Partner Organizations Benefit Local Communities 

Select Milwaukee and Local Initiatives Support Corp. (LISC) teamed up to initiate the loan fund, a developing project that will financially aid local homebuyers. Executive directors of the partnering non-profit organizations said the loan fund is another step toward neighborhood stabilization. 

“The idea is to gain a pool of money that we can then return to our customers to help buy a home,” Raymond Schmidt, executive director of Select Milwaukee said. The loan fund will assist with home improvement, mortgages and home repair costs.  Schmidt and Leo Ries, executive director of LISC, are the loan fund’s lead partners and also, long-time friends. 

“Through [Select Milwaukee and LISC’s partnership,] we can get together to talk about what kind of systematic changes need to happen,” Dawn Hutchison-Weiss, director of communication at LISC said, “and how to work more closely with the city to help them address the foreclosures that they have.” 

Select Milwaukee, 2209 N. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr., serves Milwaukee homeowners and first-time home buyers with financial counseling, foreclosure prevention strategies and energy efficient initiatives. It celebrated its 20th anniversary on November 11 at Discovery World. 

Unlike Select Milwaukee, LISC does not do direct service. The Wisconsin branch of the national organization serves as Select Milwaukee’s intermediary in neighborhood projects. By connecting Select Milwaukee to banks and investors in the area, LISC, 660 Van Buren St., executes its homeownership revitalization strategies. 

“If we need an introduction to a person or organization they (LISC) are helping us to build those relationships,” Schmidt said. 

LISC provides Select Milwaukee with grants and loans to support their efforts in Clarke Square, Lindsay Heights, Layton Boulevard West, Washington Park and Harambee. 

On Dec. 7, Select Milwaukee was one of 15 finalists nominated for the 2012 Milwaukee Awards for Neighborhood Development Innovation (MANDI) in the Harris Bank Cornerstone Award, an award that honors an individual or organization with long-standing commitment to a neighborhood and has demonstrated persistence and effectiveness over time, according to LISC’s website.  

The MANDI award winners will be announced at a dinner on March 28 at the Pfister Hotel, 424 E. Wisconsin Ave. 

Chris Boston, director of sustainable communities at LISC, said it feels good to see Select Milwaukee nominated for the Harris Bank Cornerstone Award because dedicated staff members such as Executive Director Raymond Schmidt and Associate Director Irma Yépez-Klassen are so committed to their mission. 

When it comes to agency excellence, “they push the envelope,” he said.