The Sister’s Diversion Project

The Sister’s Diversion Project is a multi-year project designed to create, maintain and expand policies and practices that decriminalize prostitution and offer women treatment alternatives to incarceration so they can begin the journey to safer and healthier lives. The project is designed to create policy shifts that change the way Milwaukee addresses the issue of street prostitution.

As a result of funding from the Women’s Fund Social Change Grants program, the Benedict Center’s Sister’s Diversion Project was able to sustain and leverage funding for the program by receiving a two year policy change grant from the Medical College of Wisconsin to focus on creating a city-wide prostitution diversion program. This has allowed us to significantly increase capacity to work on this social change project.

Cientificas de Milwaukee

Cientificas de Milwaukee is the only extracurricular program in the Milwaukee Public Schools that offers bilingual STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education to elementary and middle school-aged girls in the Milwaukee Area and raises awareness of the disparities apparent in the higher education pipeline, particularly in STEM fields. Offered at Hayes Elementary School, the program has grown from five girls to fifty in grades 5th through 8th. Funded through the Women’s Fund Social Change Grants Program, Cientificas has changed the attitudes about STEM careers.

Renaissance Theaterworks

Playwright Gwendolyn Rice was selected as a finalist for the prestigious SAMUEL FRENCH’S 40TH Annual Off Off Broadway Short Play Festival in New York City. LUCKY NUMBERS by Madison resident Gwendolyn Rice has been selected from nearly 1,500 submissions to be a finalist. LUCKY NUMBERS is produced by Renaissance Theaterworks and was presented on August 5th at the East 13th Street Theater.

Gwendolyn was the winner of the Renaissance Theaterworks Br! NK competition funded in part through the Women’s Fund Social Change Grants program. Br! NK was started for the purpose of developing and advancing the work of Midwestern female playwrights while raising awareness of gender inequality in professional theatre. Women are less than 1% of playwrights who can tell our stories that promote social change for women and girls. in this billion dollar industry. We plan to change that! In August 2014, Renaissance Theaterworks produced Rice’s play THE GRIOTS as a staged reading in the Br! NK New Work Festival. Since then, Rice has continued to make her voice heard throughout the Midwest. Here’s what she’s been up to:

  • Contributing playwright to THE SUITCASE DREAMS, a devised piece by Theatre LILA performed at the Overture Center in Madison, October 2014
  • THE SUITCASE DREAMS will also be performed at the American High School Theatre Festival/The Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland, August 2015
  • Original piece “Shaken, Not Stirred” selected as part of the Walking the Wire Monologue Festival, March 2015
  • Taught an “Introduction to Playwriting” course through Children’s Theater of Madison, Spring 2015
  • Featured playwright at the Great Plains Theater Conference in Omaha, NE, May, 2015

Renaissance Theaterworks’ mission is to improve gender parity in theater and tell women’s stories. Gwendolyn Rice is an important new voice in American Theater and we are thrilled to help further her work.