“I was standing next to Frank, who had grand mal seizures,” recalls Lonergan. At the time, Lonergan employed several single mothers who brought their children to work. “And little Kathy, who was 3 years old and loved Frank, saw the symptoms developing and jumped up on his lap. She took her tiny arms and wrapped them around his big belly. All of the symptoms stopped.” The moment astounded Lonergan.
After that, she knew she needed to build a space that would foster more interactions like the one she’d witnessed. Build she did. Ten years and $10 million later, Lonergan opened the St. Ann Center, Milwaukee’s first day care facility to serve multiple generations. In 2015, Lonergan opened a second, $28 million site.
When asked what St. Ann Center provides its members, Lonergan offers a simple answer: “Purpose.” She might as well be talking about herself.