United Way forms partnership to help those with disabilities

United Way of Greater Milwaukee recently partnered with Northwestern Mutual Foundation to form the "Disabilities Solutions Collaborative," a multi-year strategy to improve access to quality care for individuals with cognitive and physical disabilities in the Milwaukee-area and support resources for families.
"Bringing the best community organizations and the state’s largest grant makers to the table enables us to synchronize efforts and deliver maximum results to Milwaukeeans with special needs," said Nicole Angresano, vice president of the United Way of Greater Milwaukee. "United Way of Greater Milwaukee is exceedingly grateful for the ongoing commitment of Northwestern Mutual to enhance the health and well being of individuals with disabilities and their families."
The Foundation and the United Way plans to collaborate with greater-Milwaukee area nonprofits to host a series of roundtable events to develop strategic and community wide planning initiatives that include both short and long term goals.
"All Milwaukeeans, especially children with special needs, deserve the chance to achieve their full potential, regardless of circumstances," said Deanna Tillisch, Northwestern Mutual Foundation vice president. "The number of children with disabilities in southeastern Wisconsin is growing at an alarming rate and support and resources are needed more than ever to help individuals with disabilities and their families build secure futures. The challenge is growing, but we know the solution is collaboration with best-in-class organizations like United Way and other exceptional agencies and funders."
Children’s Service Society is among more than 20 early adopters
"The Disabilities Solutions Collaborative allows providers and the community to surround our families with services now, and as the children start adulthood," said Ellen Anderson, coordinator of volunteer respite programming at Children’s Service Society of Wisconsin.
Children’s Service Society of Wisconsin is a member of Children’s Hospital and Health System, and is also the state’s largest private, not-for-profit provider of child welfare services. The organization is funded in-part by both United Way and the Northwestern Mutual Foundation grants and provides parents and children with special medical or emotional needs and siblings a much needed break at no cost to the family.
"Milwaukee is a very giving community with so many resources and the Collaborative is where we say: your families are our families; your children are our children and we all work together for excellent care in our community,” Anderson said. 
The Respite Care program provided 894 children with care in 2010. More than 1,600 people volunteered for seven-hour days at these respite care events.

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