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BloodCenter of Wisconsin

A 1949 photograph of the Junior League's Blood Center storefront on Wells Street just a few years after its founding.
In 1947, the JUNIOR LEAGUE of MILWAUKEE founded a blood center to deliver blood from donors to patients. By 2012, the BloodCenter of Wisconsin annually provided more than 300,000 units of blood to medical centers in 29 counties. It also investigates health treatments and conducts scientific research. For example, in collaboration with other research centers,…
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COA Youth and Family Centers

The Children’s Outing Society was formed in 1906 by Florence Friend, Elizabeth “Lizzie” Black Kander, and other women from the Personal Relief Society, a social service organization active in Milwaukee’s Jewish community. The Society changed its name to the Children’s Outing Association (COA) in 1930. COA’s initial purpose was to improve the physical well-being of…
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Historic Milwaukee, Inc.

Like people all over the United States, by the late 1960s, Milwaukeeans were disillusioned with the continuous construction and expansion since World War II and were beginning to rediscover the value of older buildings. Historic Milwaukee, Inc., which is dedicated to education about and advocacy for the city’s architectural heritage, grew out of this movement…
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International Institute of Wisconsin

For almost a century, the International Institute of Wisconsin has had the mission of helping immigrants establish themselves in the Milwaukee community. The International Institute of Milwaukee County was founded in 1923 in Milwaukee by Edna H. Merrell under the auspices of the YOUNG WOMEN’S CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION (YWCA). It was also later affiliated with American…
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Junior League of Milwaukee

Three Junior League members clean their meeting space located on the corner of Mason Street and Milwaukee Avenue in 1930.
Social worker Nell Alexander and future Girl Scout organizer Alice Chester founded Milwaukee’s local chapter of the Junior League in 1915. Organized as a nonprofit, voluntary association, the Junior League’s mission is educating young women on contemporary social issues and training them to develop leadership skills and serve in the community. Milwaukee Junior Leaguers, or…
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Metropolitan Milwaukee Fair Housing Council

The Metropolitan Milwaukee Fair Housing Council (MMFHC) promotes fair housing and creation of racially integrated communities in the Milwaukee metropolitan area and throughout Wisconsin. Fair housing refers to the opportunity to secure housing and housing-related services such as mortgage loans and home insurance free from discrimination based on race and other protected classes that several…
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Milwaukee NAACP

Members of the NAACP's Milwaukee branch gather for their annual dinner, as seen here in 1958.
The Milwaukee branch of the NAACP has functioned as one of the city’s leading civil rights organization since 1919. Led for its first half century by prominent middle-class African American professionals, including Wilbur Halyard, Ardie Halyard, and James W. Dorsey, the local chapter battled racial discrimination in employment, housing, education, entertainment, and policing through political…
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Milwaukee Urban League

A 1977 photograph of Milwaukee Urban League executive director Wesley Scott.
The Milwaukee Urban League, an affiliate of the National Urban League, was established in 1919 to help a small but growing African American population in the city gain access to employment, decent housing, and community services. Initially started as an information clearinghouse and community advocacy center, the League later helped build institutions to serve the…
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Rethinking Schools

Rethinking Schools is a nonprofit, independent publisher of educational material, most known for its magazine, which is also named Rethinking Schools. It promotes anti-racist, multicultural education in elementary and secondary teaching and in educational policy making. It is a sharp critic of standardized testing and is a strong proponent of public education and social justice.…
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Scouting

The letters ZNP on the insignia of these young women's uniforms indicate their membership in the Polish National Alliance scouting program.
Scouting has played an important role in the lives of young people in the Milwaukee area since the national movement began in the early twentieth century. Viewing scouting as a vehicle to teach skills and instill values, a variety of local organizations, including schools, churches, synagogues, civic groups, and firehouses have sponsored scout “troops.” Most…
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Settlements

The first American settlement house was established in New York City in 1886. In contrast to existing charitable organizations that dispensed material aid and advice to the needy, in settlement houses reformers lived in the neighborhoods they served with cultural programming and community amenities. College-educated men and women joined the settlement house movement around the…
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Sixteenth Street Community Health Centers

  Sixteenth Street Community Health Centers (SSCHC) have provided free and affordable health care services to low-income patients since 1969. That year, neighborhood organizers opened a small, volunteer-run health clinic at the corner of South 16th Street and West Greenfield Avenue. Since its earliest days, SSCHC has worked to serve the needs of the South…
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United Migrant Opportunity Services, Inc. (UMOS)

In the early 1960s, up to 15,000 migrant workers, mostly Mexican Americans from Texas, were arriving in Wisconsin each year to harvest crops and work in canneries. However, the increasing mechanization of Wisconsin agricultural production, bad weather, and overproduction that resulted in crops being plowed under instead of harvested left some migrants from Texas without…
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United Performing Arts Fund

The Milwaukee Youth Symphony, one of the arts organizations supported by UPAF, helped with the fundraising in this photograph from Uihlein Hall.
The United Performing Arts Fund (UPAF) is a collaborative, non-profit organization that has been central to the growth of Milwaukee’s performing arts community. Its mission is to “promote the performing arts” and to provide “financial support of the performing arts in Southeastern Wisconsin.” UPAF has raised more than $250 million since its inception in the…
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Urban Ecology Center

A 2012 photograph of the Urban Ecology Center's main building, constructed in 2004 in Riverside Park.
The Urban Ecology Center (UEC) is a nonprofit organization that promotes environmental awareness in Milwaukee. In 1991 residents of the area around Riverside Park began organizing park cleanups as a way to teach children about the environment, as well as to fight pollution and crime. They soon organized as the UEC and began hosting classes…
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Visiting Nurse Association of Milwaukee

Visiting Nurse Association of Milwaukee founder Sarah Boyd (left) is shown with two nurses in this 1922 photograph.
The Visiting Nurse Association of Milwaukee originated in 1906 when Milwaukee businesswoman Sarah Boyd hired Maude Tompkins, a nurse with the Visiting Nurse Association of Chicago, to live in her home and provide free health care to nearby low-income residents. In 1907 Boyd, Mariette Tweedy, and other civic leaders incorporated the Visiting Nurse Association of…
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Wisconsin Humane Society

When founded in 1879, the Wisconsin Humane Society (WHS) aimed to prevent cruelty to animals, children, criminals, and “defective and dependent people.” In 1880 the society appointed Richard Whitehead its first superintendent and shortly thereafter the state granted the society limited police powers. Although Whitehead vigorously investigated cases of cruelty to horses and livestock until…
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