Gala raises $200,000 for Safe & Sound
One year after tension from a Milwaukee police-on-resident shooting boiled over into unrest in Sherman Park, a small and scrappy nonprofit has quietly worked its connections in the streets to rebuild frayed relationships.
With just a $2 million budget and 27 employees, Safe & Sound Inc. focuses on increasing public safety, occupying what executive director Katie Sanders calls “a very fragile space between communities and law enforcement.”
Almost 450 people came to support that mission Thursday, raising $200,000 in a single night at Safe & Sound’s first awards gala, held at the Italian Community Center. Those recognized for their leadership mostly focused on the positive aspects of Milwaukee's most troubled communities, but Dan Bader, president and CEO of Bader Philanthropies Inc., didn’t shy away from a glaring problem.
“We need to talk about race,” said Bader, whose large and longstanding foundation is redeveloping a building in Milwaukee’s central city to house its headquarters.
“Engage with your neighbors,” he said.
U.S. Marshal Kevin Carr, north side residents Josephine Key and James Key and Carmen High School senior Angelica Soto were recognized for their work in the community; the Milwaukee Bucks were honored for the team’s corporate support.
Joe and Jennifer Bartolotta underwrote the cost of the gala and catering so all the profits went to Safe & Sound. Each year, the charitable arm of the Bartolotta Restaurant Group partners with one nonprofit to help boost its profile. Next fall, Care-a-lotta will throw its support behind a gala for The Women’s Center, an emergency shelter for abused families in Waukesha.
Jennifer and Joe Bartolotta (left) stand with members of the Italian Community management team (left to right) Barb DeMeulenaere, Whitney Sleiter and Adam Iplikci at an awards gala for the organization Safe & Sound in Milwaukee.
Katie Sanders, executive director of Safe & Sound, welcomes guests to the nonprofit’s first awards dinner Thursday at the Italian Community Center.