes, 1929-1943 N. 39th St., developed by United Methodist Childrens Services Center for low-income families and graduates of their supportive family services programs.


The National City Bank Trailblazer Award recognition goes to a community development project or program that represents a new approach to an old problem.

  • Cardinal Capital: United House, 2500 W. Center St., Milwaukee’s first supportive services housing built for individuals with mental illness.
  • Elaine’s Project: Academy of Learning and Leadership, 1530 W. Center St., where the motto is “kids eat what they grow” and involves a school community garden and curriculum that is integrated with urban ecology activities and trips to both rural and urban farm facilities.
  • Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) Co-Developer Mentor Protégé Program, pairing emerging minority and women developers with established developers to provide business development, appropriate training and resources to increase capacity for development projects.

For more information about the 10th annual MANDI awards, call Ries at (414) 273-1815.

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