Next Step Clinic receives Nonprofit Collaboration of the Year award

Next Step Clinic — the winner of Marquette University’s first-ever President’s Challenge — received the award for Nonprofit Collaboration of the Year during Milwaukee BizTimes’ annual Nonprofit Excellence Awards, held virtually on Nov. 6.

Next Step Clinic operates as a satellite of Mental Health America of Wisconsin and addresses the mental health and developmental needs of Milwaukee’s underserved children and families. The clinic offers family navigation and developmental assessment services and trauma-focused therapies for children and families.

Co-directors of Next Step Clinic, Dr. Amy Van Hecke, professor of psychology in the Klingler College of Arts and Sciences at Marquette, and Leah Jepson of Mental Health America of Wisconsin and the Milwaukee Coalition for Children’s Mental Health, expressed their gratitude to the many partners in the clinic for making it a possibility.

“We’re really grateful that we have an incredible team that has come together around us and helped us really make a difference in supporting Milwaukee’s children and families,” Van Hecke said.

Organization partners for the Next Step Clinic include Marquette; Mental Health America of WI; Milwaukee Coalition for Children’s Mental Health; Next Door Foundation; True Love Baptist Church and Outreach Center and the General Baptist State Convention of Wisconsin; MIRACLE Network; MATC; United Way/Milwaukee Succeeds; UWM Institute for Child and Family Well-Being; Alverno College; Medical College of Wisconsin; Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin; NextDoor Pediatrics; Midtown Pediatrics; and the Greater Milwaukee Foundation.

In presenting the award, Kate Meyer, co-owner of Milwaukee BizTimes and director of community engagement, commended the work of these partners to come together and fill a community need.

“The Next Step Clinic is the result of a group of community partners working together to fill the tremendous need in Milwaukee’s inner city for accessible and high-quality mental health services for children and families,” Meyer said.

In 2019, President Michael R. Lovell, with support from the Johnson Controls Foundation, committed to awarding a $250,000, two-year grant to one interdisciplinary, collaborative proposal that seeks to change the trajectory of lives in the greater Milwaukee community by addressing one or more of the critical areas in which neighborhood inequities exist: health, education, safety, housing, transportation and economic prosperity.

Next Step Clinic was declared the winner of the inaugural President’s Challenge for its tailored approach to provide developmental and mental health resources. The clinic focuses on children and families affected by developmental delays and psychological trauma that often manifests from poverty, racial inequity and other high-stress situations.

Photo from the 2019 Presidential Address.