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MANDI 2014 Winners and Finalists Videos

15 Years of the MANDIs Video


Winners of Milwaukee Awards for Neighborhood Development Innovation Announced 
MANDIs highlight model efforts to revitalize the Central City


 MILWAUKEE (April 9, 2014) – Every year corporate and public sector leaders gather to recognize outstanding efforts to revitalize Milwaukee’s central city. The Milwaukee Awards for Neighborhood Development Innovation (MANDI) are hosted by LISC Milwaukee and sponsored by US Bank. Finalists were selected in five award categories in the fall. Winners were announced at an Oscar-style gala on April 9th to a full house of 750 non-profit, corporate, and public sector leaders at the Pfister Hotel.

Since its inception 15 years ago, the MANDI program has evolved into a celebration of everything that is right about Milwaukee - passionate, committed residents working together with optimism and tenacity to create a better future for themselves, their families and their neighborhoods.  LISC is proud to be associated with this wonderful, energizing and uplifting program. –Leo Ries, Executive Director of LISC Milwaukee

Lisa Glover, Vice President from US Bank was the Master of Ceremony. Mayor Barrett welcomed guests and profiled key projects. Awards were presented by sponsors: Gene Manzanet, Vice President, PNC Bank; Cecelia Gore, Executive Director representing the Brewers Community Foundation; Mary Medicus, Claim Team Manager, State Farm; Jamie Reeve III, Vice President from Northern Trust; Anna C. Benton, Assistant Vice President from BMO Harris Bank. Barbara Markoff, Community Affairs Manager from US Bank and Leo Ries, Executive Director from LISC Milwaukee made closing remarks.

The MANDIs are similar to the Oscar awards in that winners are selected by peers, and each finalist is profiled with a 2 minute video vignette at the event. A Selection Committee (forty private, public and government volunteers) reviews nominations, chooses finalists, visits each finalist, and selects winners. Sixteen finalists were announced in December and five winners were named at the live event, April 9th. Northwestern Mutual was also recognized by the LISC Milwaukee Local Advisory Board for their exemplary corporate leadership to revitalize Milwaukee.

MANDI 2014 Winners:

Presented by Cecelia Gore, Executive Director, Brewers Community Foundation, the Brewers Community Foundation Public Space Award was given to Three Bridges Park for their successful efforts to revitalize a park whose namesake bridges create an important new link between the businesses and nature of the Menomonee Valley and residents in the Silver City and Clarke Square neighborhoods. Three Bridges Park required profound imagination and partnership from community members to valley businesses to a team of scientists and engineers to the project’s leadership —Menomonee Valley Partners, Menomonee Valley Branch of the Urban Ecology Center, State of Wisconsin, and City of Milwaukee.  The 24 acres feature access to the Menomonee River for fishing and canoeing, a native landscape for wildlife in the heart of the city, two miles of walking and biking trails, part of the Hank Aaron State Trail. The Menomonee Valley Urban Ecology Center has already begun using the park as a hands-on outdoor classroom, and in the coming year, the park will blossom with the addition of community gardens. Other finalists included the Journey House Football Stadium and the Rotary Centennial Arboretum.
Contact: Laura Bray, Menomonee Valley Partners, (414)-274-4654,

Presented by Anna Benton, Assistant Vice President, BMO Harris Bank, the BMO Harris Bank Cornerstone Award was given to Martin Luther King Economic Development Corporation for taking a disciplined and incremental approach to economic revitalization in one of Milwaukee’s poorest neighborhoods. Through a four phase development based on community input, over 30 million dollars have been invested in a concentrated, three-block area of the Harambee neighborhood. 108 exceptional affordable housing units in the neighborhood have been created, including apartments, townhomes, single family homes, and a historic renovation. These developments include green and sustainable architecture, reclaiming numerous vacant spaces in the neighborhood. Businesses created or now located in the area include BMO Harris Bank, WBIC, the NAACP, a commercial kitchen and culinary business incubator, Walgreen’s, a hair studio, and Growing Power. With each development, Neighborhood safety has increased, while the area has become an attractive location for continued investment. MLK EDC’s work has restored a culture of confidence to King Drive. Other finalists included Havenwoods Economic Development Corporation, Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity, and United Methodist Children’s Services.
Contact: Welford Sanders, (414)-704-9117,

Presented by Gene Manzanet, Vice President, PNC Bank, the PNC Trailblazer Award was awarded to Just One More Ministry for their innovative outreach program to aid hunger. In 2008, Chris Capper brought a box of day-old bread to a community meal at Reformation Lutheran Church, and a life-changing ministry was born. Just One More Ministry rescues food headed to the trash and gets it to hungry people at central city churches and homes. The food, that would otherwise be waste, comes from local caterers, grocery stores, bakeries, and wholesalers. An army of willing volunteers —  over 100 weekly — transport, repackage, and distribute the food within the community, serving 1500 healthy meals a week. In five years, the program’s food suppliers have increased from 1 to 11, and the number of partner churches and organizations from 2 to 17. From that first box of bread, Just One More Ministry supplied 62,800 meals in 2012 and in 2013, 76,000 meals — that’s 275,000 pounds of rescued food. Other finalists included the 16th Street Community Health Center’s Kinnickinnic River Corridor Initiative and IndependenceFirst Mobility Store.
Contact: Chris Capper, (414)-774-7401,

Presented by Jamie Reeve, James Reeve III, Vice President at Northern Trust, the Northern Trust Navigator Award was given to Howard Snyder for his work that began with founding the Northwest Side Community Development Corporation in 1983. Howard’s first project with the CDC set the tone for the next 30 years. Northwest Side CDC reclaimed an abandoned city fire station on the corner of Villard and Hopkins. At that site, they became a community beacon, offering small business incubator management, commercial strip revitalization, job training, and an art gallery for student artists. Howard has fueled key economic development initiatives such as the Villard Avenue Business Improvement District, MetroWorks Small Business Incubator, and the Northwest Industrial Council. He was also the driving force behind redeveloping the Villard Avenue Library, and working with industry leaders to create the charter school NOVA — Northwest Opportunity and Vocational Academy. In 2012, the Northwest Side CDC moved into the former Eaton Corporation Headquarters, and they are working collaboratively with the Midwest Energy Research Consortium to build a power and controls business accelerator in the 30th Street Corridor. Other finalists included Journey House Youth Programs Director Charles Brown and Community Organizer Jan Christensen.
Contact: Howard Snyder, (414)-447-8230,

Presented by Mary Medicus, Claim Team Manager, State Farm, Westlawn Gardens (Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee) received the State Farm Building Blocks Award. Westlawn Gardens offers an innovative model for healthy urban living. Residents helped design the 250 modern, affordable apartments and homes, green space, and 30,000 square feet of community gardens. It is the first City of Milwaukee LED lighted neighborhood, nearly cutting energy consumption in half. Westlawn Gardens also features 14 homes built to reduce risks for respiratory- related illness, and 45 units of dedicated senior housing. Additionally, 12,000 square feet of prime land has been slated for neighborhood-serving retail. Six city blocks have also been set aside for market-rate homes, fostering a mixed-income neighborhood environment. The project has forged new partnerships between residents and health, public safety and educational groups. This has resulted in innovations such as a composting program, health awareness initiatives, job training opportunities, and an Express Vending Library, Milwaukee Public Library’s first 24-hour vending service. Other finalists included King Drive Commons IV by Martin Luther King Economic Development Corporation and Layton Boulevard West Neighbors Rent-to-Own Homes.
Contact: Paul Williams, City of Milwaukee, (414)-224-0528,

LISC Milwaukee Board Chair, Lisa Glover, US Bank, and City of Milwaukee Mayor, Tom Barrett, presented the Vision Award to Northwestern Mutual for their remarkable commitment to Milwaukee’s economic growth and well-being. John Kordsmeier, Vice President for Strategic Philanthropy at Northwestern Mutual accepted the award on behalf of the company.  The Vision Award recipient is selected by LISC Milwaukee’s Advisory Board.  Based in Milwaukee for over 150 years, Northwestern Mutual is Wisconsin’s largest corporate donor, giving 16.9 million dollars to nonprofits nationwide. Additionally, in 2012, over 1,000 Northwestern Mutual employees donated 25,000 hours to volunteer efforts. Northwestern Mutual’s impressive giving history includes a major commitment to childhood cancer, education, and, recently, neighborhood revitalization. Last year, Northwestern Mutual committed more than $725,000 to three Milwaukee neighborhoods – Amani, Metcalfe Park and Muskego Way. With this investment, the Northwestern Mutual Foundation is working closely with nonprofit partners and resident leaders to catalyze community change. Recently, Northwestern Mutual announced their decision to build a new signature development in downtown Milwaukee. Construction of their new headquarters building will create 1,000 construction-related jobs through 2017, bring 1,900 new jobs to the city, retain 1,100 jobs downtown, and generate millions of dollars in new tax base.
Contact: Jennifer Ryan. (414) 665-3143,

 Sixteen Innovators Named for Improving Central City Neighborhoods

LISC Milwaukee names finalists for 2014 Milwaukee Awards for
Neighborhood Development Innovation (MANDI)

On December 11, 2013, 16 finalists were named for the Milwaukee Awards for Neighborhood Development Innovation (MANDI) to be held on April 9th.  Sponsored by U.S. Bank, in partnership with LISC Milwaukee, the MANDIs recognize individuals, organizations, and corporations who improving conditions in Milwaukee’s central city neighborhoods. 150 community and corporate leaders packed Kasana’s at 241 West Broadway to hear the news. 

"Milwaukee's neighborhoods have their challenges, no question.  But you can't help but be inspired by the individuals and groups who work with tremendous passion and tenacity to turn things around and to create a better life for all of our fellow citizens.  The MANDIs are an opportunity for us all to acknowledge these neighborhood leaders for their work," said Leo J. Ries, Executive Director for LISC Milwaukee.

 Finalists are selected from public nominations by an independent, cross-sector volunteer committee. Winners will be announced at a gala on Wednesday, April 9th, at the Pfister Hotel.

Brewers Community Foundation Public Space Award: recognizes a public space that helps build the community. Finalists include:

  • Three Bridges Park
  • Milwaukee Rotary Centennial Arboretum
  • Journey House Packers Football Stadium

Brewers Community Foundation Public Space Award finalists

Front Row: John Miceli, Journey House board member; John Dargle, Milwaukee County Parks; Eugene Manzanet, PNC; Corey Zetts, Laura Bray. Back Row: Aaron Zeleske, Urban Ecology Center;  Kimberly Gleffe, River Revitalization Foundation; Mary McCormick, Rotary Club of Milwaukee; Melissa Cook, Department of Natural Resources;  Cecelia Gore, Brewers Community Foundation;  Ken Leinbach, Urban Ecology Center; Glenna Holstein, Urban Ecology Center

BMO Harris Cornerstone Award: recognizes an organization for their commitment and effectiveness over time. Finalists include:

  • Havenwoods Economic Development Corporation
  • Martin Luther King Economic Development Corporation
  • Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity
  • United Methodist Children’s Services of Wisconsin

BMO Harris Cornerstone Award finalists

Brian Sonderman, Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity; Stephanie Harling, Havenswood Economic Development Corporation; Anna Benton, BMO Harris; Perry Huyke, United Methodist Children’s Services; Melissa Songco, Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity; Paul Fehrenbach, BMO Harris; Welford Sanders, Martin Luther King Economic Development Corporation

Northern Trust Navigator Award: recognizes an individual for leadership and collaboration. Finalists include:

  • Charles Brown, Journey House
  • Jan Christenson, YMCA of Metro Milwaukee
  • Howard Snyder, Northwest Side Community Development Corp.

Northern Trust Navigator Award finalists

 Jamie Reeve, Northern Trust; Jan Christenson, YMCA of Greater Milwaukee
(Not pictured: Charles Brown and Howard Snyder)

 PNC Bank Trail Blazer Award: recognizes an innovative approach to a community problem

  • 16th Street Community Health Center’s Kinnickinnic River Corridor Initiative
  • IndependenceFirst Mobility Store
  • Just One More Ministry 

PNC Trailblazer Award finalists

Front Row: Ben Gramling, 16th Street Community Health Center; Chris Capper, Just One More Ministry; Lee Schulz, Independence First Mobility Store; Chris Goller, PNC Bank; Jacob Stein, Independence First Mobility Store; Nadia Bogue, 16th Street Health Center. Back Row: Amanda Milford, 16th Street Community Health Center;  Alex Hernandez, 16th Street Community Health Center, Iris Gonzalez, 16th Street Community Health Center

State Farm Building Blocks Award: recognizes a real estate project that advances the community.

  • King Drive Commons IV, Martin Luther King Economic Development Corporation in partnership with Impact 7
  • Rent to Own Homes, Layton Boulevard West Neighbors in partnership with Impact 7
  • Westlawn Gardens, Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee

State Farm Building Blocks Award finalists

Paul Williams and Bobbi Marsells, Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee; Kelly Savage, State Farm; Charlotte John-Gomez, Layton Boulevard West Neighbors; Welford Sanders, Martin Luther King Economic Development Corporation

LISC’s Board also announced that the Vision Award will be presented to Northwestern Mutual. This award is given to a foundation or corporation with a strong commitment to transforming Milwaukee.  The board is recognizing Northwestern Mutual Foundation’s strong philanthropic focus on neighborhood investment, and for choosing to downtown Milwaukee for their corporate headquarters.

Vision Award

Tony Polston, Northwestern Mutual; Leo Ries, LISC Milwaukee; John Kordsmeier and Shawna Mauren,
Northwestern Mutual


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