Oak Creek mayor addresses community safety with “Oak Creek Cares”

Oak Creek Mayor Steve Scaffidi is taking a bold step outside the public sector to strengthen safety networks in his community with the launch of a new nonprofit organization known as Oak Creek Cares.

 

Scaffidi helped get the nonprofit off the ground last week with administrative support from the Greater Milwaukee Foundation. The establishment of the nonprofit organization comes nearly a year after a mass shooting at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin in Oak Creek, a tragedy that resulted in six fatalities.

Through the nonprofit organization, Oak Creek will boost safety initiatives by funding potential programs that offer mental health resources, assist adults and children facing issues of violence, and ramp up police auxiliaries in underserved neighborhoods.

Scaffidi is currently seeking input from the community about programs crucial to the safety of residents in Oak Creek and surrounding areas.

“We don’t have all the ideas yet,” Scaffidi said. “We’re waiting for the public to provide some guidance as to where we can do some things and how money can be best spent.”

The development of the safety programs will require $25,000 in funding, $10,000 of which Oak Creek Cares already has thanks to a founding donation from Oak Creek-based Eder Flag Manufacturing Company.

“The goal is to raise as much money as possible as quickly as possible and start funding those programs,” Scaffidi said.

“We want to be innovative in how we spend that money and spread it out over a lot of different resources that together make for a much stronger community,” Scaffidi said.

Scaffidi will continue encouraging area residents and businesses to make donations toward the nonprofit and plans to organize fundraising events to add to funding. He aims to raise $100,000 in the next year and will take an aggressive approach to building funds.

“There’s nothing that more exciting than this project,” Scaffidi said.

A nine-member volunteer committee will preside over Oak Creek Cares with participation from Scaffidi, area residents and area business owners among others. The initiative will function as a donor advised fund of the Greater Milwaukee Foundation, which will be responsible for tracking donations and administering funds. The Greater Milwaukee Foundation will also serve as the initiative’s headquarters.

In addition to raising $100,000, Scaffidi hopes to build a sustainable organization that thrives beyond his career as mayor.

“I think this is something that outlives me and outlives all of us,” Scaffidi said. “I think this is something that might change the way communities fund some of the programs that may not be funded now.”

Individuals and businesses interested in making a donation can write a check to the “Greater Milwaukee Foundation c/o Oak Creek Cares.”

The Greater Milwaukee Foundation is located at 101 W. Pleasant St. in Milwaukee.

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