December 2021-January 2022
Community Advocates Connections

A new year is a good time to take stock of where we are and where we want to go. Given the hardships and adversity of the past few years, I’m always impressed by the incredible resilience, creativity, and generosity demonstrated by those we serve, our staff, and our supporters. It’s because of this resilience that I feel grateful for our community and hopeful about our future. Stay safe and be well.

In gratitude,
Andi Elliott
Chief Executive Officer
Community Advocates
To Our Valued Donors and Volunteers,
Thank You for Your Support!
As we welcome a new year, everyone at Community Advocates is very grateful for the wonderful support of our friends and donors over the past year! Special thanks to the hundreds of individual donors and volunteers who so generously invested in our programs and those we serve! We couldn’t do what we do without you!

To our volunteer Board of Directors, thank you for your donations of time and expertise and continued leadership, commitment, mentorship, and generosity!

Many thanks to our corporate and foundation donors who also help us advance our mission by providing general and direct program support! Most recently, we’d like to acknowledge the support from the following companies and foundations:

  • American Family Insurance Dreams Foundation, Inc.
  • Anon Charitable Trust
  • Bader Philanthropies, Inc.
  • Balistreri's Bluemound Inn
  • Batzner Family Fund
  • Brady Corporation Foundation, Inc.
  • Brewers Community Foundation, Inc.
  • Chudnayshun-The Nicholas Samuel Chudnow Donor Advised Fund
  • Direct Supply Foundation
  • Eaton Charitable Fund
  • Felcenera Charitable Fund at the East Bay Community Foundation
  • Glick Gives Fund, a fund of Central Indiana Community Foundation
  • Greater Milwaukee Foundation – Lawlis Family Fund & Metz Family Fund
  • House Family Foundation
  • Herb Kohl Philanthropies
  • Krause Family Foundation, Inc.
  • The Locke Family Foundation
  • Northwestern Mutual Foundation
  • Francie Luke Silverman Foundation
  • We Energies Foundation
  • Joseph and Vera Zilber Charitable Foundation

On behalf of Community Advocates, the Milwaukee Women’s Center, and the Public Policy Institute, we appreciate each and every one of you!
Cedarburg Donors Featured on TMJ4’s Positively Milwaukee
We are grateful for every gift given to the individuals and families who utilize our programs and services. Recently, TMJ4's Positively Milwaukee featured a Facebook group, Cedarburg Women for Christmas Cheer, founded by Staci Oakes, which has given generously to the Milwaukee Women’s Center's Emergency Shelter's guests. In 2020, the group gave $100 Kohl’s gift cards to the women in the shelter. This past holiday season, they covered the cost of 100 gift certificates, plus toys for the kids and handwritten Christmas cards.

"Sometimes a lot of us get very emotional because we get excited to see all the stuff that we have to give to the families, especially the children," Emergency Shelter Manager Shamika Mays told TMJ4. "We have enough donations to get the children sometimes 2 to 3, even 4 or 5 different items, which makes us feel great."

"Our goal is just to make them feel special and give them something that gives them some worth and really something that was all theirs to look forward to," Staci Oakes said.

On behalf of the staff and guests at the Milwaukee Women’s Center, thank you!
New SAMHSA Grant Allows Community Advocates to
Expand Mental Health and Wellness Workshops
Community Advocates is happy to announce that our Public Policy Institute will be expanding its mental health and wellness workshops thanks to a five-year grant from the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The workshops are intended to reach Milwaukee County residents who are typically under-served by the current behavioral health system and aim to improve emotional literacy and access to culturally appropriate services.

Community Advocates’ Mental Health Awareness Training project (CA-MHAT) prioritizes Milwaukee County’s low-income African Americans, Spanish speakers, Hmong residents, LGBTQ+ individuals, Native Americans, and first responders—as well as those who work with and love them. These Milwaukeeans often find barriers to care, whether it’s because they face stigma, don’t feel that traditional providers understand them, struggle with English, or face a long wait before obtaining services or treatment.

One component of the CA-MHAT project is to provide information about and access to services for those who want to take the next step in addressing their mental health or substance use issues.

We are currently offering Adult Mental Health First Aid, Mental Health First Aid for Adults Who Work with Youth, and QPR: Question, Persuade, Refer Suicide Prevention workshops, and we’ll be adding Forward Communications' Mindful Gratitude sessions, a de-escalation workshop, and a workshop in Spanish. We’ve also created a Mental Health and Wellness Resource Guide, which will be updated as needed.

Please check out and bookmark PPI’s online calendar to RSVP for our Winter 2022 workshop offerings, and sign up for our training emails at this link to learn about workshops as they become available. If you want to become a partner or host a workshop for your staff, clients, or community members, please contact us.
Milwaukee Mayoral Candidate Forum
Monday, January 31
Milwaukee voters will elect a new mayor this spring. To help voters learn more about the candidates, Community Advocates Public Policy Institute is co-sponsoring a virtual forum with the primary candidates on Monday, January 31, along with Disability Rights Wisconsin, MICAH, Milwaukee Mental Health Task Force, Rid Racism, Wisconsin Disability Vote Coalition, and Milwaukee Turners.

Candidates attending will be Alderwoman Marina Dimitrijevic, former Alderman Bob Donovan, Ieshuh Griffin, Acting Mayor Cavalier Johnson, Sheriff Earnell Lucas, Michael Sampson, and State Senator Lena Taylor.

Emilio De Torre of Milwaukee Turners will moderate.

It’ll be held on Zoom from 7-8:30 p.m. on Monday, January 31. Registration is required. RSVP at this link, and feel free to send a question you would like to be considered for the candidates.

To request disability-related accommodations, including ASL interpreters, include your request on your registration. Please make your request as soon as possible; we will do our best to fill requests received after January 24. ASL interpreters and captioning will be provided.
Milwaukee Women’s Center Wish List
Can you help the Milwaukee Women’s Center’s Emergency Shelter meet the needs of their guests? We serve families and individuals who have experienced homelessness or domestic violence, and most of them come into shelter with few belongings. We're currently seeking these items for our guests:

  • Bath and face towels
  • Twin size sheet sets
  • Twin size bed bug covers
  • Pillows
  • New underwear (adults and children, all sizes)
  • Bras (all sizes)
  • Pack 'n Plays
  • Car seats, strollers, and high chairs

If you are able to give, please reach out to Jeri at to ensure receipt of your donation. Thank you!
CA Continues Support for Tenants and Landlords
Community Advocates continues to support tenants and landlords in Milwaukee and Waukesha counties who are struggling to pay their bills. To apply, go to, call 414-270-4646, or email
We also understand the frustrations and anxiety of property owners who may be considering evicting a tenant who owes back rent. Along with the Apartment Association of Southeastern Wisconsin and other rental housing stakeholders, we encourage property owners to consider alternatives to costly and time-consuming eviction, such as neutral mediation services, rental assistance, and tenant relocation assistance provided by the Milwaukee Rental Housing Resource Center. Property owners should contact the RHRC at, by emailing or by calling 414-895-RENT (7368).
There's Still Time to Sign Up for Energy Assistance Benefits
Community Advocates is proud to continue our partnership in the Milwaukee County Energy Assistance Program. The new benefits season began October 1 and, as we did last year, we will be meeting with all clients on the phone to ensure everyone’s health and safety. You can get details about the program at and schedule your appointment now at that website or by calling 414-270-4MKE (4653).
We're Hiring!
Community Advocates is seeking qualified applicants for the following positions:

  • Database Developer
  • Energy Assistance Advocate
  • Lead Energy Assistance Advocate
  • Housing Advocate Case Manager
  • HR Generalist
  • Peer Support Specialist
  • Shelter Advocate (1st and 3rd Shifts)

Community Advocates’ Services and Resources during COVID-19
While Community Advocates' sites are closed to the public due to COVID-19, we are still providing services and resources to our community members on the phone and via email.

You can get in touch with us in the following ways:

Community Advocates
2022 Board of Directors
President: Jodi Wire | We Energies
Vice President: Bryan House | Foley & Lardner, LLP
Treasurer: Sandra Samse | Johnson Keland Management
Secretary: Sharon Jordan | Direct Supply

Board Members
Sheree Dallas Branch | The Salvation Army
Anne DeLeo | Community Volunteer
Natasha Dotson | Milwaukee Fatherhood Initiative
Valerie Gabriel | Community Volunteer
Erin Henry | Northwestern Mutual
Gary Ingram | Igary Events
Pamela Klein | Community Volunteer
Jim Liedtke | Community Volunteer
Ashley Pavlic | Medical College of Wisconsin
Alexandra Urrutia-Comas | Advocate Aurora Health
Kate Venne | Brady Corporation
Lisa Kaiser | Community Advocates | 414-270-2999  | |