December 30 2009
Our 50 Meet The Need Organizations: Agape Center, Alma Center, Artists Working In Education, Children’s Service Society of Wisconsin, City Year, COA Youth & Family Centers, Community Advocates, Core El Centro, Crisis Resource Center, Dominican Center for Women, Educare (Next Door Foundation), Family House, Fondy Food Martket, Grand Avenue Club, Healing Center, Hmong American Peace Academy, Hunger Task Force, Journey House, Joy House (Milwaukee Rescue Mission), Lissy’s Place (My Home Your Home), Margaret Ann’s Place, Milwaukee Women’s Center, Milwaukee LGBT Center, Milwaukee VA, NAMI Greater Milwaukee, Nia Imani Family, Neu Life Community Resource Center, Open Door Café, Pan-African Community Association, Pathfinders, Planned Parenthood, Project Return, Rebuilding Together Milwaukee, Repairers of the Breach, Running Rebels, Salvation Army of Greater Milwaukee, Select Milwaukee, SHARE Wisconsin- Milwaukee Mobile Market, Sherman Park Family Resource Center (CSSW #2), 16th Street Community Health Clinic, Sojourner Truth Family Peace Center, St. Ben’s Community Meal Program, St. Rose Youth & Family Center, United Cerebral Palsy, United Community Center, Voces de la Frontera, Walker’s Point Youth & Family Center, Waukesha Food Pantry, Women’s Center of Waukesha, WRTP/Big Step Listen: Sometime this Spring, an idea for our Meet The Need campaign came up: 50 organizations in 50 days. Something about "50 in 50" made me smile from ear to ear. Why? It might have been the huge volume of coverage we could provide organizations that frequently don't have much of a voice in our local media. It might have been the chance to approach the idea of basic needs from a host of different angles and perspectives . It might have been the sheer amount of elbow grease, coordination, and late nights it would require to get it all done. For awhile, we thought about scaling back -- 25 in 25? 40 in 40? Really? Not that 50 is a number with any special significance to the number of non-profits serving basic and human needs in the city, but it just sounds good. 50 in 50 has a real ring to it. Not a terribly complicated motivation, but we did it. 50 organizations in 50 days. Check the blog -- they're all there. Coming into this campaign, we were worried that the organizations might start to blend together. That we would be doing a disservice to them by not allowing the organizations to properly differentiate themselves. But after the first week of interviews (22 in depth conversations!), that fear quickly dissolved. Organizations do serve similar populations and sometimes their operations might look similar on the surface. That is true. However, each approach to serving their clients/members/guests, without exception, was unique. The proof has been spread over the past 50 days, but I can give you an example that comes to mind. When scheduling the broadcast day for our organizations, we tried to distribute organizations with like focuses throughout the calendar. So two emergency shelters were not featured on consecutive days and organizations working with early education were spread out, et cetera. In the meal program department, we had two groups that on the surface, might appear to be exactly the same. St. John's Open Door Cafe and St. Ben's are both ministries running 6-days-a-week programs serving folks in need of a hot meal. Honestly, coming into the campaign, I wouldn't have been able to tell you the difference between the two. However, take a listen to their short audio pieces (follow the links through their names above). The Open Door Cafe draws both from the business community around it and the folks they serve to get food on the table. On the other hand, St. Ben's draws from Milwaukee's diverse and sometimes seemingly disparate religious community, getting a meal each day of the month from a different church/temple/mosque. Neither is the single right way to solve the problem, but both are effective. These two approaches connect Milwaukee in wonderful ways, drawing on wholly distinct parts of the community. These kinds of comparisons exist throughout the campaign, and they will be there as long as this blog and the internet are around for you to explore. I'm not sure if we're going to bite off this big of a project for next year's Meet The Need (and then again, maybe the scope and smiles will be bigger...), but it was an absolute joy for us at 88Nine to sink our teeth into this side of Milwaukee. We certainly did not cover every organization serving basic and human needs in town (as my brother working for Neighborhood House continually reminds me), but really, that was a point we wanted to make. There is a huge amount of good work going on in the community, more than we can cover, and even more is needed. We tried to make it easy for our listeners to connect to this good work, to get a glimpse from the comfort of your home or car or desk. The best we can do is plant a seed in a listener, sparking them to go out and learn, volunteer, or donate. It's difficult to quantify our impact since we work in broadcast media, but regardless, it's been a privilege to create a document featuring the beautiful patchwork of service going on Milwaukee. Our deepest thanks go out to each participating organization and all of our loyal listeners. If you have a comment, either as a participant or listener, we'd love to hear what you have to share in the comments section.