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Riverworks Newsletter - September 2019 Edition

Allow Us to Reintroduce Riverworks

Greeting Friends and Neighbors:

The Riverworks Development Corporation (RDC) is celebrating 27 years of service to this community. RDC continues to be the community economic development arm for the area by serving the unemployed, underemployed, residents and businesses. RDC has expanded its programs and services; thereby, increasing its ability to improve access to knowledge and resources that are available to better serve its clients, business partners and the community. RDC recently finished up its strategic plan and we see the glass as half full for the Riverworks Center and surrounding neighborhoods. In partnership with the Riverworks Business Improvement District, Harambee Neighborhood Improvement District and others, RDC is well positioned to achieve the goals and outcomes that have been developed in the strategic plan.

The strategic plan will chart the direction for the organization over the next 3 years. It is our hope and desire that our plan will result in a highly relevant, flexible, measurable, and achievable road map for the organization. The Board and Staff have a thorough understanding of the critical issues and choices facing the organization and the area in the coming years. The strategic plan documents include new mission and vision statements, goals, strategies and opportunities for continue strategic alliances to build and deepen support for the work we do in the community.

I want to thank everyone who participated in our dialogue sessions; your input was invaluable and very essential in our planning efforts to produce a comprehensive plan for RDC. The completed strategic plan will be posted on Riverworks’ website. The focus of the plan is on six pillars of Economic and Social Development, they are:

1. Workforce Development

2. Business Development

3. Financial Empowerment

4. Real Estate Development

5. Community & Neighborhood Revitalization

6. Creative Placemaking

- Darryl Johnson

Riverworks Executive Director

Darryl Johnson

Executive Director

Darryl Johnson is the Executive Director of Riverworks Development Corporation (non-profit economic development corporation), Riverworks Business Improvement District #25, and Harambee Neighborhood Improvement District #7. Darryl has been with Riverworks for over sixteen years and has been associated with this area for over fifty years. His role is to lead the organizations by implementing all policies and programs, accounting for all funds, meeting with community residents, elected officials and businesses, writing funding proposals, leveraging resources, and managing the real estate market and development programs.

Coretta Herring

Financial Clinic Director

As the Financial Clinic Director, Coretta's roles and responsibilities are to implement financial empowerment strategies and to create key partnerships with financial institutions to leverage resources and banking products for our clients and surrounding communities.

Kate Bartlett

Business Development Specialist

Kate's main objective is to build and maintain relationships with local businesses within the Riverworks BID #25. She actively links businesses to resources and organizations to help spur economic investment in the district and facilitates networking events.

Amy Rohan

Community Asset Development Specialist

Amy focuses on equitable neighborhood development in Harambee and Riverwest. She is dedicated to supporting current homeowners by connecting them to resources that provide affordable access to critical home repairs.

Amber Ascher

Program Coordinator & Benefits Coach

Amber connects community members with the coaching services in the Financial Clinic and Workforce Division. She also organizes neighborhood cleanups, connects residents with city resources, and organizes events to address resident concerns.

John Cervantes

Riverworks Cleans Business Manager

John manages the Riverworks Cleans crew, which works to pick up litter, clean up illegally dumped materials, return stolen property to businesses, remove graffiti, install and maintain green spaces including along the Beerline Trail, and so much more.

Shameka Moore

Financial & Life Coach

As a Financial & Life Coach, Shameka uses a holistic approach when coaching clients’ finances and life. Her roles and responsibilities are to financially empower families through workshops, encourage and introduce wealth building assets, credit repair, and building.

Debbie Powers

Administrative Office Specialist

Debbie collaborates with Darryl and others to maintain and improve processes so that the programs are able to function efficiently. She also preforms the bookkeeping duties to keep bills paid, grants distributed, and sound financial statements prepared for the board.

Temo Rodriguez

THE VIBE Business Manager & Workforce Development Specialist

Temo manages THE VIBE- Riverworks' co-working office space, where entrepreneurs and business owners can start working to realize their entrepreneurial dreams. He has been involved in a broad range of areas related to economic and workforce development.

Rosalynn Wolfe

Community Creative Placemaking & Economic Development Coordinator

Rosalynn's work bridges the gap between art, culture and space to bring economic development and investment to the community from outside entities and from within the community. Currently her main projects are the Beerline Trail extension and 53212 Marketplace.

Shaunta Gibbs

Laundromat Manager

Shaunta is the manager at the Riverworks Coin Laundry. She helps customers learn how to operate the washers and dryers, and also connects them to Riverworks resources including job placement, job training, and financial coaching.

Dessie Patrick


Dessie is the first person you are likely to speak with when you call our phone line, and the first person who will greet you as you come into the Riverworks office. She is responsible for answering incoming calls, directing calls, mail distribution, and other clerical duties.

Riverworks Cleans Crew

Riverworks Cleans is a social enterprise that employs two seasonal and four full time Milwaukee residents. Currently employed (and pictured above) are Antoine Bonner, Kevin White, Adrian Everett, Derrick Hall, Cornelius Wickliffe, and Deante Richmond. The crew works with a handful of local Business Improvement Districts (BIDs), as well as with the City of Milwaukee, to clean the streets and city owned properties.

Riverworks Coin Laundry

Riverworks Coin Laundry is a social enterprise of Riverworks Development Corporation. It is located at 3334 N Holton Street, in the Riverworks City Center. The laundromat employs one full time and one part time employees, both of whom are long-time neighborhood residents Shaunta Gibbs and Ricky Williams. Not only is this a public laundromat for the Riverwest and Harambee communities, but it serves as a place for residents to learn more about the resources available through the RDC.

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