The Mutual of America Foundation announced this week that it has selected the 10 best non-profit partnership organizations in the United States. The New York City based foundation has notified Safe & Sound that it is one of the honorees.
Leaders such as Elie Wiesel and former NY Governor Hugh Carey comprise the selection committee. The Foundation states that the award “highlights the important contributions that nonprofit organizations, in partnership with public, private and other social sector organizations, make… organizations are selected based on the value of their partnerships, their ability to be replicated, and their capacity to stimulate new approaches to addressing social issues.”
Unique in the United States and created in 1998, Safe & Sound, is a crime reduction strategy targeting 21 Milwaukee neighborhoods with the highest incidence of crime. The organization mobilizes and partners with resources such as residents, youth serving organizations, the Milwaukee Police Department, the District Attorney’s Community Prosecution Unit, and other city services to identify and report criminal activity, remove blight, and prevent youth gang affiliation, crime and drug and alcohol use.
In the last year, Safe & Sound’s staff called Community Partners who work door-to-door facilitated the reporting of 251 drug houses, 70 open air drug markets and numerous other crimes while supporting over 100 block clubs. The staff also issued 1,285 written warnings to property owners regarding code violations, and secured a 79.8 percent compliance rate. Owners who do not comply are reported to the City Department of Neighborhood Services for follow-up.
Safe & Sound also supports out-of-school time Safe Places to engage youth in evidenced based programming to prevent negative behaviors such as illegal substance use, gang involvement and violent behavior. Last year, over 20,000 youth participated, with many developing their own youth led crime reduction projects which teach leadership and decision-making skills.
Barbara Notestein, executive director, commented: “Safe & Sound empowers residents, connecting them with law enforcement and other city services to stabilize and rebuild safe neighborhoods. Our work is accomplished through valuable and effective partnerships as we seek new approaches to the problems of crime and neighborhood blight.”
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said, “I commend Safe & Sound for its team work in partnering with the Milwaukee Police Department, District Attorney’s Community Prosecution Unit and Milwaukee residents. Safe & Sound is a key link between neighborhoods and law enforcement. Because Safe & Sound is dedicated to this partnership, the organization continues to build and sustain city-wide working relationships that result in the identification and elimination of criminal activity as well as blighted and nuisance properties. We are fortunate to be the only city in the U.S. with such a partnership.”
Commenting on Safe & Sound’s recognition by Mutual of America, Milwaukee Police Chief Edward A. Flynn stated:
“Safe & Sound has been a strong partner of the Milwaukee Police Department and of the residents of Milwaukee for a long time, so it is only fitting they should receive the Mutual of America Foundation’s Partnership Award. In our mission to reduce crime, fear and disorder on the city streets, Safe & Sound has been a great help in returning the public spaces to the residents so that informal social controls can take root. The police are only a part of the solution; Safe & Sound is a valuable piece to accomplishing our mission.”
Mutual of America will sponsor and host a luncheon in Milwaukee for Safe & Sound, civic and business leaders, donors and others in May, 2010, to formally present the award.