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CUPED Corporation is awarded the January Game Changer Grant

January 23, 2018

Cultivating Urban Plans & Economic Development (CUPED) Corporation is the brainchild of its founding member and president of Maures Development Group, Melissa Goins. Based in Milwaukee, CUPED is a community-driven nonprofit dedicated to promoting development in urban Milwaukee neighborhoods that have been ignored by mainstream capital resources. CUPED is committed to bringing back the pride, hope and love needed for these neighborhoods to regain their economic mojo.

CUPED’s current project involves the redevelopment of the former Reader’s Choice bookstore, the last Black-owned bookstore in Wisconsin. After serving the Milwaukee community for more than 28 years, Reader’s Choice closed in July 2017 and, soon after, CUPED purchased the building with the intent of re-creating a robust community space.

Joining Ms. Goins as a co-developer is Joanne Sabir, an entrepreneur and CUPED board member. Mses. Goins and Sabir believe “the project stands for an opportunity in which we can all determine what our communities look like and how we can grow them together.”

Located in the Historic King Drive Business Improvement District, an area that is experiencing a resurgence due to the redevelopment of the Milwaukee Bucks arena, CUPED will redevelop the building for its nonprofit tenants, Grateful Girls and Jazale’s Art Studio. Both of these nonprofits are working to improve the lives of Milwaukee youth.

Grateful Girls is an organization that works with females who have experienced trauma in their lives. Some are victims of sex trafficking, sexual abuse, mental abuse or girls that are considered high risk. The second tenant, Jazale’s Art Studio, will be a multi-function community art hub providing on-site youth art programing that will collaborate with schools and other organizations.

The redeveloped building will be named “Kindred” after a science fiction novel by Octavia Butler. The work includes time travel back to the era of slavery and is about “how, over time and space, we are all connected.”

Game Changer proceeds will support the legacy of Reader’s Choice and will uplift equity through the promotion of African American leadership and programing. Specifically the grant funds will assist in the redevelopment of Kindred.

The Kindred development represents a step in ownership in the Black community by the Black community. According to Ms. Goins, “All sectors need diversity, diversity of thought, which you only get from diversity of people.”

Congratulations to CUPED and Kindred!

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