The board of directors of the Zilber Family Foundation has awarded a $100,000 grant to Neu-Life Community Development in order to remodel its program facilities and create an attractive, safe environment for youth and family programming.
Neu-Life is one of 11 nonprofits awarded grants totaling $2,225,000 at the spring meeting of the Foundation’s board of directors.
The award will assist Neu-Life in its first-ever capital campaign to remodel the building that the organization—which provides afterschool, weekend, and summer programming for more than 1,200 youth—has occupied for 14 years at 2014 W. North Ave. Neu-Life serves an average of 200 youth per day at three sites. The grant is one of the first for Neu-Life’s $600,000 campaign to renovate the facilities and make them accessible. Funds will be used to construct an Americans with Disabilities Act-accessible entrance with an elevator, remodel bathrooms, and update HVAC, plumbing, and electrical systems.
Renovations will also include new program space for a computer and homework lab, a creative arts room with a music studio and dance rehearsal space, a test kitchen area for cooking programs and food storage, and a room designed specifically for youth to create and display art.
“The renovations will allow us to provide an invigorating space for our young people to develop the social, emotional, and creative skills they need to make good life choices,” said Joann Harris-Comodore, chief executive officer of Neu-Life. “We plan to stay in our building and be a part of the Lindsay Heights neighborhood for decades to come.”
Over the past 14 years, Neu-Life has become an anchor organization in the Lindsay Heights, perhaps because the neighborhood is quite young when it comes to residents’ age. More than 40% of Lindsay Heights residents are under the age of 18, compared to about 29% in the City of Milwaukee.
“The high concentration of children in the neighborhood makes it especially important to offer high quality afterschool and summer activities for young people,” said Susan Lloyd, executive director of the Zilber Family Foundation. “The Foundation’s board of directors is pleased to assist Neu-Life in this campaign, and recognizes the critical value of supporting youth and families where they live.”
Neu-Life strives to empower youth with skills and strategies to make better life choices. By promoting personal accountability, responsibility, and respect, Neu-Life helps young people develop the positive self-image and life management skills that enable them to develop in positive ways and avoid unhealthy behaviors.
The Zilber Family Foundation grant is part of a larger strategy to improve conditions in neighborhoods and make them good places for children and youth to grow up. Community members identified youth, families, and lifelong learning as high priorities in 2008 when the Foundation launched the Zilber Neighborhood Initiative, a 10-year, $50 million commitment to improving quality of life in three Milwaukee neighborhoods.