By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Aug 28, 2020 at 9:31 AM

For 21 years, the nonprofit LISC's annual MANDIs – aka Milwaukee Awards for Neighborhood Development Innovation – have honored successful efforts to revitalize neighborhoods and strengthen the community.

After seeking public nominations, a volunteer Selection Committee selected 12 finalists last December, and the final award winners were announced Thursday during a virtual event, which you can watch in its entirety at

"For over two decades, the MANDIs have recognized the great work of the finalists and awarded many winners, but equally important these people, projects and organizations have inspired and renewed the optimism of those who are working each day to improve our communities," said LISC Milwaukee Executive Director Theodore Lipscomb, Sr.

Here are the winners of the 2020 MANDIs, as provided by LISC Milwaukee:

Awarded for commitment and effectiveness over time, the BMO Harris Bank Cornerstone Award was presented by Paul Fehrenbach, BMO Harris, and Vice President of Community Investments. This award was given to the Dominican Center

Awarded to a public space that builds community, the Brewers Community Foundation Public Space Award was presented by Cecelia Gore, Executive Director for the foundation. This award was given to The Kinnickinnic River Plaza.

Awarded to an individual for leadership, the PNC Bank Navigator Award was presented by Dan Sweeny, Vice President, Relationship Manager Community Development Banking of PNC Bank. This award was given to Sharon Jordan for her work with Direct Supply, Inc.

Awarded for innovation, the Associated Bank Trailblazer Award was presented by William Kopka, Vice President, Community Accountability Officer of Associated Bank. This award was given to the Wisconsin’s First Ever Deaf StorySlam.

Awarded for a real estate project that improves the community, The State Farm Building Blocks Award was presented by Jason Mallon, State Farm Agent. This award was given to Sherman Phoenix.

The Chase Economic Development Award, was presented by Alvaro Araque, Executive Director - Consumer Banking for Chase Bank. This award was given to RISE MKE Entrepreneurial Training Program

Awarded for nonprofits that collaborate and align, The Northwestern Mutual Collaboration Award was presented by Audra Brennan, Senior Director, Strategic Philanthropy. This award was given to "Training the Trades," a collaboration between, The City of Milwaukee, The Redevelopment Authority of the City of Milwaukee, Milwaukee Area Technical College, JCP Construction and the Social Development Commission.

Three winners were named for the Wells Fargo People’s Choice Award, an online social media campaign to select public picks for three winners across all award categories. These awards were presented by Andrew Ruehl, Vice President, Community Relations Senior Consultant. The three winners included: The Kinnickinnic River Plaza, Sherman Phoenix and Neighborhood House of Milwaukee. All winners received a trophy and $1,000 contribution. Finalists and winners are selected by a volunteer selection committee comprised of forty private, public and government volunteers.

Congratulations to all of this year's nominees and winners.

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He has be heard on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories, in that station's most popular podcast.