As a board member for organizations such as the Repertory Theater, United Negro College Fund (UNCF) and Milwaukee Public Museum, Michelle Crockett has spent a lot of time sitting at meetings. But what sets her apart from other volunteers is that Crockett also can be found making home cooked meals for the homeless, teaching neighborhood at-risk youth table manners or mentoring one of her 26 godchildren.
“My goal is to always help somebody,” she explained.
“Our organization is volunteer-based, so people like Michelle are our lifeline,” said Gloria Ricks, a consultant and former area development director for UNCF. “She keeps at it until it gets done,” she added. Ricks credits Crockett with raising more than $60,000 for UNCF during her 32 years as a volunteer.
A Mississippi native, Crockett has spent most of her life in Milwaukee; she currently resides in City Homes, a neighborhood right outside of Lindsay Heights. “My parents were involved in the community,” Crockett stated, “so I grew up volunteering, and, as an adult, I’ve continued to do so.”
Crockett works as vice president of community affairs at Genesis Behavioral Health Services, Inc., an affiliate of Correctional Medical Services, Inc., which has 30 treatment centers throughout southeastern Wisconsin that provide alcohol, drug and mental health services. Crockett said she is particularly proud of a treatment facility for men. Those who stay there – for an average of 90 to 120 days – can earn their GED while in recovery.
Crockett speaks about giving back as though it were effortless. “The type of work I do on my job (and in the community), I see as a process,” she explained. “For instance, to get a house approved in a neighborhood, I don’t think of it as a challenge, I think of it as a lengthy process.”
Last year, Crockett received the Fran Swigart Board Leadership Award from the Nonprofit Center of Milwaukee. Crockett was nominated by Northcott Neighborhood House, which she has served as a longtime director. Northcott, affiliated with United Neighborhood Centers of Milwaukee, is a nonprofit that provides social services to a 425-block area in the city. Crockett was honored for her outstanding service to the community.
“(That) award was very special to me,” Crockett said. “They submitted me because I was a hands-on board member: from the board to the neighborhood.”