Roots & Progress

Founded by residents in 2000, Walnut Way engages neighbors in making our community a place of destination. Since our purposeful beginnings, we have restored dilapidated homes, built a vibrant community center, transformed vacant lots into gardens & orchards, developed new venues for economic development, and pathways to meaningful employment, created innovative wellness programs, and engaged residents of all ages in neighborhood revitalization activities.

Our Neighborhood

Walnut Way works in the heart of the 110-block Lindsay Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee’s near-Northside from Walnut to Locust Street and I-43 to 20th Street. Home to over 2,700 families, Lindsay Heights is a vibrant African American community building on its assets to face complex challenges. We are deeply committed to sustaining economically diverse and abundant communities through civic engagement, environmental stewardship, and creating venues for prosperity.

Quality of Life Plan

From the beginning, we have understood that the way we work together matters. Together with residents, young people, business owners, non-profits, and a range of other stakeholders we created a vision of what Lindsay Heights can be. Over 200 residents and partners developed the Lindsay Heights Quality of Life plan that sets our vision and guides our work in health and wellness, economic prosperity, and environmental stewardship.

Our Story

Walnut Way Conservation Corp. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit neighborhood organization founded in 2000 by Lindsay Heights residents to reclaim and redevelop the economic health and vitality of their community.

In the years since, Walnut Way and its partners have rolled out a series of successful and innovative programs and initiatives addressing the neighborhood’s most pressing economic, environmental, and health issues.

Our History
Co-founders Sharon and Larry Adams founded Walnut Way along with their neighbors rooted in the belief that their community is abundant and powerful. The Adams retired from Walnut Way in 2015.

Our Executive Director

Acting Executive Director is Francesca Dawson, a founding member of Walnut Way and Lindsay Heights resident of over 16 years. Fran served on the Board of Directors for several years, has been actively involved as a volunteer and Lindsay Heights Housing Committee Chair. Fran has 4 years of experience working as an operations manager and 20 years with government.

Fran was the first to build a new home on her block in the neighborhood, a block that had been decimated by highway clearing and blighted housing policies. Despite the vast tracts of vacant land surrounding her and two active drug houses across the street, she had the vision and strength to say, “This can change and I will help.”
Fran constructed her new home in a newly formed neighborhood called Walnut Way. She convinced her parents to build a home on the block too in which they enjoy the harvest of their young peach trees planted in her backyard. Today you will find her helping to reclaim a once healthy neighborhood, re-building social networks and experiencing the joy she remembered growing up in a stable neighborhood.


Board of Directors

LaVonda Graham

Vice President
Annie Robinson

Monique Graham

Antonio Butts

Heidi Moore

Tyrone Rhone

Larry Adams

Sharon Adams

Walnut Way Staff


Environmental Specialist
Jeremy Davis

Environmental Programs Assistant
Aton Fox

Research Project Engagement Specialist
Ameea Perkins

Blue Skies Staff
Josh Hayes

Blue Skies Staff
Jeff Henderson

Blue Skies Staff
Jacob Liptack

Blue Skies Staff
Reginald Moses

Blue Skies Staff
Tony Velez

Blue Skies Staff
Curtis Williams


Program Manager of Catalytic Development
Tyler Weber, M.P.H.

Community Mobilization Specialist
Trenell Henning

Project Coordinator
Terron Edwards

Health Coach
Angela Smith


Acting Executive Director
Francesca Dawson

Marketing and Communications Manager
Erica Heisdorf Bisquerra

Our Core Values

Resident led
Right relationships
Spirit of Abundance
Learning through Implementation