DSS Community Center (copy)

From left, East High School freshmen Donzell Gamble and Chris Hunt work with DSS Community Center Director Felicia Davis, right, on their homework. Davis decided not to accept a grant from the city following a frustrating process.


After an arduous process that left some Madison nonprofit leaders frustrated, the city has finalized funding for adult and youth employment programs.

Madison's Community Development Division issued a request for proposals in August from organizations to support youth and adult employment programs. The city received 22 proposals totaling over $1 million in each category, with only $1.4 million to allocate.

DSS Community Center’s Felicia Davis, Tutankhamun “Coach” Assad of the Mellowhood Foundation and Will Green of Mentoring Positives initially criticized the city, including allegations of “blatant discrimination,” because the city shifted their proposals out of they category they applied for and into a different one.

Assad said Tuesday the process is “flawed,” and Green characterized it as “unjust.”

“I have put my life on the line to help youth in the community,” Green said. “To be questioned on the work that I have done for 14 years is pretty disheartening, and it hurts because we put a lot of time and effort into working with kids.”

Ald. Shiva Bidar, District 5, proposed giving DSS Community Center, Mellowhood Foundation, Mentoring Positives, Bayview and Centro Hispano’s Escalera additional funding and reducing allocations to adult programs.

“This has been an extremely challenging and difficult process for everybody involved,” Bidar said.

Despite the increase, Bidar said Davis decided not to accept the $30,000 grant, which was an increase from an original allocation of $25,500. Davis applied for $100,000.

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Contracts for youth and adult employment funding were approved at the following amounts:

  • Briarpatch Youth Services

    • Madison Streets Team/Allied Work Crews $51,000

    • Roots to Rise $10,000

    • Bayview Youth Employment Program $31,875

  • Centro Hispano’s Escalera program:  $57,925

  • CEOs of Tomorrow’s These Teens Mean Business $24,000

  • Common Wealth Development

    • Program for Entrepreneurial Agricultural Training (PEAT) $25,500

    • Youth Business Mentoring Program $110,000

    • Southwest Transitional Employment Program (STEP) $65,000

  • Goodman Community Center

    • Teen Youth Employment $60,000

    • Adult employment $20,000

  • Mellowhood Foundation’s Neighborhood Covenant Alliance $31,875

  • Mentoring Positives $36,375

  • Operation Fresh Start

    • Greenway and Public Lands Management Crew $45,000

    • Youth Parks Conservation Crew $27,350

    • Youth Construction Pathways $126,608

    • Strive $50,000

    • Options $12,000 (for 2018 only)

  • Kennedy Heights Neighborhood Association's Adult Resource Development $12,000

  • Literary Network

    • College Success $16,000

    • Skills in Computers and Literacy for Employment $12,080

  • Lussier Community Education Center’s Building Employment and Technology Skills $18,000

  • Madison-area Urban Ministry’s Just Bakery $85,000

  • Omega School’s GED preparation and basic skills instruction $60,000

  • Urban League of Greater Madison

    • Construction Employment Initiative $173,000

    • ADVANCE Employment Services $105,000

  • Vera Court Neighborhood Center

    • Industry-Specific Training $19,000

    • Education Advancement $29,000

    • Workforce Essentials $65,000

  • YWCA Madison’s YWEB Career Academy $50,000

Correction: The amount of funding that the Southwest Transitional Employment Program (STEP) program received was listed incorrectly. The correct amount the program was issued is $65,000. 

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Abigail Becker joined The Capital Times in 2016, where she primarily covers city and county government. She previously worked for the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism and the Wisconsin State Journal.