For more than 80 years, the Centers for Independence has strengthened communities by helping people advance their total health. CFI is dedicated to assisting people of all ages and abilities achieve their fullest level of independence through a supportive environment that fosters hope. CFI’s unmatched breadth of services and resources allows others to find value in themselves and see a path forward.
The Centers for Independence integrates health care and social services. CFI’s commitment to total health with a trauma-informed care approach results in a framework of wellness that improves lives, families, and communities. CFI’s programs serve people who need:
The Centers for Independence assists people of all abilities, ages, and socioeconomic standing. CFI’s vast array of services and programs are based on community needs and are offered to every client, patient, and consumer who seeks them. In many cases, CFI brings solutions to people who might not find assistance anywhere else.
Speaking for the entire team, I can say unequivocally that we found your organization to be exceptional in terms of service quality and its commitment to realizing its mission.”
CFI has been providing life-changing programs for people struggling to gain independence since 1938. It began as Jewish Vocational Service to help new immigrant families fleeing oppression in Europe settle in our community.
Since then, the agency has grown to 30-plus programs, 700 employees, 340 volunteers and 125 interns. We help 20,000 individuals annually on their path to independence.
See our annual report here.
For more than 34 years, Teri has dedicated her career to improving programs and services for children, youth and adults with special needs. Before joining MCFI, she had a distinguished 16-year career as president and CEO of SaintA, and founded PATH Wisconsin, a child-welfare agency that provides family based services in multiple states.
Bridget has 30 years of experience working in finance for nonprofit organizations. She has a CPA and a Master’s in Taxation and a broad experience in all aspects of financial oversight.
Dennise has 30 years of executive clinical leadership experience in community and academic hospitals and systems, outpatient clinics and community programs. She has expertise in program development, population health management, clinical integration, performance improvement and quality.
Denise has almost 30 years of human resources leadership experience that includes union and employee labor relations in the health care, financial, professional services and consumer products fields. She has a strong background in leadership development, change management, and diversity, inclusion and transformation.
Margie is an attorney and registered nurse with more than 20 years of experience working in the legal and health-care fields. At MCFI, she provides support and direction to program areas in compliance with contracts, laws, regulations and accreditation standards, as well as protection of client rights and corporate ethics.
Pamela is a seasoned information technology professional with more than 20 years of experience in both managerial and technical capacities.
John has a master’s degree in health care administration and more than 25 years of experience in behavioral health. He is passionate about caring for the total health of clients at WHCG.
Katherine has supported long-term care services for 20 years. She has provided outcome-focused service in home care, hospice, veteran’s services and financial management services. Her focus is multi-faceted, centered on continuous improvement, quality, compassion and equity.
Heidi has more than 25 years of experience leading diverse teams in food service, various commercial service operations and training programs. Her career path and education has focused on creating a healthier community through increasing access to fresh food, creating jobs and helping people reach their career goals.
Partnering with people of all abilities to advance their total health.
Healthy and hopeful communities.
Understanding PEOPLE. LEADING Success. Working TOGETHER. Those are the values that drive CFI and its staff.
At age 45, Joe got a rare gift: a chance to hit the proverbial reset button on his life. To say the year...Learn More
Born prematurely at 29 weeks, Lukas spent the first 351 days of his life at a hospital instead of his...Learn More
Noah Butler arrived at CFI in July 2016. When he did, a mix of a cognitive disability and fear of talking...Learn More
Kristina Garcia had been working with Jessica Schluter for several years. Schluter suffered a brain injury...Learn More
Ronnie Fuller’s life changed dramatically in 2018, when he experienced a brain injury and lost oxygen...Learn More
We are committed to our many partners who help us strengthen our community.
CFI is dedicated to delivering health care and social services that strictly conform to the highest standards of accountability for administration, clinical, business, marketing and financial management.
Our Code of Ethics contains general guidelines for providing services and conducting business with the highest standards of ethics. We are committed to an environment where open, honest communications are the expectation, not the exception.
We believe in and practice self-directed care, meaning that those we serve, or their representatives or guardians, have the authority to make decisions about the types of services they receive.
If you believe there has been a violation of policies or standards, please feel free to contact our corporate compliance officer, Margaret Fischbach, 414-290-7834.
To access your records, you will need to fill out one of the following forms, either electronically and emailed back or one that can be printed, filled out and faxed. Click here for the electronic form. Click here for the printable form, which is also available in Spanish.
The Centers for Independence is committed to creating a diverse, inclusive and culturally competent culture that best reflects and serves our clients, our staff and our community.
Diversity is fundamental to every aspect of CFI, from the mission, vision, and values to the governance and business planning of the organization.
CFI is a pioneer in cultural competency and widely recognized for initiatives that advance and welcome people of color, the LGBTQ community, veterans, and people of all ages and abilities.
As a strong community partner, CFI is among other Milwaukee nonprofit organizations that have pledged to take steps to dismantle structural racism in the community, including diversifying their boards and staff.
Please read more here.
Why are early intervention programs successful?▼
According to research, learning and development are at their highest rate in the preschool years. Some children, due to economic or social or developmental delays, risk missing some of the most important learning and developmental milestones. Early intervention helps keep children on a path to making the most of abilities and skills developed during the early years.
What does person-first and person-centered mean?▼
A person centered approach is about ensuring someone with a disability is an equal partner in planning, developing and monitoring care to make sure it meets their unique needs and wishes.
How are MCFI’s programs funded?▼
MCFI programs receive funds from a variety of sources, including Milwaukee County, the Department of Public Instruction, the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, Medicaid, commercial insurance companies, private pay, grants, private foundations and individual donors.
Does MCFI only serve people with disabilities?▼
While this is our primary focus; we also serve all people with barriers to success. For instance, our charter school is all inclusive, serving children with and without disabilities.
Is my donation tax-deductible?▼
MCFI is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization and your gift is tax-deductible.