For more almost 45 years, the Next Door Foundation has served the Milwaukee community by providing innovative programs and services to meet the changing needs of the central city community. Next Door began as a youth and young adult outreach program run by Our Saviors Lutheran Church in 1969. The agency was incorporated in 1971 and expanded its services to include children, opening its Cornerstone Children and Youth Center that same year.
Next Door is an education and social service center whose focus includes working with Milwaukee children and families to help build the educational and life skills they need to succeed. The agency’s mission is to support the intellectual, physical, spiritual and emotional development of children so they become self-sufficient, contributing members of the community.
The cornerstone of Next Door Foundation’s success is its ability to be on the cutting edge of developing new and innovative ways to meet the needs of the residents it serves. For example, in response to rising AODA issues in the community, in 1974 Next Door opened the Genesis Outpatient Alcohol and Drug Treatment program. And, during the 80s launched several other initiatives including the New Frontiers Employment and summer youth employment program and the Adult Education (ABE/GED) program to address youth unemployment and underemployment. And, in 1987 the agency was given Hope Apartments, located on North 27th Street, which provided permanent housing for low-income residents.
As the agency’s programming and services grew, so too did its need for larger facilities and in 1992 Next Door moved into the newly renovated Helwig Family Community Center. Shortly after that move Next Door held its first classroom-based Head Start program, while simultaneously shifting its focus to children—from birth to 12 years of age. With funding from Milwaukee Public Schools Next Door began its four and five year old kindergarten programs and in 1998, through a collaboration with Children’s Medical Group, opened a full service pediatric clinic in the Community Center.
While maintaining its focus on children, in 1999 Cardinal Stritch University also began offering college classes at the Helwig Community Center and in 2004 Next Door broke ground on the Educare Center.
Today, Next Door Foundation continues to offer a variety of programs including Adult Education, Birth to Three, Books for Kids, Educare Enrollment, Fatherhood, Health, Home-based Services, Leaders of Tomorrow, Next Door Head Start Charter School and Special Education.
Next Door Foundation truly embraces the notion it touts that help is “just next door” and for that, we applaud the agency for being a great neighborhood in the hood.