Voices United


Voices United

A United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County Blog


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Cold Weather Resource Guide

November 13, 2019

As temperatures drop, please share this important information about warming rooms with folks who may benefit. We will continue to share updates on warming room resources throughout the cold-weather season.

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Blog Categories
  • Financial Stability
  • Health
  • Homelessness

Podcast: #DVAM

October 21, 2019

Listen Now (00:14:42)


Sensitivity warning: This podcast contains references to instances of domestic abuse, sexual assault, and violence.  Please take whatever precautions necessary to protect yourself emotionally and psychologically. 

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Blog Categories
  • Health
Categories: Health

Modernizing expungement law in Wisconsin

September 26, 2019

Written in partnership with Milwaukee Metropolitan Association of Commerce, United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County, and Waukesha County Business Alliance

How do you measure the power of a job? For many, it’s measured in dollars and cents—money needed to pay for everyday expenses like housing, food, education and insurance.

For others, the power of a job goes much further than money. It’s about value and worth. It’s about confidence, empowerment and living with a purpose.

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The one period students shouldn’t have to worry about in school.

September 16, 2019

Between school, friends, family, and extra-curriculars, being a teen can be tough. And for those young people who have started to menstruate but don’t have the means to purchase hygiene supplies, it's even tougher. 

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Friendship & Food Trucks

LINC volunteers and members of the Harry & Rose Samson Family JCC "Chaverim" program

September 6, 2019

At United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County, we love connecting people with unique opportunities to give back to their community. 

In Hebrew, the word “chaverim” means “friends,” and friendship was the theme at a recent LINC event. 

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Podcast: Ending Family Homelessness

August 29, 2019

Listen Now (00:21:09)


United Way and our community partners have set a goal: end family homelessness by 2025.

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Blog Categories
  • Financial Stability

Lifelong Learning through Volunteerism

Gary Sprong

July 1, 2019

Written by Meghan Marsden Parsche, United Way volunteer blogger


Many people end up using skills they developed in their careers by volunteering in retirement. But for Gary Sprong, it was a desire to learn something new in retirement that inspired him to volunteer.


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Meet the 2019 Philanthropic 5

June 19, 2019

Each year, United Way's Emerging Leaders honor five community leaders in their 20s, 30s and 40s who give, advocate and volunteer for change through the Philanthropic 5 Awards. The Philanthropic Youth award recognizes a youth community leader under 21 years old.

Meet our 2019 award winners: Liz Caldwell, Jilly Gokalgandhi, Mike Maschek, Jason Rae, Keith Stanley and Philanthropic Youth winner Erica Lofton.

Help us celebrate these winners at our annual Philanthropic 5 Awards event on Thursday, August 8th at Venue Forty Two. Register today!

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Podcast: Fatherhood

Hopkins Lloyd Community School parent Bobby McKnight with daughter Nivea and grandson Isaac.

June 19, 2019

Listen Now (00:25:35)


Happy Father's Day! In this episode, we celebrate the love, hard work, and quality time that local dads give to their children and explore the ways that being a dad has changed, and all the ways it never will.

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Blog Categories
  • Education
  • Health
  • Volunteer
Categories: Education, Health, Volunteer

2019 Women United Bruncheon Recap

May 16, 2019

Each year, United Way’s Women’s Leadership Council welcomes hundreds of guests to The Pfister Grand Ballroom to celebrate the impact of women on our local community. Thank you to all those that attended this year's event! Take a look at some of the highlights from today's program. 

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Blog Categories
  • Women's Leadership
Categories: Women's Leadership

Gail Lione finds Strength in Numbers with Women United

Gail Lione (left) and Linda Mellowes at the 2019 Women United Bruncheon event

May 15, 2019

Congratulations to Gail Lione on winning the 2019 Linda T. Mellowes Women Leader of the Year Award!

Gail Lione is a powerful leader and passionate advocate for women, both personally and professionally. As Chair of the Women United Global Leadership Council for United Way Worldwide, Gail leads a global force of 75,000+ women dedicated to creating a world of opportunity for everyone.

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Blog Categories
  • Women's Leadership
Categories: Women's Leadership

Retire United Event Recap: Recognizing the Signs of Normal vs. Not-normal Aging

May 10, 2019

The Retire United 2019 Spring Connection Event was an expert discussion on signs of normal versus not-normal aging. Patricia Durham, ADPC/MC, PAC Certified Trainer, PAC Certified Engagement Leader and Senior Director of Life Enrichment at Heritage at Deer Creek shared her expertise and passion for understanding dementia and assisting older adults and their families.


This event was sponsored by Vesta Senior Network, a local organization that helps older adults and their families navigate the world of long-term care and find the solution that is right for them.

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Podcast: The Power of a Job

April 23, 2019

Listen Now (00:31:43)


How do you measure the power of a job? For many, it’s gauged in dollars and cents, money needed to pay for everyday expenses: housing, food, education, and insurance. For others, the power of a job goes much further than money; it’s about value and worth, about confidence, empowerment, and living with a purpose.

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Blog Categories
  • Financial Stability

Milwaukee Community School Wins Green Award!

Lincoln Avenue student "Green Team" members with their Sugar Maple Award banner.

April 22, 2019

In observance of Earth Day 2019, we celebrate the amazing achievements of one of our very own Milwaukee Community Schools!

In November 2018, Lincoln Avenue Elementary on Milwaukee’s South Side was awarded “Sugar Maple” status by Green and Healthy Schools Wisconsin, the program’s highest possible designation. Lincoln Avenue is now only one of 35 schools in the state - and one of the only bilingual schools in an urban environment - to achieve this designation.

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Milwaukee Named My Brother’s Keeper Alliance “Community to Watch”

From left: Mike Peeples, Shannon Reed, and Donovan Hemphill

April 19, 2019

We are proud to announce that Milwaukee was recently named a My Brother’s Keeper Alliance (MBKA) “Community to Watch.”


President Barack Obama launched My Brother’s Keeper in 2014 to address the persistent opportunity gaps faced by boys and young men of color and to ensure all youth can reach their full potential.

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Financial Planner Helps Women in Need Become Financially Stable

Mandee Pope (R) and a guest at the 2018 Financial Empowerment Seminar

April 17, 2019

Written by Meghan Marsden Parsche, United Way volunteer blogger

As a financial planner, Mandee Pope partners with high net worth clients to help them reach their financial goals. As a United Way volunteer, she has been able to apply her skills and passion for financial empowerment of women, fulfilling a huge need in the community.

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The Vello Experience

A student reads with a virtual volunteer through Vello.

March 12, 2019

Written by Patrice Burrell, Vello Volunteer

I always loved working with students and supporting them in the classroom. In the past, I volunteered as a classroom assistant and I had been looking for ways to get involved with children in school once again. I was intrigued when I discovered an opportunity to become an online literacy tutor. It was something new and different for me, and the idea of being able to help a child learn to read really spoke to me.

I wanted to learn more.

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SoftwareOne & Technology United Empower Employees to Give Back

SoftareOne employees at a recent volunteer event.

March 8, 2019

Written by Patty Ravencroft, director of people and culture, SoftwareOne

I often think about this quote from our late president and CEO Patrick Winter: “It’s not about work-life balance, it’s about work-life harmony.” Patrick knew that there isn’t a clean line between work and life, but a blending of the two. At SoftwareOne, we want to help our employees lead happy, fulfilling lives both in and out of the workplace.

This philosophy recently inspired a new strategy for our North American business called “Vision 2022.” Within this vision, our executive leadership board decided not only on three business-related pillars, but also on three pillars centered around our people. At SoftwareOne, we don’t make widgets; our entire business is about people. When we focus on our people - current employees, prospective employees, and clients - we become not only more successful in business, but a more successful community.

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Celebrating Black History 365 Days a Year

February 28, 2019

Written by Linda McFerrin, retired Vice President of Resource Development at United Way

February is Black History Month, an opportunity for people to learn about the numerous, significant contributions that Black Americans have made - and are still making - in every aspect of our daily lives.

But Black History Month does not end for me on February 28 -- I try to celebrate it 365 days a year. There are so many things that Black Americans have done to make contributions to our world, things we use every day, things that make our lives easier, and things we take for granted. For example (and thank you to Judge Derek Mosley for sharing this story on Facebook), a Black American woman named Gladys West was part of the original team of engineers who developed the Global Positioning System (GPS), something that is used in every segment of this global society. We would literally be “lost” without Ms. West’s contributions.

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Podcast: The Next Generation

February 26, 2019

Listen Now (00:28:33)


Jobs in the technology field are growing, but as these jobs continue to grow, the workforce skilled enough to take these jobs are decreasing. The same can be said for trade jobs.

So how do we build a workforce that is ready to take on these positions? What can we do today to support our next generation?

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Blog Categories
  • IT United
Categories: IT United

Celebrating Incredible Community Members at Annual Meeting

(From left) Jackie Herd-Barber, Ilona Abrahamson, and Vincent Lyles

February 22, 2019

On February 21, 2019, United Way held our Annual Meeting. This event allows donors and stakeholders an opportunity to see how their investment is being put to work in the community.

One of our favorite parts of this event is the presentation of the Gwen T. Jackson Community Service Award, the John A. Puelicher Award for Loaned Executive Excellence, and the Linda McFerrin Award for African American Nonprofit Leadership. Meet this year’s winners!

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Blog Categories
  • Awards
Categories: Awards

Introducing Technology United!

February 15, 2019

Written by John Dunn, VP – Digital Supply Chain, GE Healthcare and Technology United Council Co-chair

It’s official: IT United, the United Way donor network of technology professionals making a difference in our community through giving, volunteerism, and advocacy, will now be known as Technology United.

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Blog Categories
  • IT United
  • Technology United

How United Way Responds to Urgent Needs

February 7, 2019

Written by Nicole Angresano, vice president of Community Impact at United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County

When the community needs a hand, United Way is here to help.

In addition to investing year-round in local programs and initiatives, our team at United Way responds to urgent community needs with financial and volunteer support when and where it’s needed most.

When temperatures plummeted well below freezing last week, I reached out to our program partners to determine how we could support their critical work. These are nonprofit agencies that provide a safe, warm bed for individuals with no place to stay; nutritious meals to individuals and families in transition; and so much more.

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Three things I’ve learned about leadership

January 21, 2019

Leading the Way

The recipient of the 2018 Linda McFerrin Award for African American Nonprofit Leadership is Vincent Lyles. Vincent served as the president and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee from 2011 to 2018. Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee is the largest youth-serving organization in the city of Milwaukee, with more than 750 employees and over 2,000 volunteers.

Cory Nettles of Generation Growth Capital, Inc. and the Chairman of the Board of United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County announced the award on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

“Vincent Lyles has been among the strongest nonprofit leaders in our community. He did a great job scaling Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee impact in our community, particularly related to programming sites and especially related to the number of kids served each day. He is the perfect recipient of the Linda McFerrin Award for African American Leadership.”

Each year, a nonprofit leader will be selected by United Way’s Diversity Leadership Society and a $5,000 grant will be made by United Way to the organization they represent.

We asked Vincent to share some insights and ideas on being an effective leader.

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Blog Categories
  • Agency Partners
  • Awards
Categories: Agency Partners, Awards

How United Way Staff are Giving Back in 2019

December 31, 2018

As United Way staff, we get to spend every day helping the community, but that doesn’t mean we clock out on giving back when 5 o’clock hits! Looking for creative ideas for how to give back in 2019? Check out some of our resolutions…

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Sharing our Blessings through Year-End Giving

(From left) United Way President Amy Lindner, Board Chair Cory Nettles, and CEO Mary Lou Young.

December 20, 2018

Written by Cory Nettles, Founder and Managing Director of Generation Growth Capital, Inc. and Chairman of the Board for United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County.

At United Way, we often hear from our nonprofit partners that winter is a time of incredible need. Between the cold weather and the holidays, many individuals and families in our community could use a helping hand.

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We did it…together!

United Way Board Chair Cory Nettles and Campaign Co-chairs Cristy Garcia-Thomas, David Gay, and Don Layden announce the campaign total.

December 13, 2018

Written by Amy Lindner, President, United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County


Looking back on this year, my first with United Way, I am overwhelmed with gratitude. Each and every day, I witnessed United Way donors, volunteers, advocates, and staff show up to fight for what really matters: a home for every family, nutritious food for every student, access to healthcare for every expectant mother, and a family-sustaining job for everyone who needs it. It truly brought to life one of my favorite phrases: great things happen when we live United.

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Changes are Coming this Tax Season

November 29, 2018

Written by Crystal Monsivais, Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) site coordinator, La Casa de Esperanza

Ready or not, here comes tax season! Are you ready? There are new changes to our tax laws that may catch you unprepared. The IRS has a way for you to better prepare yourself and it’s by using their Withholding Calculator.

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Podcast: The Power of Elevating the Voices of Women in Our Community

(From left) Jasmine Johnson, Mary Lou Young, Gail Lione, Jayne Hladio, and Cristy Garcia-Thomas

November 27, 2018

Produced by Katie Kuhn, United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County

Listen Now (00:56:30)


On Wednesday, November 7, United Way’s Emerging Leaders and Women United joined forces to present a fall leadership panel featuring notable change-makers in our local community. Panelists discussed the growing power and influence women play as advocates and leaders in the workplace, community, and beyond. Moderator Gail Lione, Dentons, spoke with Cristy Garcia-Thomas, Advocate Aurora Health Care; Jayne Hladio, US Bank; Jasmine Johnson, ManpowerGroup; and Mary Lou Young, United Way on this topic.

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Blog Categories
  • Women's Leadership
Categories: Women's Leadership

We ate…we shopped…now we give back!

November 21, 2018

The Thanksgiving holiday has expanded to so much more than just good food and gratitude with family. Thanksgiving also ushers in the official start to the holiday season, when many people celebrate not only by purchasing gifts for friends and family, but by spreading love and cheer to those in need.

“Giving Tuesday,” the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, is a great opportunity to kick off the season on a high note. While the word “giving” may bring a monetary donation to mind, there are lots of other ways to give (though if you’d like to make a donation to United Way this year, click here)!

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