COMMUNITY LOVE & ART
Blood Drives, Sickle Cell Awareness, Donating, CUPED Corporation
As a member of the Milwaukee community, Melissa is vested in its prosperity. Over the years, contributions have been made to many organizations with a focus on supporting youth in the areas of empowerment, education, and entrepreneurship.
Organized support and resources are directed for the young people living within Maures' developments, and engaged youth-based arts organizations to create artwork displayed prominently around campuses.
Through Maures, donations to community organizations have included Penfield’s Children Center, Marquette’s Urban Scholars, and Center for Teaching Entrepreneurship, and sponsoring of local community initiatives including Bronzeville Festival, Milwaukee Film Festival, Heal the Hood, My Sister’s Keepher, and Girls Day at City Hall.
Melissa recognizes the support and mentorship she received as a young entrepreneur and gives back by investing in others. She makes time to speak with youth and invest in professionals seeking support and guidance. Melissa was recognized for her generous community giving by the United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County with a Philanthropic Five (P5) award in 2017.
Melissa’s focus on community revitalization is so strong that she founded a non-profit organization, CUPED, committed to promoting and protecting traditional urban neighborhoods through physical, economic and social transformation. Through its efforts, CUPED has worked to lift community development initiatives across Milwaukee’s near-northside and invested over $2 million in Milwaukee
Jazz In The Hood
Together, Maures and CUPED also organize an annual festival in Milwaukee’s central city each summer. Jazz in the Hood provides a family-friendly evening of music and entertainment to over 400 residents each year. It highlights the community’s talents -- showcasing local musicians, artists, and food makers -- and celebrates Milwaukee’s urban core for the beauty it harnesses. The festival has become an
opportunity for neighbors to come together and enjoy the sweet sensations of summer, fellowship and tunes. Over five years, the event represents a $60,000 investment in arts, culture, and music.
Melissa’s passion for supporting young people turned in a new direction when her own daughter, Evelyn, was born with a serious blood disorder in 2015. Melissa began to educate herself on her daughter’s health concerns and learned that families of color dealing with blood disorders face far greater barriers to treatments and cures. In fact, African American patients have the lowest odds of finding a life-saving bone marrow donor match compared to all other groups. Determined to turn the tides, she turned her own difficult journey into a path for change.
Shortly before her daughter’s first birthday, Melissa organized a group of friends into Evelyn’s Circle to provide support and advocacy for families journeying to health. Through Melissa’s advocacy, Evelyn’s Circle now supports the BloodCenter of Wisconsin’s Be the Match marrow donor registry and organizes blood drives through Jazz in the Hood, the Juice Kitchen’s Sickle Cell Saturdays and other citywide events. Together, Evelyn’s Circle works to register bone marrow and blood donors from diverse cultural backgrounds. In its first year alone, Evelyn’s Circle registered almost 80 new donors and helped educate hundreds more.
For Evelyn, the bone marrow registry represents hope. Melissa knows that without a successful bone marrow transplant, Evelyn may face a lifetime of health challenges and profound risks. At the same time, Melissa knows that they can’t become paralyzed by these prospects and must be committed to living full, abundant lives. Through Evelyn's boundless energy and resiliency, she reminds her family and Circle of Friends the importance of moving forward with strength and intention. As Melissa says, “Life presents an opportunity to step into it boldly --- our choice is to live out loud.”
Consider supporting; the life you are saving, could be your own. Info on BloodCenter of Wisconsin and Be the Match can be found on their websites at https://www.versiti.org/wisconsin and https://bethematch.org/.
Community Love & Art
Art is beautiful. It captures stories, dreams, possibilities and more. It warms a space which then warms a heart. Art has been significant in the Maures’ redevelopments based on a fundamental belief that beauty invokes something special in people. It pulls a certain element of joy, and inspiration from the artist which is transmuted into a significant investment in the lives of others. Art has a universal language of purpose and opportunity and it has a way of making things alright.