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In Living Commentary

While there are many well known and deserving places to donate, there are also some that kind of fly under the radar and could really use some help. (PHOTO:

Local nonprofits need your help

Milwaukee is known as a town with a big heart. Our donations to a wide variety of charities doesn't have to take a backseat to any city in this country.

While there are many well known and deserving places to donate, there are also some that kind of fly under the radar and could really use some help. Here are a few.

Optimist Theatre is the only totally free Shakespeare theater in the state. They perform outdoors during the summer with fantastic casts and highly professional standards. The performances are open to anyone and during each performance you can see kids and other people who have never seen a play before. This year they will stage "As You Like It" at the new amphitheater in Kadish Park in Riverwest.

It's a beautiful site but it costs money to put these shows on. BMO Harris Bank has offered a $20,000 matching grant, so the theater is trying to raise the money to match that. It's not easy, but if you ever saw the eyes light up in a kid who has never seen a live play, much less Shakespeare, you'd know it is well worth it.

A Kickstarter campaign is underway and you can donate.

The Benedict Center is a place with a tough road to hoe. The center works in the criminal justice system with hundreds of people who have come in conflict with the law.

Through their programs, the Benedict Center opens its doors and our hearts to individuals in conflict with the law and their families.

They do things like helping a single mother learn skills to find a job orthey act as the advocates to address inequities within the criminal justice system. Their goal is to make community justice a reality in Milwaukee and Wisconsin through:

It's important for all of us to remember that almost all of the people who are in jail are going to get out someday and move back into society. Restorative justice helps prepare them to live productive lives and avoid the temptations that may have helped lead them down the wrong road.

The Benedict Center is always looking to expand its program offerings and help even more people.

Independence First has an enviable record of success in helping people with disabilities develop skills and improve their lives.

Their philosophy holds that individual with disabilities have the right o live with dignity and with appropriate support in their own homes, fully participate in their communities, and to control and make decisions about their lives.

The organization has a wide variety of programs to help people with any kind of disability including people of all ages.

This is an organization to literally changes people's lives and they can use all the support they can get.

Lost Dogs of Wisconsin is pure of heart when it comes to owners and their pets

LDW is a group of volunteers who saw the need to provide no cost resources to the owners of lost dogs to increase the chances of locating and being successfully reunited with their dog.

The program also benefits local animal control and shelters by decreasing the number of "owned strays" entering the animal control/shelter system and increasing the chances of finding an owner once the dog is in their care.

The organization has a four-point mission:

  • To educate and empower owners with resources and tools to assist them in locating their lost dogs.
  • Provide finders of lost dogs with resources to facilitate more reunions with owners.
  • Reduce the number of "strays" in shelters and animal control facilities.
  • Educate the public on keeping their dogs safe.

Helping reunite owners and pets is just about the highest calling in the world of pet care.

There are lots of relatively under the radar organizations that could use some help, but these four could surely use help from all of us.


CarolV | Feb. 8, 2013 at 2:01 p.m. (report)

Thanks for shining a light on IndependenceFirst - very cool! Lots of GREAT things happening there every day to help kids and adults with disabilities realize the same goals and dreams as people without disabilities. And, a strong advocate in our community for access and inclusion. Great stuff.

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TosaJim | Feb. 7, 2013 at 5:21 p.m. (report)

Another charity that could use help is Intercession, Inc. Please visit their website and lend a hand or give a donation if you can.

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