During the Milwaukee Awards for Neighborhood Development Innovation on Wednesday night, Local Initiatives Support Corporation Milwaukee, LISC, announced that its new executive director will be Donsia Strong Hill.[caption id="attachment_135810" align="alignright" width="300"] Around 850 people attended the 2016 MANDI awards at the Potawatomi Hotel and Casino on Wednesday, March 16.[/caption]
Strong Hill is a principal consultant and attorney who has previously worked as the Brown County District Attorney, a senior policy analyst for former President Bill Clinton's administration and a senior adviser for the U.S. Department of Energy.
She will replace Laura Bray, who resigned from the position in December 2015 after just four months at the helm. Bray took over for Leo Ries, who resigned in April 2015 after leading the organization for 15 years.
The MANDI Awards were held at the Potawatomi Hotel & Casino. In his opening remarks before winners were named, LISC CEO Michael Rubinger announced the national organization would invest $25 million in Milwaukee neighborhoods over the next five years.
Winners at this years MANDI awards included ACTS Housing, which won the Trailblazer Award; St. Ann Center for Intergenerational Care — Bucyrus Campus, which won the Building Blocks Award; COA Youth & Family Centers, which won the Cornerstone Award; Rodney Bourrage, Sr., who won the Navigator Award; and Milwaukee County, which won the Public Space Award.
“The MANDIs are a celebration of Milwaukee’s neighborhoods, and the passionate, committed people who work tirelessly to improve their communities,” said LISC Milwaukee spokesperson Dawn Hutchison-Weiss. "We are excited about LISC’s pledge of a $25 million dollar investment in Milwaukee over the next five years, and look forward to leveraging these funds for the future of Milwaukee. We are equally excited about the hire of our new executive director Donsia Strong Hill and identifying ways that LISC can have an even deeper impact on Milwaukee’s neighborhoods."
The Trailblazer Award recognizes an innovative approach to solving a community problem. ACTS Housing won for its Foreclosure Reclamation Project, which helped 138 families transition from renters to homeowners though financial counseling, brokerage and rehabilitation management in partnership with the city of Milwaukee.
The Building Blocks Award recognizes a real estate project that moves the community forward. St. Ann Center for Intergenerational Care won for creating jobs and sparking neighborhood revitalization on Milwaukee's near north side by building its $21 million, 800,000 square-foot Bucyrus Campus at 2450 W. North Ave.
The Cornerstone Award recognizes an organization for its commitment to the Milwaukee area and effectiveness through the years. COA Youth & Family Centers won for its 110 years of service to the city's low-income children and families and its efforts in the Amani neighborhood. COA centers serve 10,000 children and families at 11 locations.
The Navigator Award recognizes an individual for their leadership and collaboration. Bourrage, founder of Operation Dream, won for his dedication and innovative approach to counseling at-risk boys in Milwaukee.
The Public Space Award recognizes a public space that strengthens the community. Milwaukee County and its community partners won for their renovation of the 4.1-acre Moody Park in Milwaukee's Amani neighborhood.
Each of the winners received a trophy and a $1,000 donation.