Roots & Progress

Since our purposeful beginnings in 2000, we have restored dilapidated homes, built a vibrant community center, transformed vacant lots into gardens and 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
Our Programs and Initiatives
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

Antonio Butts, Executive Director, Walnut Way Conservation Corp., is a catalytic leader who is passionate about transforming economically excluded communities into neighborhoods of health and prosperity.  Antonio’s career is marked by his collaborative leadership style and ability to create social enterprise for economic and social impact.

Growing up in the Lindsay Heights neighborhood fueled his drive to be a leader. After seeing many friends become trapped by disparities, Antonio found optimism in The Boys & Girls Club and mentors who helped him cultivate his leadership talents to their full potential.

With an entrepreneurial zeal, Antonio has spurred improvements in the financial, social and environmental well-being of Milwaukee’s neighborhoods through social enterprise and strategic initiatives. Throughout his career, he has used commercial strategies to catalyze start-up businesses, diversify non-profit revenue, and manage leadership transitions. Antonio is also known for his turnaround experience in both community and economic development which involved crisis management, capital restructuring, employee engagement and realigning non-profit organizations for growth.

He has worked with many small to medium-sized businesses and nonprofits as a consultant and employee. After earning a BA from Minnesota State-Moorhead College, and Antonio returned to the Boys & Girls Clubs in Milwaukee, where he spurred a youth-led social enterprise and other initiatives. He was recruited by Children’s Hospital to expand the recruitment of foster families, and later joined SHARE of SE Wisconsin were he  launched Milwaukee’s first Mobile Market program for low income families. This experience fanned his passion for equitable food access, and led him to the Director position at the Fondy Market, the City’s largest urbn market in the heart of the Lindsay Heights neighborhood.

Before becoming Executive Director of Walnut Way in 2017, Antonio served as Treasurer of the organization’s Board of Directors.  Antonio is an alum of the African American Leadership Program (AALP) and Leadership Advances Fellowship (LAF), and serves on numerous boards and advisory groups in the community.

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Board of Directors

Board Photo 2019

President
LaVonda Graham

Vice President
Annie Robinson

Secretary
Monique Graham

Member
Heidi Moore

Member
Larry Adams

Member
Sharon Adams

Member
Jerrilynn Freelon

Member
X’Zayvion McCoy

Walnut Way Staff

ADMINISTRATIVE TEAM

Executive Director
Antonio Butts

Marketing and Communications Manager
Erica Heisdorf Bisquerra

ENVIRONMENTAL TEAM

Meet the Blue Skies Landscaping Team.

Read their bios and check out their work. 

Environmental Specialist
Jeremy Davis

Environmental Stewardship Program Assistant
Aton Fox

Blue Skies Construction Crew Lead
Henry Hopkins

Blue Skies Crew Member
Carlos Lathan

Blue Skies Maintenance and Operations Supervisor
Jacob Liptack

Blue Skies Landscape Technician
Jevon Prowell

Blue Skies Landscaping Technician
Hannah Dee

Blue Skies Crew Member
Tyriek Foster

Blue Skies Crew Member
Jose Zelaya

Blue Skies Crew Member
Desmond Parker

 

Our Core Values

Resident led
Right relationships
Spirit of Abundance
Learning through Implementation