WESTCARE WISCONSIN



WestCare Wisconsin was founded by the late Rev Dr. James White, former President/CEO of the Johnson Institute Foundation. Before joining WestCare as Regional Vice President, he assembled a talented and dedicated dream team to revive and uplift the grassroots Harambee Community Vision and Mission in Milwaukee, WI. Working full time for the first two years with little to no compensation, and little to no funding, the team was able to restore the integrity of the Vision and Mission, and prepare the school, housing programs, community outreach, and AODA services for re-launch. By joining the WestCare family as WestCare Wisconsin, Dr. White and his team recognized that the Harambee Community will now move forward and grow stronger in the years to come.

The Harambee Community Mission and Vision arose from the ashes and the aftermath of rioting in Milwaukee that erupted with the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968. After two years of praying, planning, and persevering, leaders of the area hardest hit by the riots launched an initiative to reclaim, rename, and rebuild the "Beloved Community." They carved out their boundaries, held a naming ceremony and presented their strategic plan to the community. Harambee (Ha-Rom-Bay) is an African term in the Swahili language that is a high command for the entire community to "Work Together-Pull Together." With the support of the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee Extension Program, the Harambee Community School in 1970, the Harambee Ombudsman Project initiative in 1977, the Isaac Coggs Community Health Center in 1978, and the IMANI (e-mon-ee) Residential AODA Treatment Facility in 1991 were launched. By 1980, the community rebuilding effort was well under way. Today, 43 years later, the Harambee Community has put a troubled past behind it. Multimillion dollar commercial and residential developments, completely revitalized neighborhoods, and thriving community agencies, businesses, congregations, and educational institutions have found a home there.

The Isaac Coggs Community Health Center, named for one of the 1st African American Elected Officials to represent the area, now operates independently and has become the largest Federally Qualified Health Center FQHC in the State of Wisconsin. Dr. White and his team helped to launch a nationally acclaimed Math & Science Academy at the Harambee Community School site.

With the support of Milwaukee City Government, WestCare Wisconsin has now launched the Harambee Community Center (HCC). Through the HCC, WestCare Wisconsin serves as the lead Neighborhood Strategic Planning organization for the Historic Harambee Community, and administers housing rehabilitation and community organizing programs within the Harambee Community.

Thanks to the incredible work of the late Rev. Dr. James White, WestCare Wisconsin now proudly offers eight different programs, and is continually meeting the needs of the community they serve.



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