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United Way Blog

United Way Honors Christy Brown with MLK, Jr. Day Award

Christy L. Brown, J.D., has been recognized by the United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County (UWGMWC) with the Linda McFerrin African American Nonprofit Leadership Award This annual award highlights significant contributions in the nonprofit sector, focusing on leadership and community service. 

Brown's work, particularly at Alverno College, has been notable for its emphasis on equity and social justice. At Alverno, she has actively worked towards creating an inclusive environment that aligns with the college's core values. Her efforts have extended beyond the college, changing the broader community in meaningful ways. "Christy Brown has demonstrated nonprofit leadership for decades in our community. She has a nuanced understanding of Milwaukee's strengths, weaknesses, challenges, and opportunities, especially related to the inequities confronting women and people of color," says Michelle Nettles, Chief People and Culture Officer at ManpowerGroup, a valued UMGMWC partner. "She brings this nuanced understanding to her role as a successful leader. She is a strong embodiment of the values of Linda McFerrin." 

The Linda McFerrin Award, established in 2018, is significant in the nonprofit community. It not only recognizes the achievements of African American leaders but also emphasizes the importance of their roles in mentorship, philanthropy, and community engagement. Brown's selection for this award acknowledges her impact on local communities and her commitment to positive change. 

Brown is moved by the honor. “To be recognized as an outstanding leader in this way is very humbling,” she says, adding “I like to think of this as a collective recognition, honoring everyone who is leading a local nonprofit, especially leaders of color. It can be hard work at times, but it can also be very rewarding. I’m very excited and honored to receive this special award.” 

As part of the award, the organization Brown represents also received a $5,000 grant from United Way. This grant supports the continued work in the areas she champions. Her selection places her among a group of past awardees who have made substantial contributions to the nonprofit sector in Milwaukee and Waukesha. The award is significant, honoring Linda McFerrin, who held 11 positions at UWGMWC over 42 years, ultimately retiring as the Vice President of Resource Development. McFerrin is credited with the success of the United Way of Milwaukee and United Way of Waukesha merger. The awardee exemplifies Linda's leadership in our community. 

By recognizing Christy Brown's efforts, the award underscores the significance of leadership in the nonprofit sector and the impact it can have on community development and social change.