The importance of community partnerships

An icon graphic representing Social Responsibility Through Community Engagement from the Beyond Boundries Strategic PlanAs an urban university, Marquette embraces its responsibility to our community, city and neighbors. We live out that responsibility through our collaboration as a founding anchor institution for Concordia 27. This comprehensive community center, developed by Near West Side Partners, will include an incubator kitchen, 30 affordable housing units, and dedicated commercial spaces for nonprofits – including Scaling Wellness in Milwaukee, a coalition to address mental health and generational trauma launched by Marquette University President Michael Lovell and his wife, mental health advocate Amy Lovell.

Keith Stanley, executive director of Near West Side Partners, shared his insights on the importance of partnership to accomplishing the lofty goals set by NWSP. Here are his top three takeaways:

  • Collaboration is key: Marquette University understands its urban footprint, and part of that understanding is being intentional about working with community members and residents. Whether it’s clean ups, internships, safety initiatives, or other efforts, the neighborhood is included in a way that impacts and benefits the whole community.
  • Everyone deserves a seat at the table: The parents who raise children here, send their kids to school here and buy homes have as much a voice as the Fortune 500 company in the neighborhood and the small business owner down the street. When institutions like Marquette put themselves in conversation with residents and other stakeholders, community vision becomes the guiding force of our efforts and investments.
  • Change transcends the neighborhood: The focus areas Concordia 27 will address were determined in direct response to the community’s needs. The project will create new full-time job opportunities, dedicate space for community engagement, and support entrepreneurs and small businesses as they grow and generate additional jobs to strengthen the local economy – expanding the impact of Concordia 27 even beyond the Near West Side.

We know community investment and economic development – through efforts like the President’s Challenge and our collaboration with NSWP – will reduce poverty and increase public safety. Marquette believes the collaboration that drives successes on Milwaukee’s Near West Side can drive improvements in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and beyond.