ThriveOn Community Engagement

If It's For the Community, It's With the Community

The ThriveOn Collaboration is built on the premise that the way to serve and support our communities is to communicate, collaborate and embrace them as vital, essential partners. That’s why in 2019, the Collaboration began its journey by engaging with individuals in the Harambee, Halyard Park and Brewers Hill neighborhoods to help clarify our vision, shape our goals, and guide our actions. And throughout our process and progress, our connection with the community has been continuous and productive.

ThriveOn Collaboration How We Connect

How we Connect

The Collaboration stays in touch with the views and values of the community through continuous dialogue and interaction with residents, organizations and other community leaders, which includes:

  • Neighborhood Resident Visioning Sessions
  • One-on-One Interviews
  • Meet & Greets
  • Community Festivals & Events
  • Neighborhood Association Meetings
  • Virtual and in-person office hours

We have also established a Community Advisory Council, which integrates community perspective and advises on the use of space and resources, including recommending grants in our communities.


Shining a light on special places and people in one of our three neighborhoods, Halyard Park, Harambee, and Brewers Hill.

Historic Halyard Park

Halyard Park has been a great Milwaukee neighborhood and a good place to live for a very long time. Built on a foundation of perseverance and commitment established by community residents decades ago, this small enclave has done well. Halyard Park is located between Interstate 43 and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive; and, North Avenue and Walnut Street. The neighborhood was first settled in the mid-1800s by mostly German immigrants.

From the 1920s to the 1930s, African-Americans became predominant in the neighborhood. It was during this period that Ardie and Wilbur Halyard came to Milwaukee, and founded the Columbia Savings and Loan Association in 1924. The neighborhood continued to grow healthy and vibrant in commerce and culture. Unfortunately, the mid-1960s brought serious disruptions, including the building of Interstate 43 which ripped through the heart of Halyard Park and other parts of the Milwaukee Bronzeville community. But Halyard Park and its residents proved to be resilient.

In the mid-1970s, The United Realty Group, Inc., led by Beechie Brooks, purchased land from the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Milwaukee with plans to build a subdivision with new ranch style houses. The Halyard’s Columbia Savings and Loan Association financed some of those first homes in the neighborhood and many of them still stand along the tree lined streets of Halyard Park.

ThriveOn  Collaboration Historic Halyard Park

One of the many reasons Halyard Park is still such a special place today is the strong attachment its people have to the neighborhood. Longtime Halyard Park resident, Ms. Lennie Mosley, talks fondly about the area. “We watch out for our neighbors. When someone goes out of town, we keep an eye on things. And when someone moves into the community, we often send over flowers or a fruit basket to welcome them.” For those who live in the neighborhood, that feeling of belonging is distinct and ever-present.


The ThriveOn Collaboration is continually investing in its vision and priorities.

The ThriveOn Small Business Loan program was established in 2021 to help build back jobs and economic participation in Milwaukee neighborhoods. The program is providing access to capital through low-interest loans, giving local small businesses the opportunity to reopen, hire or sustain or improve business operations in a variety
of ways.

So far, $780,000 in loans has been distributed to 17 small businesses, all owned by people of color. Nearly 80% of the businesses are located in the Halyard Park, Harambee and Brewers Hill neighborhoods. Recipients also receive access to ongoing technical assistance to advance businesses’ long-term success. The loans are funded through the Greater Milwaukee Foundation’s impact investing program.

Other commitments to the community have included:

  • Helping to prevent resident displacement through partnership in the MKE United Anti-Displacement fund.
  • Approving approximately $100 million for joint investment in new building improvement and development, including streetscaping, exterior art and green design.
  • Providing more than $13.2 million in grants through the Foundation and Advancing a Healthier Wisconsin Endowment in support of COVID-19 relief, response, and recovery related to food, shelter, health, education, economic stabilization and more.


Contact to be added to the mailing list for the ThriveOn Collaboration newsletter.

Meet The Community Engagement Team

Debra Nevels | Program Manager

Debra R. Nevels, MSHCM, currently works with the Medical College of Wisconsin as the Program Manager for Community Outreach and Engagement for Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin Cancer Center. Most recently she worked as Health Systems Manager for the American Cancer Society for seven years.

She is also currently adjunct faculty at Concordia University in the College of the Health Services Administration program.

Throughout her educational career, she strived to take advantage of opportunities to learn from and share knowledge with others. Debra considers herself to be a lifelong learner even though she has completed her educational pursuits. Her experience is extensively rooted in health care, but main interest is in educating others. he has worked with a variety of populations in the following areas: Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, and Texas.If you have any questions, feel free to contact her.

Contact information:

Zipporah (Z) Turnbull | Community Engagement Fellow

Z is a liaison between the Foundation, the community, and council members. She identifies businesses and organizations open to collaborating and hosting events and facilitates informational sessions. Z also engages with the community to build relationships and provide grant information system training.

Z’s career includes mobilizing voters, providing resources to the community, and hosting neighborhood/community association meetings. She has worked with Common Ground and Citizen Action of Wisconsin organizing volunteers and offering voter education. Z is grateful for the experience of living outside her hometown of Milwaukee, which has provided Z with opportunities and knowledge to better understand and service her local community.

Z is a University of Wisconsin, Stout graduate with a Bachelor’s degree in Applied Social Science with a concentration in Sociology and Anthropology and a Minor in Applied Peace Studies. She received the Alec Kirby Memorial Award for Leadership in Social Justice and the Building Opportunities for Leadership Development Award.

In her personal life, Z enjoys gardening, walks by the lake, tennis, and spending time with her loving, playful dog, Jazzy.

Office Hours

With Office Hours session, visitors have the opportunity to chat with Community Engagement Fellow Zipporah (Z) Turnbull and learn information about neighborhood programs, resources and organizations in the ThriveOn King building.

Clinton Rose Senior Center
3045 N. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr., Milwaukee, WI 53212
Every first Thursday of the month, 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.

Oct. 5 | 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. 
Nov. 2 |10 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Dec. 7 |10 a.m. - 12 p.m.

Rise & Grind Café
2737 N. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr., Milwaukee, WI 53212
Every Second Monday of the month, 9 a.m. - 11 a.m.

Oct. 9 | 9 a.m. - 11 a.m.
Nov. 13 |  9 a.m. - 11 a.m.
Dec. 11 | 9 a.m. - 11 a.m.

HoneyBee Sage Wellness & Apothecary Café
1819 N. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr., Milwaukee, WI 53212
Every Third Tuesday of the month, 12 p.m. - 2 p.m.

Oct. 17 | 12 p.m. - 2 p.m.
Nov. 21 | 12 p.m. - 2 p.m.
Dec. 19 | 12 p.m. - 2 p.m.

View the Tea Time Flyer (PDF)

If you have questions regarding Office Hours, please reach out to Zipporah Turnbull, Community Engagement Fellow, at