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Empowering Milwaukee County residents with the resources to move beyond poverty.

For more than 50 years, the Social Development Commission (SDC) has served as a planner, coordinator, and provider of human service programs for low-income individuals and families in Milwaukee County. SDC was established in 1963 as an intergovernmental commission under Wisconsin State Statute 66.0125. In 1964, the SDC became the only Community Action Agency for Milwaukee County. read more …

Ella Dunbar, M.Ed.

Community Outreach Manager

Social Development Commission

p: 414.906.2704 f: 414.906.2719


The Social Development Commission is a community action agency. In a nutshell, this means per state and federal law, we’re tasked with helping – even advocating for – Milwaukee County residents living in poverty. We’re different. We’re not bureaucrats sitting on the outside looking in. Community action agencies like us were created to give people in poverty influence over policies and resources impacting their lives. One–third of our governing board members live in poverty. We amplify their voice as we work together to solve poverty-related issues in our community. After President Lyndon B. Johnson declared a War on Poverty, community action agencies grew in popularity. In 1963, the State of Wisconsin enacted legislation (section 66.433) to establish the Community Relations – Social Development Commission (SDC). Our programs and services address issues like employment, education, finance, health and wellness. As times change, we change but we remain steadfast as we continue to attack the root causes of poverty in Milwaukee County. As the largest community action agency in the state, we are a trusted authority with outreach and a vast network of community partners.

Our Mission Our mission is to empower people with the resources to move beyond poverty.

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