Milwaukee’s Next Door expands Head Start, triples number of children served July 1, 2014

Next Door’s (ND) new early education center for its Head Start expansion more than triples the number of Milwaukee children enrolled in the program. The center’s June 16 opening also gives the local job market a boost, creating 100 full-time jobs in addition to the agency’s current 260 full-time and 25 part-time employees.

After receiving $6.9 million to increase its Head Start program, the agency had to quickly figure out how to accommodate almost 1,000 low-income children. ND bought and built the center at the former Northwest General Hospital site, 5310 Capitol Drive, with a $2.6 million loan from BMO Harris Bank. Filling in a financing gap, IFFprovided a $1 million loan for ND to build out its first floor.

“IFF had a strong relationship with our bank to begin with, and that made the loan process a lot easier for us,” said Laurie Oryall, ND’s vice president of operations. “They were a great resource and very accommodating to all of our needs. We appreciate the extra effort and great service. IFF really understands us as a nonprofit.”

Previously, ND served about 300 children through Head Start, which supports low-income children with early education, nutrition, health, and parent involvement services. Now the second largest Head Start provider in Milwaukee County, ND has offered the program since 1993. The agency’s other services include GED preparation for adults, a Fatherhood Enrichment Program, and Educare, a comprehensive early education effort with all-day, year-round services and broader involvement with parents.