Nonprofit spotlight: Walnut Way Conservation Corp. 

Last updated on January 29th, 2021 at 11:05 am

2240 N. 17th St., Milwaukee
(414) 264-2326 | walnutway.org
Facebook: Walnut Way or @walnut.way  |  Instagram: @walnutway
Twitter: @walnut_way

Year founded: 2000

Mission statement: Our mission is to sustain transformation of economically diverse and abundant communities through civic engagement, environmental stewardship and creating venues for prosperity.

Primary focus of your nonprofit organization: Since its purposeful beginnings, Walnut Way has reclaimed its neighborhood, driven out crime, and created a close-knit neighborhood of compassionate and involved residents. Chartered by residents in 2000, Walnut Way is located in the heart of the Lindsay Heights neighborhood, a 110-block area on Milwaukee’s near north side and home to 8,000 residents, where 96% are African American. Walnut Way challenges historic disinvestment by engaging, educating, and employing community members to take leadership roles in comprehensive revitalization strategies emphasizing wellness, work and wealth. 

Other focuses of your nonprofit organization:  Current programs include the highly successful workforce development program Blue Skies Landscaping, which works to make Lindsay Heights an environmentally just community. Walnut Way runs an urban agriculture internship program, Growing Youth Leadership, and a variety of health and wellness programs including cooking classes, canning, and healing peer support groups. Walnut Way also owns and operates the commercial development enterprise The Innovations and Wellness Commons. 

Number of employees at this location: 25

Key donors: Zilber Famly Foundation, Fund for Lake Michigan, The Brico Fund, LLC, Greater Milwaukee Foundation, Bradley Foundation and Bader Philanthropies, Inc.

Executive leadership: Antonio Butts, executive director; Jerrilynn Freelon, associate director of operations

Board of Directors: President LaVonda L. Graham (retired); vice president Annie Robinson of North Division High School; secretary Monique Graham of Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin, treasurer X’Zayvion McCoy, and board members Heidi Moore of Froedtert & MCW and Pastor Gregory Lewis of Souls to the Polls. 

What roles are you looking to fill on your board: Walnut Way is always looking for individuals who can bring their skills and knowledge to help support the strategy and mission of our organization. Areas of focus can include but not limited to human resources, leadership development and fundraising.

Ways the business community can help your nonprofit: Sponsorship contribution, volunteering in the gardens, buy your next bulk clothing order through our apparel printing social enterprise business, Designaway. 

Key fundraising events: Harvest Day 2021 in September, Blue Skies Landscaping capital campaign. 

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Lauren Anderson
Lauren Anderson covers health care, nonprofits, education and insurance for BizTimes. Lauren previously reported on education for the Waukesha Freeman. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she studied journalism, history and African studies. In her free time, Lauren enjoys spending time with family and friends and seeing live music wherever she can.

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