The Dominican Center works with Amani residents and partners to build a better future. This is a comprehensive report of DC's accomplishments and work throughout 2020-2021.
DOMINICAN CENTER 2020 - 2021 ANNUAL REPORT WORKINGWITH AMANI
WORKING TOGETHER ‘It’s truly the spirit of collaboration and working together that improves communities ...’
Dear Friends, Partners and Supporters,
back in-person safely and how to navigate a hybrid world – one that has opportunities to connect both virtually and in-person. You see, it’s truly the spirit of collaboration and working together that improves communities – especially during unusually challenging times. We are excited to share a high-level overview of the work we’ve done – together – in Amani this year. We’re grateful for the resident leadership that drives our work and for the generous support of our funders, partners and other supporters. Together, we are making a real difference. Thank you for giving your time, talent and treasure to support our mission.
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” The words of this African Proverb still ring true today. As we reflect on the journey we’ve been on this year, one thing that stands out to us is the significance of what it means to be together. Together, we learned how to “pivot” – a word that’s been used very often over the past couple of years. Suddenly thrown into a virtual world, we had to learn what it means to connect and support one another from a safe distance. This virtual world impacted so many people we serve, including our adult education students.
Despite the challenges, we worked together and served 20 students.
Together, we adjusted and provided food to those in need in different ways. As an example, we worked together with our partners to deliver 416 boxes of food to senior citizens who had to continue to shelter in place at home. Additionally, we continued offering a mobile food pantry to the community.
– Maricha Harris, M.A. Executive Director
– Connie Kordsmeier President of the Board
And together, we are learning how to come
OUR MISSION Dominican Center works with Amani residents and partners to build a better future.
Dominican Center is the convener of the neighborhood, as such it supports the achievement of the neighborhood revitalization plan. The priorities and corresponding goals include:
Improve housing conditions through the Block by Block strategy in Amani. • Engage residents in block beautification throughout Amani. • Build the capacity of the lead neighborhood organizations, residents and those working in Amani to support the goals of the housing strategy. • Restore block integrity to the houses on the pilot block of the Block by Block strategy.
Increase neighbors’ willingness to support self, other neighbors and community to achieve peace. • Foster communication between neighbors to get to know each other, interact and share engagement in Amani. • Address public safety concerns by working with residents, partners and officials. information. • Foster civic
Increase family well-being and lifelong learning in Amani. • Engage organizations working in Amani that address stress, trauma, loss, mental health and other risk factors in adults and youth. • Increase residents’ skills in advocacy and securing resources related to family wellbeing and lifelong learning. • Increase residents’ participation in decision- making with organizations and systems focused on education and family well- being.
OUR 2020-21 IMPACT DC serves as the anchor organization for Amani. For 27 years, DC has served as a resource in many areas, including adult education, housing and building neighborhood capacity. Additionally, DC connects partners from across the City to the Amani neighborhood. Revitalization efforts concentrate on three areas: Safety, Education & FamilyWell-Being, and Housing & Economic Development. Here is DC’s impact in Amani:
160 ENGAGED IN SURVEY
28 BLOCK AMBASSADORS IN AMANI
8 NEIGHBORHOOD SAFETY MEETINGS • 2 YOUTH EVENTS
200 HOLIDAY FOOD BOXES DISTRIBUTED
4 STUDENTS EARNED HSED /GED DEGREES
416 FOOD BOXES DELIVERED TO SENIORS
3 MOBILE FOOD PANTRIES • 20 ADULT EDU. STUDENTS ENROLLEDONLINE
465 RESIDENT AT EVENTS
3,000 DOOR-TO-DOOR CONTACTS MADE
24 COMMUNITY MEETINGS
HOUSING & ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
75 HOURS SPENT
8 YOUTH EMPLOYED THROUGH DC
7 AMANI BLOCK CLEANUPS
HELPING YOUTH W/ EMPLOYMENT
8 ILLEGAL DUMPS REPORTED • 2MODEL BLOCKACTIVITIES • 3 PLANTGIVEAWAYS
FROM THE COMMUNITY Dominican Center fosters resident-led change and values the support of volunteers, donors and partners
“Going back to school is the best thing you can do. We need to better ourselves. Just call Dominican Center, they helped me. God put certain people in your life for a reason. It takes a village, and that is everyone in the Education Program. All the teachers are awesome, even when tough love is needed. All I had to do is reach out. I see all of my certificates on the wall and I am so proud of myself. I got a nice job and I can’t wait to start my associates degree. All of the teachers, [Education Coordinator] Ms. Barbara, they’re willing to help, they’re not going to let you fail. It is nothing but support. They want the best for you.”
- Jasmin Roberson, DC Adult Edu. Program student
“Sometimes life throws you a boomerang and your creator offers a lifeline to purpose which happens to be your childhood elementary school. I was led to DC as a solution to the challenges of urban farming and the accessibility to fresh produce. The Center could be the ‘Wakanda’ of AgTech and STEM/ STEAM education and training.”
“I have only known [Dominican Center’s] Mr. Wes for about a year since he started delivering food to me and my neighbor during the COVID pandemic. He is a very friendly man, and I look forward to seeing him every Wednesday. My sisters and I love him, we told him he could be a part of our family. I am very appreciative of the Dominican Center. They bring me healthy food, which I am so thankful for the service.” - Johnnie Luckett, senior food box recipient
-Shelley Mathews, Founder & CEO of FullCircle26, Inc.(DC’s partner)
Our Leadership JOINING THE DC FAMILY
New Executive Director Maricha Harris dedicated to continuing Dominican Center Legacy while strengthening Amani neighborhood’s future.
In September of 2021, Dominican Center welcomed new Executive Director Maricha Harris, who continues the legacy and mission after the retirement of Sr. Patricia Rogers, OP. So far in her new role, she has worked to collaborate with neighborhood partners, made moves to strengthen the DC staff and board, and has invested in key DC programs that will carry Amani into the future. “There is power in building self-sustainable communities,” she said. Harris, who is a Milwaukee native, leans on her experience, relationship building and leadership skills to run Dominican Center. She talks about neighborhood impact and how that drives her passion to serve the people of the City she grew in, studied in and continues to work in. “This is a full circle moment for me. Growing up, I lived in neighborhoods that faced significant challenges. And while I remember those challenges, I also remember resilience, strength and the beauty that lives within our neighborhoods,” she said. “There are so many assets in our community – right here in Amani and 53206.”
Our Work DC CONNECTS AMANI PARTNERS DC’s role as neighborhood convener became increasingly important this year. We worked to bring partners’ resources to Amani residents.
The Dominican Center works with residents and partners to build a better future. We could not see success in Amani without the dedication of more than 30 Amani partners. This year, as we watched the world slowly open and people come together, we brought 29 partners together for the Annual Amani Partners Meeting – which was held in-person for the first time since the pandemic began – at the Wisconsin Black Historical Society. Partners talked about their work and how it supports the Amani Revitalization Plan. Every partner present also signed the Neighborhood Agreement, ensuring that all partner organizations uphold the standards of a successful neighborhood. We also had another successful year of partnership activities with Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin, the organization that provides generous donations for our Mobile Food Pantries and our holiday giveaways. And we continue to work with the Amani partners involved in the Block by Block initiative, which aims to revitalize the entire neighborhood, one block at a time. But this year, we’ll tackle TWO blocks!
WHAT’S AHEAD The work we do aligns with the Amani
Revitalization Plan. Here are some initiative highlights that support our mission and vision.
Housing and Economic Development • Starting blocks 2 and 3 in the Block by Block initiative, while training residents in contracting. • We’ll continue to offer DIY home improvement supply grants.
Neighborhood Safety • We’ll increase Block Ambassadors and hold community safety meetings monthly. • We’ll engage residents through canvasing and surveys.
Education and Family Well-Being • We will reach our goal of 20 students enrolled in Adult Education. • We’ll offer healthy food to all Amani Residents and we’ll increase our hydroponics program.
DOMINICAN CENTER 2020 – 2021 FINANCIALS
Support and Revenue
Contributions Federal and state grants In-kind revenue
Interest and dividends Special Event
Community Outreach Direct Benefits to Donors Education
Fundraising Management and General
Programming Expenses r ra i Ex s s
Support Services Expenses
Contracted services Dominican Sisters assessment Facilities
Neighborhood revitalization Office expense Payroll taxes & benefits
Neighborhood revitalization Office expense Payroll taxes & benefits Salaries Travel, conferences, meals
Contracted services Dominican Sisters assessment Facilities
Information & technology Miscellaneous expenses
Information & technology Miscellaneous expenses
DOMINICAN CENTER BOARD & STAFF The Support Behind the Scenes
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Connie Kordsmeier Board President Janine Wagner Board Vice President Mike Bula Board Secretary Linda Bedford Community Volunteer Jessica Butler Community Volunteer Brandon Culpepper Community Volunteer Larsharae Hooker Community Volunteer Mary Howard Johnstone, OP Community Volunteer Sinsinawa Dominicans Hilary Kibaara Njagi Community Volunteer Barbara Smith Community Volunteer Past President, Amani United Rev. Mary Martha Kannass
Maricha Harris, M.A. Executive Director Isaiah Alexander
Facilities Maintenance Christina Chronister Communications Specialist Amanda Clark Youth Organizer Jerusa Johnson Community Organizer Wesley Landry Housing & Hydroponics Specialist Towanda Perkins Office Manager Barbara Wells
Education Coordinator Denisha Tate-McAlister Technical Assistant
Special thanks to Sr. Patricia Rogers, OP, who retired in June 2021 after 10 years of service as Dominican Center’s executive director; and to Denisha Tate-McAlister for serving as interim executive director.
Emerita Board Member Maricha Harris, Ex officio Executive Director, Dominican Center
DOMINICAN CENTER 2470 W. Locust Street, Milwaukee, WI 53206 www.dominican-center.org | (414) 444-9930Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8 Page 9 Page 10 Page 11 Page 12 Page 13 Page 14 Page 15 Page 16
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