Riverworks Development Corporation

Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA


Saved on 3 projects and calls

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Riverworks Development Corporation (RDC) drives social and economic development by aligning residents and businesses with specialized resources that strengthen Harambee, Riverwest and surrounding communities.

What We Do

Financial Empowerment: RDC's Financial Empowerment pillar provides innovative solutions to help families revitalize their full financial potential by increasing credit scores and learning new ways to cultivate a healthy and happy financial life. The Financial Clinic combines both one-on-one financial coaching and group-based education to help participants improve financial behaviors. Through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, the Financial Clinic assisted families and individuals in preparing and submitting their tax returns. 2020 was a year of great growth for the Clinic; the team grew from two staff member to seven - including the new program within the Clinic called "Financial Navigator".

Neighborhood Development & Creative Placemaking: RDC's Neighborhood Development pillar works with residents to create a vibrant community that reflects the values of Harambee & Riverwest. This is done in part by activating public spaces with art and culture, as well as facilitating community improvement projects and safety meetings, and connecting residents and homeowners to resources, including those available through the Harambee Neighborhood Improvement District (NID). By going virtually, RDC was able to reach record high turnout for these events through live views and continued access on social media. Through the Harambee NID, homeowners received grant funds for home improvements. The Beerline Trail Neighborhood Development Project was created to ensure the next phases of trail development serve the needs of the community, and that other development inspired by and centered around the trail as a premier public green space benefits residents equitably.

Our mission is to sustain and enrich the lives of people in Harambee and Riverwest by promoting health, well-being and prosperity through increased circulation of resources, voices, ideas, labor and creativity. Prior to the Beerline Trail Neighborhood Development Project efforts, this corridor was significantly impacted by blight, disinvestment, and a lack of perceived safety. A key value of our work with this public space design is to create an inviting place for cultural exchange that can stimulate sustainable connections with residents of both the Harambee and Riverwest neighborhoods.

Business Development: RDC's Business Development pillar connects local entrepreneurs and businesses to effective technical assistance, coaching services, networking & educational events, and real estate opportunities. Services available to businesses include property/business beautification, security, marketing & promotions, business planning, expansion and relocation, and linking employers to the job pool of local residents. The Riverworks Business Improvement District (BID) is managed under this department and BID developed new videos for a marketing series for BID businesses called "Made-In". The BID also took their annual event, called the "Dolphin Pool", virtual, and reached large audience.

Workforce Development: RDC's Workforce Development pillar is targeted towards employing community members who have barriers to employment, and building their resume and skill-set that will move them forward in the search for life sustaining waged jobs. Riverworks Cleans is a social enterprise of RDC that employs six full-time employees; Riverworks Cleans remained functional as an essential business throughout the entire COVID-19 pandemic. The Cleans crew work in six Milwaukee Business Improvement Districts providing litter removal, empting trash cans, returned shopping carts, and removing graffiti tags. Riverworks Cleans also contracts will the City of Milwaukee to removal illegal dumpings removed from city owned properties.

Real Estate Development: RDC's Real Estate Development projects are economic development tools meant to be profitable, sustainable, impactful, and catalytic. The four core values are to create jobs, increase tax revenues, reuse vacant & blighted properties, and give back by reinvesting revenue earned into the staff and services of RDC. The Riverworks City Center, completed in 2018, houses the offices for RDC staff, as well as the Riverworks Coin Laundry, a rotating white box space for local businesses, the Beerline Trail Food Court, and a spaced rented by Family Dollar. The Riverworks Lofts, completed in 2012, has one and two bedroom loft-style apartments on the intersection of Holton and Townsend. The Riverworks Commons, completed in 2004, is a shopping center on Capitol Drive with 21,000 feet of retail space. The plans have been finalized and funds were secured for a green infrastructure project that will be completed in 2021 -- The Beerline Plaza. The Plaza will be located at the Riverworks City Center, and will be a public place for events, music, art and much more. RDC also started the very early stages of construction for The Connector building, which will be a multi-use space on the Beerline Trail featuring an indoor wellness center.


Darryl J
Darryl J.

Executive Director

Debra P
Debra P.

Business & Accounting Manager

Dawn H.

Volunteer Manager