There were strings attached

One of the things I noticed as a new staff person at Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin in the early 1980’s was that both government and foundation staff were very helpful. They wanted Planned Parenthood programs to succeed. They valued sexuality education, clinical services, and advocacy. They got the point that to make every child a wanted child, abortion services needed to available and accessible for women and families that could not or would not want a child at that specific time in their lives.

It was with this early education in the realm of nonprofit public health that I approached the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Milwaukee Health Department, Milwaukee Public Schools, Beloit Public Schools, Racine Public Schools, Zilber School of Public Health, Medical College of Wisconsin, UW School of Medicine and Public Health, the UW School of Journalism and Mass Communication, and others. I believed that they would want Diverse and Resilient’s programs and services to succeed. They valued prevention services, health promotion, testing, and social marketing.

I expected the same from United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County, the Brico Fund, the Greater Milwaukee Foundation, and corporate foundations like BMO Harris, Northwestern Mutual, and Rockwell International. But, I didn’t expect the other things that came with their support. I didn’t expect the strings attached.

At Diverse and Resilient, we have a slogan about acceptance. It says, “Acceptance means no strings attached.” While that is true, there are certainly strings attached to the support we have received at Diverse and Resilient from all of the groups named above. The strings? Friendship, thoughtfulness, and kindness. These bonuses have been completely unexpected but deeply valued.

These video clips by Keith Knox are great examples of the web of support and friendship that my government and foundation partners have woven.


Health Commissioner Bevan Baker


Program Officer Karen Johnson


Nicole Angresano from United Way



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