Our History
Serving Milwaukee since 1969
A gathering of Next Door children from our early days. Check out the timeline below to learn about our history and recent growth.

Our History

2019 – Next Door celebrates 50 years! The agency currently serves nearly 1,700 children from birth to five years old through center- and
home-based programs and 11 partnership sites.

2017 – Next Door’s 29th Street campus earns a perfect score on the state’s YoungStar child care rating program.

2016 – Next Door completes Phase 3 renovations on the top floor at our Capitol Drive location. It includes six additional classrooms, a kids’ computer lab and new staff offices. We will be able to accommodate up to 130 additional children through this expansion.

Next Door receives approval from Milwaukee Public Schools to expand its charter school to the Capitol Drive building. Programming will begin in the 2016-2017 school year.

2015 – Next Door receives Federal Early Head Start Child Care Partnership Grant, $22 million over 4.5 years to expand the Next Door model into ten partner agencies in Milwaukee and Ozaukee counties.

Next Door completes Phase 2 renovations of our Capitol Drive location. This includes five infant toddler classrooms, a gross motor room, an additional playground and an expanded conference/training room.

Dr. Tracey Sparrow hired as Next Door’s new President.

2014 – Next Door opens Capitol Drive campus, first with summer programming in June, and then in September for the school year. The move allows Next Door to educate an additional 440 children with expanded Head Start programming.

2013 – Next Door becomes Milwaukee County’s second largest Head Start program administrator.

The agency purchases the old Northwest General Hospital site on Capitol Drive at 53rd Street in Milwaukee for new school site.

2011 – Next Door expands Early Head Start programming with state funding for a home visitation program offering prenatal care.

2010 – Groundbreaking for onsite Children’s Hospital Medical & Dental Clinic at Next Door’s North 29th Street campus.

Next Door also receives state designation as one of two Head Start Centers of Excellence from Wisconsin.

2009 – Next Door celebrates its 40th anniversary and is nominated by Governor Jim Doyle to be a Head Start Center of Excellence.

2007 – Next Door completes renovation of Helwig Family Community Center.

Next Door receives a Kresge Foundation grant for “Building a Future” capital campaign.

2005 – Next Door Charter School opens under a contract with Milwaukee Public Schools.

2005 – The Educare School of Milwaukee opens in September, marking it third Educare School in the country.

2004 – Next Door breaks ground for The Educare School of Milwaukee.

2002 – Next Door and the Buffett Family Foundation execute an agreement to co-develop The Educare School of Milwaukee.

2000 – Next Door receives a three-year Fatherhood Demonstration Grant for Fatherhood program.

1999 – Cardinal Stritch University partners with Next Door and begins offering college classes at the Helwig Family Community Center.

1998 – A full service pediatric clinic opens in the Helwig Family Community Center through a collaboration with Children’s Medical Group.

1997 – Next Door begins its four- and five-year-old kindergarten programs funded by the Milwaukee Public Schools.

1996 – Next Door receives its Early Head Start Demonstration Grant.

1995 – Next Door shifts its focus to children from birth to 12 years of age.

1993 – Next Door begins its first classroom-based Head Start program.

1992 – The newly renovated Helwig Family Community Center becomes the home of Next Door programs on N. 29th Street.

1987 – Next Door receives the Hope Apartments on North 27th Street, which provide permanent housing for low-income residents.

1986 – New Frontiers Employment and summer youth employment programs begin.

1986 – The Adult Education (ABE/GED) program opens, offering Next Door parents a chance to further their education.

1978 – Next Door begins Home Start Program.

1975 – Next Door begins its home-based Early On program.

1974 – The Genesis Outpatient Alcohol and Drug Treatment program opens at Next Door.

1973 – Next Door opens its Cornerstone Children and Youth Center.

1971 – Program services expand to include services for children.

1971 – Next Door incorporates in the State of Wisconsin as a non-profit 501 (c)(3) organization.

1969 – Next Door begins as a youth and young adult outreach program of a Central City church, Our Saviors Lutheran Church.