This story is taken from Milwaukee Magazine‘s 2019 Charitable Giving Guide. We found 20 deserving nonprofits for you to consider supporting this holiday season.
As mission statements go, that of Near West Side Partners is certainly ambitious: among its many goals are to decrease crime, increase workforce opportunities for residents and increase owner-occupied housing.
Also on the list are increasing the availability of quality food, attracting small businesses and strengthening residential associations.
The key to all of this, says Executive Director Keith Stanley, is community engagement. “We’re helping empower residents to make change in their communities,” he says. “We work with everyone — homeowners, renters, landlord, business owners. We listen to them and help them listen to each other.”
NWSP was founded in 2014 through the support of five anchor institutions: Aurora Health Care, Harley-Davidson, Marquette University, MillerCoors and Potawatomi Business Development Corporation. It is also BID #10, one of the longer-operating Business Improvement Districts in the city (24 years).
Five short years later, NWSP has racked up an impressive list of accomplishments. Among them are refurbishing 10 homes in one block in Miller Valley; installing exterior lights and/or security cameras outside of neighborhood businesses; addressing nuisance properties, such as a tobacco shop; forming a crime prevention team in conjunction with law enforcement; and establishing the Near West Side Farmer’s Market in 2017.
Since 2015, 37 new businesses have made their home in the community, including Pete’s Pops, Lisa Kay Catering, Hands in Harmony music studio, and Triciclo Peru MKE, a soon-to-open Peruvian restaurant on Vliet St. Stanley says, “These business owners see the momentum and think, ‘I just want to be there.’”
The Seven Neighborhoods of the Near West Side
- Avenues West
- Cold Spring Park
- Martin Drive
- Merrill Park
- Miller Valley
- The Valley/Piggsville
The Near West Side at-a-glance
- 28,000 residents
- 13+1 schools/university
- 29,000 employees
- 94 nonprofits
- 650+ homeless beds
- 350+ businesses
- 15 places of worship