Summer 2021
Public Policy Institute Insights
Friends –

We have been busy building coalitions that address pressing concerns such as substance misuse, equitable tax reform advocacy, and COVID-19 relief—all of which will enable our community to come out of this pandemic more stable and strong. Of course, we couldn’t do this without the support of our generous donors and partners, who even in times of crisis step up to contribute to our work. On behalf of all of us at Community Advocates Public Policy Institute, thank you for supporting our projects now and in the future.

Kari Southern
Deputy Director
Community Advocates Public Policy Institute
Africa Lucas Joins PPI
Africa Lucas is the new Prevention Manager at Community Advocates Public Policy Institute, and for her, it’s more than a job. It’s taking all of her personal and professional experience coupled with strategic implementation to bring about innovative change in our community. 

"I'm extremely excited," she said about joining PPI. "Out of all of my career paths, this feels like full circle to me."

PPI’s National Convening Discussed Periodic Payments of Tax Credits to Help Low-Wage Workers
On four Mondays this spring, more than 60 poverty, revenue, and benefits experts came together virtually to discuss how the periodic payment of tax credits could help working families make ends meet, especially during an economic downturn.

Congresswoman Moore Visited Community Advocates
On July 23, Community Advocates hosted Congresswoman Gwen Moore, who announced the reintroduction of the Worker Relief and Credit Reform Act, which would expand the Earned Income Tax Credit to low-income caregivers and students. Moore’s bill would provide tax credits of up to $4,000 for single filers and $8,000 for married couples, with the option of receiving monthly payments. Community Advocates Public Policy Institute and the Economic Security Project organized the event. Watch the coverage on CBS 58 here and WISN 12 here.
PPI’s 2020 Impact Report
2020 was a tough year, but PPI pivoted swiftly to meet the needs in the community with the release of the groundbreaking report Home Is Where Our Health Is: Policies to Improve the Health of Renters in Milwaukee and Beyond, advocacy for policies that alleviate suffering and promote health and prosperity, the development of mental health and wellness virtual resource fairs and community trainings, and much more. You can get the details in our 2020 impact report.
The Bucks and MCSAP Are a Slam Dunk
The Milwaukee County Substance Abuse Prevention coalition (MCSAP), which is coordinated by PPI, is grateful for the NBA Champion Milwaukee Bucks' generosity. Throughout the team’s playoff and finals home games, MCSAP members and our community volunteers worked at Fiserv Forum’s concessions stands. A portion of the proceeds collected will be donated to MCSAP. These volunteers also got an extra perk by being able to watch some of the Bucks' amazing games. We hope to be back next year for another championship title!
Tsunami of Support for Tenants and Landlords
You’ve heard about a potential "tsunami of evictions" when the eviction moratorium ends, but there’s a "tsunami of support" for tenants and landlords too. Community Advocates is administering the rental assistance program in Milwaukee and Waukesha counties for those who have lost income due to the pandemic or other hardship. Begin the application process here. Landlords are encouraged to seek out alternative forms of assistance before turning to eviction to settle disputes with tenants. The Milwaukee Rental Housing Resource Center is always ready to help.
Child Tax Credit Resources
On July 15, as part of President Biden’s American Rescue Plan, parents began receiving advance payments of the expanded Child Tax Credit, a historic program that has the power to cut childhood poverty in half. The payments have increased and more families are eligible to help them cover the costs of raising kids in an uncertain economy. More than 1.1 million kids in Wisconsin will receive this benefit—with no strings attached.

Parents or caregivers who filed federal income taxes in 2019 or 2020 or received a stimulus check should receive their monthly advance payments mid-month for the rest of 2021. The balance of the payments will be made when they file their 2021 taxes.

However, parents or caregivers who are not required to file federal income taxes will have to fill out a form so they can participate in this program.

Community Advocates aims to connect with these "non filers" so they can receive their tax credit.

We’ve provided resources in English and Spanish on our website and we’re partnering with organizations in Milwaukee and nationally to get the word out.

Please share these resources widely and send questions to Julie Kerksick at

As part of our outreach, in June we organized a virtual community conversation with Sen. Tammy Baldwin and partners to discuss the positive impacts of the American Rescue Plan on Wisconsin families, and on July 15, we co-sponsored "Family Matters: A Virtual Celebration of the Child Tax Credit," which featured keynote remarks by Vice President Kamala Harris, plus speakers Rev. William Barber II, Ai-jen Poo, Sen. Raphael Warnock, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and many more. The event was organized by Economic Security Project and Building Back Together. If you missed the rally, you can watch it on our Facebook page anytime.
August 31: MCSAP Overdose Awareness Day Memorial Event: Meet in Zeidler Union Square, 301 W. Michigan St., to remember those we have lost to overdose, share resources, and learn how to prevent overdoses from claiming one more life. This community event is free and will be held from 12 noon to 3 p.m. Details here.

September 1 & 2: Introduction to Trauma and Substance Use: Learn about the interconnection of trauma and substance use in this two-hour Zoom session presented by PPI. It’s being offered twice for your convenience from 9 to 11 a.m. RSVPs are required. Sign up for the September 1 session here and the September 2 session here.

September 15: Transitional Jobs Collaborative Meeting: The public is welcome to attend the monthly meeting of the Milwaukee Transitional Jobs Collaborative, which seeks to obtain local, state and federal funding for Transitional Jobs and strives to see that such funding is used effectively. Contact Conor Williams for details.

September 22: Milwaukee Reentry Council Meeting: All are welcome to attend the monthly Milwaukee Reentry Council meeting, which is devoted to removing barriers for those leaving incarceration and returning to Milwaukee. Contact Conor Williams for details.
Community Advocates
2021 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
Betsy Hoylman | Northwestern Mutual
Gary Ingram | Igary Events
Pamela Klein | Community Volunteer
Jim Liedtke | Community Volunteer
Ashley Pavlic | Medical College of Wisconsin
Noceeba Southern | United States Social Security Administration
Alexandra Urrutia-Comas | Advocate Aurora Health
Kate Venne | Brady Corporation
Lisa Kaiser | Community Advocates Public Policy Institute | 414-270-2999  | |