A Year in Review
2016 was a banner year for Revitalize Milwaukee. On behalf of the Revitalize Milwaukee’s Board of Directors, myself, the staff and those we serve, thank you to all of our donors, sponsors, volunteers and partners. Without you, we could not have helped over 3,304 families over the last 16 years providing life-changing repairs, accessibility modifications and revitalized over 110 neighborhoods investing over $12.5 million into the community.
Without you, we could not help people like Judy, age 61, living in West Allis. Judy was having problems with the sewer backing up in her home. Judy tried snaking her drain many times on her own, but with no success. She needed help, but suffers from severe anxiety. Due to her severe anxiety, Judy felt that if she asked for help she might lose her home. Judy’s social worker, Rachel, helped put Judy in contact with Revitalize Milwaukee. Judy was still extremely worried and anxious and Revitalize Milwaukee was only able to communicate with her through Rachel. After working closely with Judy’s social worker, Revitalize Milwaukee was able to enter Judy’s home and fix the sewer backup. Once the sewer was fixed, Judy was more accepting of help and allowed Revitalize Milwaukee to come back and to help with other repairs to her home. Revitalize Milwaukee was able to secure the handrails in her home, install a new ADA height toilet and reinstall loose insulation in the attic. We were able to bring some peace of mind to Judy by fixing her home and reassured her that these issues would not cause her to lose her home.
Highlights of 2016 included the introduction of our Block Build MKE. Prior to 2016, we did a Rebuilding Day where we would revitalize approximately 10 homes all over the community in a weekend. With the introduction of Block Build MKE, we were able to concentrate our efforts and make a significant impact in a neighborhood. The neighborhood in 2016 was Walnut Way - on north 17th and 18th Streets between West North and West Lloyd Avenues. With the help of over 700 volunteers, we helped 103 residents and revitalized 34 properties in two days and invested over $150,000 into the community. Over 550 individual projects and repairs were completed on May 20-21, 2016. We installed five new roofs, built seven new porches, installed five new water heaters and rebuilt 3 staircases.
In 2016, we added an additional person to the Revitalize Milwaukee staff. Lynn Petrie came on board in September as our new Development, Event and Marketing Manager. Lynn is an experienced fund development professional with over 25 years of experience in nonprofit management.
Another significant event that happened in 2016 was the change of our name. During our 5th Annual Wine Pairing and Auction fundraiser, we revealed the name change from Rebuilding Together Greater Milwaukee to Revitalize Milwaukee. Our name change better reflects our mission and will only positively impact our work and outcomes. We will continue to deliver much needed free home repairs, comprehensive programming with partners, and fill the gaps in current critical basic needs such as hot water, emergency repairs and the like.
2016 also marked the introduction of a new annual event, the Rise and Honor Veteran’s Breakfast fundraiser. Revitalize Milwaukee has always cared deeply about our country’s veterans and this fundraiser shows our commitment to continue to help veterans in the area. We hope to move forward in 2017 to help more veterans and their families than we ever have before. Revitalize Milwaukee is striving to help 125 veterans and their families in 2017.
The success of this organization has only been made possible through the continuous help of all of our donors, sponsors, volunteers and partners. Thank you.