Spring 2019
Public Policy Institute Insights
Friends --

Those dark days of winter finally seem to be over. Although many people hibernated inside, we took a different tack. Despite the frigid weather, we continued to reach out to the community with special events, training opportunities, and youth engagement. And we’re not finished. We have a unique event scheduled for Thursday, March 28, when the Public Policy Institute and the City of West Allis will offer a community conversation on poverty in the suburbs with Scott W. Allard. We’d love to see you there. You'll find details about the event and much more in this newsletter.

Happy Spring --
Kari Lerch
Deputy Director
Community Advocates Public Policy Institute
A Platform for Violence Prevention Awareness 
We were thrilled to welcome award-winning author Alex Kotlowitz to Milwaukee earlier this month. Kotlowitz, the author of the just-released An American Summer: Love and Death in Chicago , appeared at Boswell Book Company in a discussion moderated by WUWM’s Joy Powers and cosponsored by the City of Milwaukee Office of Violence Prevention. You may know Kotlowitz’s previous work, the acclaimed book There Are No Children Here and the documentary The Interrupters .

At Boswell, Kotlowitz discussed the very personal impact of gun violence on the dozens of Chicago residents he interviewed during the summer of 2013. "One story could not capture the breadth of the violence," he said.

Kotlowitz said that most of the people he interviewed had never spoken of their traumatic encounter.

"It became clear to me that people really hold on to this grief and sorrow…. The consequence of that is this sense of utter loneliness," he said. 
Reggie Moore, Director of the City’s Office of Violence Prevention , introduced Kotlowitz and encouraged those in attendance to read the city’s Blueprint for Peace and support violence prevention efforts.

"Instead of reacting to the negativity, how do we invest in the front end to strengthen and build up communities?" Moore said.

He also introduced his office’s violence interruption program and identified the interrupters in the audience. He said the team interrupted at least 26 potential incidents of gun violence since November. Since the cost of treating a single gunshot wound locally is roughly $68,000, "the return on investment in prevention is clear."

Did you miss Kotlowitz's Boswell appearance? Listen to his "Lake Effect" interview with Joy Powers .  
You're Invited:
A Conversation with Scott Allard
Author, Places in Need: The Changing Geography of Poverty
Thursday, March 28
Did you know that more poor people live in American suburbs than in our cities?

Contrary to long-held stereotypes of suburbs as places of affluence far from the needs and stresses of urban life, Scott W. Allard reveals the truth about 21st century suburbs in  Places in Need: The Changing Geography of Poverty . Allard explains that suburban poverty has more than doubled in the past 25 years and low-income households in the suburbs resemble their counterparts in the cities more than we realized. That said, suburbs don’t have adequate safety net support to meet the needs of their struggling residents.

Community Advocates Public Policy Institute  and the  City of West Allis  invite you to a lively, interactive conversation with Scott W. Allard on Thursday, March 28, from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. at West Allis City Hall, 7525 W. Greenfield Ave., West Allis. This free event is open to the public, but registration is required.  RSVP here.

Bring a friend! Bring resources to share, too. We're looking forward to brainstorming ways to prevent and reduce poverty in our communities.
State Leaders Assessed
Ways to Allow All Wisconsinites to Thrive
On February 8,   Community Advocates Public Policy Institute organized an insightful forum , "State Leaders Look Ahead: Which Policies Will Ensure All Wisconsinites Thrive?" with three Milwaukee legislators: State Senator LaTonya Johnson and State Representative Evan Goyke, both of whom serve on the budget-writing Joint Finance Committee, and State Representative Daniel Riemer, a member of the Assembly Ways and Means Committee. (State Senator Dale Kooyenga cancelled and wasn’t able to participate as planned.) PPI's Research and Program Coordinator Mike Bare moderated the discussion in Centennial Hall of the Milwaukee Public Library.

The legislators discussed strategies to ensure that all Wisconsinites thrive, including Transitional Jobs; access to affordable health care, housing, and child care; reliable transportation options; and criminal justice reform. Goyke also encouraged community members to form coalitions and reach out to legislators from both parties, from all parts of the state, to inform and enlighten them about the impact of their work.

"Where we live and the world around us shapes our view of policy and our agenda," said Goyke, who lives in the Sherman Park neighborhood.

MCSAP Youth Summit Asked:
What’s Your Natural High?
Too many young people think that smoking weed is the best way to have fun, cope with stress, and be cool. But, as they learned at the  Milwaukee County Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition’s Third Annual Youth Summit on March 15, there are plenty of ways to achieve a natural high.

Keynote speakers Kwabena Antoine Nixon and Khalil Coleman inspired the participants to do great things instead of getting hooked on drugs. The youth learned how to write a song, create a healthy snack, and use the self-defense system Krav Maga -- while also learning facts about the dangers of substance abuse.

MCSAP is a diverse coalition of Milwaukee County partners who prevent and reduce substance use and misuse. The coalition is coordinated by the Public Policy Institute.

We are so grateful for Neu-Life for hosting, allowing their Farmfork youth to cook a delicious taco bar for lunch, and helping to organize this event. What a day!
April Training Opportunities Announced
We’re excited about providing new training opportunities for youth workers, human services professionals, and community members from all walks of life. We’ve recently expanded our offerings on mental health, substance abuse and trauma, youth reentry issues, and more, to meet the needs of our community. Our Training and Technical Assistance Coordinator Jeremy Triblett is continually looking for ways to connect with groups and individuals who want to enhance their skills and understanding of behavioral health and trauma.

Thanks to sponsorship by ReCAST MKE through the City of Milwaukee Office of Violence Prevention, we’re offering these no-cost training opportunities in April:

Want to be the first to know about new training opportunities? Sign up for our email announcements at this link.
Applauding Our Public Ally, Amanda Clark
One of the benefits of working at the Public Policy Institute is being able to incorporate local members of Public Allies into our workplace and supporting their work. Public Allies helps to train and place diverse up-and-coming leaders in local nonprofits so they can fulfill their mission to help others and create lasting change in our communities. This year we’ve had the pleasure of welcoming Public Ally Amanda Clark, who devotes most of her time to the 53206 Drug-Free Communities Project but is also willing to jump in and help anywhere she's needed.

Amanda is an active member of Auer Avenue Community School's Leadership Team and has been helping to distribute food at their monthly community food pantry. She's developed connections with people coming to the pantry, so she used her time there as an opportunity to distribute a "Talk They Hear You" brochure, which helps parents or caregivers initiate a conversation with their youth about the importance of refraining from underage drinking.

Amanda also helped to start a mentoring group for students who weren't fulfilling their true potential.

"For me, being a mentor has been a rewarding experience that allows me to be the person my younger self needed," she explained. "One of the most effective ways to give back to your community is not necessarily money – it’s time."

Amanda was recently presented with a certificate of appreciation from Auer Avenue Community School and we wholeheartedly agree she's an asset to be appreciated. Keep an eye on Amanda – she's doing great things!

Public Allies Milwaukee will celebrate their 25th anniversary on April 15 at Turner Hall Ballroom. Get details and RSVP at this link.

[Photo, L-R: Auer Avenue Community School Principal Dr. Z. Walker, Amanda Clark, teacher Jennifer Johnson]
Community Advocates' 48 Hours of Giving
March 26-28
Each year, Community Advocates, the Public Policy Institute, and the Milwaukee Women’s Center provide top-notch services and programs to tens of thousands of adults and kids who need a helping hand.

The Public Policy Institute sponsors community events, offers professional training opportunities, facilitates coalitions, produces e-newsletters, advocates for nonpartisan policies to alleviate poverty, and distributes resources at no cost to those we serve.

We’re able to provide these services free of charge because of our generous donors, large and small. If you are considering giving to the Public Policy Institute, please do so during our 48 Hours of Giving campaign , March 26 through March 28, when Direct Supply and our Board of Directors will be matching the first $15,000 donated. We appreciate your support!
We’ve Got a New Look!
We relaunched our redesigned website earlier this month. Check out our new look and let us know your thoughts! Go to ppi.communityadvocates.net to take a tour of our new site.
Community Advocates
2019 Board of Directors
President: Sheree Dallas Branch | Public Relations Consultant
Vice President: Jodi Wire | We Energies
Treasurer: Sandra Samse | Johnson Keland Management
Secretary: Bryan House | Foley & Lardner, LLP

Board Members
Marquette Baylor | Aurora Health Care
Anne DeLeo | Community Volunteer
Valerie Gabriel | Community Volunteer
Dr. Stephen Hargarten | Medical College of Wisconsin
Erin Henry | Northwestern Mutual
Betsy Hoylman | Northwestern Mutual
Gary Ingram | Igary Events
Moriah Iverson | Medical College of Wisconsin
Sharon Jordan | Direct Supply
Pamela Klein | Fresh Coast Partners, LLC
Jim Liedtke | Community Volunteer
Kate Venne | Brady Corporation
Lisa Kaiser | Community Advocates Public Policy Institute | 414-270-2999  | lkaiser@communityadvocates.net | ppi.communityadvocates.net