As reported on

MILWAUKEE (April 11, 2019) —  On Thursday, April 11th, LISC Milwaukee celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Milwaukee Awards for Neighborhood Design and Innovation with a host of residents, community leaders and government officials in attendance. The MANDIs Celebrate the Changemakers and the “good news” of successful efforts to revitalize neighborhoods and strengthen the community.

Each year LISC Milwaukee highlights a particular focus of its work. Last year, it promoted the ACRE program and its founder Prof. Mark Eppli by initiating the Eppli Catalytic Fund. This year, LISC Milwaukee highlighted its economic development work begun with its RampUp program and its components –‘RISE’, a business training program adapted from MORTAR, and ‘PopUp MKE’, a widely successful pop-up shop program for home based or virtual microbusinesses or creatives. The spectacular designs of PopUp MKE participants and other local fashion designers were displayed in a colorful and dynamic fashion preview. Guests were also treated to desserts provided by featured entrepreneurs and RISE graduates.

Clad in a design by neighborhood entrepreneur “VGAL”, LISC Milwaukee executive director, Donsia Strong Hill charged the audience to “create possibility by seeking out neighborhood businesses, helping sustain them and develop a stronger more vibrant Milwaukee through “equitable economic development.” MANDI finalists were named last December after review by a 40-member volunteer Selection Committee that combed through dozens of public nominations and named 12 finalists in 8 categories. LISC Milwaukee hosted over 760 guests seeking to celebrate excellence, success and collaboration in revitalizing Milwaukee neighborhoods through the following awards.

Awarded for commitment and effectiveness over time, the BMO Harris Bank Cornerstone Award was given to Running Rebels Community Organization which is also a recipient of a LISC/ESPN grant.

Awarded to a public space that builds community, the Brewers Community Foundation Public Space Award was presented to Multi-Sport Complex at Browning Elementary and Silver Spring Neighborhood Center.

Awarded to an individual for leadership, the Northern Trust Navigator Award was awarded to Susan Lloyd for her work with the Zilber Family Foundation.

Awarded for innovation, the Associated Bank Trailblazer Award was given to the MATC Promise program for returning adult students.

Awarded for a real estate project that improves the community, The State Farm Building Blocks Award was presented Welford Sanders Historic Lofts and Enterprise Center, a LIHTC project.

Awarded to projects that promote economic development, The Chase Economic Development Award, was awarded to Blue Skies Landscaping, a social enterprise of Walnut Way Conservation Corp.

Awarded to nonprofits that collaborate and align, The Northwestern Mutual Collaboration Award was presented to Reclaiming Our Neighborhoods (RON) a partnership between Sherman Park Community, Washington Park Partners, Riverworks Development Corporation and Clarke Square Neighborhood Initiative that promotes blight elimination.

Three winners were named for the Wells Fargo People’s Choice Award, an online social media campaign to select three winners across all award categories. The three winners included Running Rebels, MATC Promise and Washington Park Wednesdays, a neighborhood concert series.

The event was emceed by Shannon Sims, Anchor and Reporter for Today’s TMJ4, and welcoming remarks were made by LISC National President and CEO, Maurice Jones, Wisconsin Governor, Tony Evers, City of Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett; presenting sponsor Suzanne Zwaska, Vice President, US Bank; and Roger Sandell, Vice President, Johnson Bank and Chair of the LISC Milwaukee Advisory Board.

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