"A joyful gathering place for our community."
— Mentoring Positives
100 Men of Dane County 4th Quarter Winner for 2020
Since 2004, BLW Center’s mission has been to support its community in addressing the needs identified by its residents.
BLW Center was our 4th quarter grant winner for 2020. BLW Center serves 3,000 lower-income community members, primarily Black and Latinx, on Madison’s Southside. The Southside of Madison is home to many impoverished children and families in need of programs like the ones offered at BLW Center. However, their center is currently at capacity 300 times a year and all of the youth programs have waiting lists. These neighborhoods are currently unserved by a community center. Therefore, BLW Center has launched The Gathering Place, a $7M comprehensive campaign to build a new center in the heart of the Bridge, Lake Point, Waunona neighborhood and then fill it with vibrant youth programming and critical human services.
The 100 Men of Dane County grant of $88,000 will go towards the launch of The Gathering Place, helping to serve children living in poverty throughout Madison’s Southside. This facility will allow them to expand the number of lower-income children and families receiving their life-changing services from 3,000 to 20,000 a year. In particular, their food pantry’s capacity will grow from 1,000 to 5,000 a year, and they will double their youth programming enrollment from 200 to 400 through a second early childhood program, expanded after-school and summer camp, and a new high school program. This bustling center will provide the Southside with its only gym and safe place for children and teens to go after-school, on weekends, and all summer long.
BLW Center is currently providing all-day programming for kids with access to computers and internet for virtual school, one-on-one tutoring, and hands-on educational activities and field trips. They are actively moving forward with campaign fundraising for The Gathering Place and anticipate breaking ground in 2022. They have completed four months of community engagement and listening sessions and completed preliminary drawings with their architect (Dimension IV). Noble Wray who was the City’s first neighborhood police officer for their area during the notorious Broadway Simpson era, has agreed to serve as campaign committee chair. BLW is in the early stages of fundraising and has raised $500,000 in gifts/pledges to date (not including the 100 Men of Dane County grant).
We are beyond excited to be part of the fundraising campaign for this incredible new center!
THE GATHERING PLACE
The Gathering Place is a campaign to build the first ever free-standing community center for the Bridge Lakepoint Waunona neighborhood.
This landmark for Madison’s Southside will triple the space available and triple the amount of people BLW Center serves – expanding their reach to over 10,000 residents and 1,000 events per year.
Whether you live or work in the neighborhood, attend Madison College’s new campus, bike the lake loop, or hike at Lake Farm County Park, this new center will be a place for the Madison community to connect, grow, and thrive.
BLW Center's vision is a gathering space that provides equitable access to enrichment and educational opportunities for residents of all ages, opportunities to build relationships with neighbors, and services to create more fulfilling lives.
BLW Center transforms lives.