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The Milwaukee Awards for Neighborhood Development Innovation, or MANDIs, are known as the “Oscars of Community Development.”
While many people are working hard to improve Milwaukee’s neighborhoods, their stories are often untold. The MANDIs recognize the inspiring, innovative, and tenacious work of people who are improving the quality of life in our central city.
Finalists in six categories were selected from public nominations by a 40-member, independent, cross-sector volunteer committee, and announced at a public event on December 5th, 2017. Winners were announced on Thursday, March 15, 2018 at the Potawatomi Hotel and Casino.
Awarded for commitment and effectiveness over time, the BMO Harris Bank Cornerstone Award was presented by Paul Fehrenbach, BMO Harris, Vice President of Community Investments. Fehrenbach was joined by Omar Bravo, Community Liaison, Christ-St. Peter Lutheran School. This award was given to Artists Working in Education. Artists Working in Education values the connections among art, education and community. AWE works with professional artists through a variety of community programs, including a “truck studio” and public murals. AWE works with 6,000 youth annually, and brings together public and private partners to build communities through the arts.
Finalist: Healthy Neighborhood Initiative Community Improvement Program (HNI/CIP)
Awarded to a public space that builds community, the Brewers Community Foundation Public Space Award was presented by Cecelia Gore, Executive Director for the foundation. Shaw was joined by Katie Pritchard, Data You Can Use. This award was given to Fondy Park. Adjacent to the popular Fondy Market in Lindsay Heights, Fondy Park offers multi-use green space, seating and a stage for fitness classes, chess tourneys, concerts, gardening and eco-education classes. A state-of-the-art storm water management system collects 83,000 gallons of rainwater, helping prevent flooding and helping to keep Lake Michigan clean.
Finalist: Riverwest 24
Awarded for a real estate project that improves the community, the State Farm Building Blocks Award was presented by Spring Burgess-Ashley, an Agent for State Farm. Spring was joined by Evan Reed, Senior Program Officer, Greater Milwaukee Foundation. This award was given to Pete’s Market developed by the Haywood Group. The development of Pete’s Fruit Market at the intersection of N. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and W. North Avenue is a hope realized for area residents. The market provides fresh, healthy produce and meats at economical prices, and caters to customers and employees who live near the growing business.
Finalist: Mitchell Street Branch Library/Alexander Lofts
Awarded for innovation, the PNC Bank Trailblazer Award was presented by Eugene Manzanet, Vice President of PNC Bank. Manzanet was joined by Amy Turim, real Estate Development Services Manager for the City of Milwaukee. This award was given to Layton Boulevard West Neighbors Block Club Menu program. The LBWN Neighborhood Block Project Menu was created to facilitate projects on individual blocks in busy multicultural communities. Projects are intended to improve neighborhood appearance, increase social engagement, improve community safety, solidify community identity, break down language barriers, and develop resident leadership skills.
Finalist: Safe & Sound Community Programs
Awarded to an individual for leadership, the Northern Trust Navigator Award was presented by Jamie Reeve III, Sr. Vice President of Northern Trust. Reeve was joined by Tim McMurtry, Director, Milwaukee Area Workforce Funding Alliance. This award was given to both finalists-- Dr. Mark Eppli, founder of the Associates in Commercial Real Estate Program (ACRE), and Kalan Haywood, Sr, owner of The Haywood Group LLC. Recognizing the gaps in Milwaukee’s community, Dr. Mark Eppli alongside the Marquette University College of Business created the ACRE program in 2005. The program helps minorities in the community get involved in real estate development, area construction and community development fields. His dedication to ACRE and Milwaukee has made a positive impact on the students and alumni of the ACRE program as they continue to be actively engaged in the urban development. Kalan Haywood has a very strong love and commitment for Milwaukee as he uses his platform to influence different decisions that benefit the city overall. He is responsible for several different developments that have improved Milwaukee’s urban landscape and given local economic growth. His concern for the city is demonstrated through his heavy involvements in projects to help the youth and encouraging business developments in underserved neighborhoods.
A new award for collaboration was presented by Eric Christophersen, Vice President Strategic Philanthropy/Community Relations & President of the Northwestern Mutual Foundation was presented to Literacy Services of Wisconsin & WRTP/Big Step for a partnership that provides High School Equivalency and certifications in manufacturing and construction. Christophersen announced that the award would come with a $10,000 prize, and also pledged to pay for the next full cohort of participants. Literacy Services of Wisconsin and WRTP/BIG STEP have created an innovative program that allows individuals to simultaneously receive a High School Equivalency Degree and nationally recognized construction trade credentials in just three months. Program participants graduate ready to pursue family sustaining jobs in high demand manufacturing and construction and also benefit from wrap around services to support their emerging careers.
An additional new award, the Chase Economic Development Award, was presented by Damion Heron, for Chase. He was joined on stage by May her Thao, Executive Director, Hmong Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce. This award was given to the Menomonee Valley revitalization. Once an eyesore, the Valley has been transformed, becoming a national model in economic development and environmental sustainability. The 300 acres, once brownfields, are now home to 47 companies, and more than 5,000 family-supporting jobs. One million square feet of green buildings and more than 60 acres of new trails and park space have been constructed.
Three winners were named for the Wells Fargo People’s Choice Award, an online social media campaign to select public picks for three winners across all award categories. These awards were presented by Dan Sweeney, Vice President and Community Development Officer at Wells Fargo. Sweeney was joined by Dionne Grayson, Co-founder and Executive Director of Lead2Change. The three winners included Artists Working in Education, Pete’s Market, and Safe & Sound.
Learn more about past MANDIs and the award winners of the last few years.