Madison-area Urban Ministry was formed in 1971 and incorporated as a non-profit agency in 1973. As Pilgrim United Church of Christ was preparing to close their doors as a congregation, they imagined a community presence that would continue to minister to the near east side of Madison. Out of this venture came the Wil-Mar Neighborhood Center (housed in the old Pilgrim UCC Church) and Madison-area Urban Ministry.

Since 1971 MUM has evolved into an interfaith social justice organization that has spurred social change in and around Dane County. MUM’s staff and board understand our mission to be “a prophetic voice for justice, neighbors working together for social change.”

MUM has always served as an incubator for innovative ideas and new projects. Since 1973 we have incubated some of the most creative, significant programs in terms of community building in Dane County. Among those projects, Family Enhancement, Project Home, Transitional Housing, the Madison Community Health Center, the Allied Wellness Center, the Interfaith Coalition for Worker Justice of So. WI, Voices Beyond Bars, and most of the County’s Older Adult Coalitions. We currently serve as the incubator and fiscal agent for the Street Pulse Newspapers, Allied Partners and the Allied-Dunn’s Marsh Neighborhood Association.

Our advocacy has included:  leading the successful effort to end profiteering from jail services contracts at the county level; working for a just and equitable city, county and state budget, working for criminal justice system reforms, including serving on the Dane County Racial Disparities Task Force and the Dane County Implementation Team. Our Greater Isthmus Group (GIG) engages people of faith to address the issues of homelessness and access to fair and affordable housing.

MUM’s guiding values include:
• Helping frame issues for the community with compassion, mercy and justice;
• Promoting interfaith cooperation and collaboration;

• Convening and linking people of faith communities to engage in social action;
• Asking the question ‘are all people’s voices being heard?’ and when the answer
is ‘no’ helping to lift those voices up.
• Promoting respectful and thoughtful dialogue;
• Advocating with our most vulnerable brothers and sisters;
• Emphasizing systems change.

In 1990 MUM convened our Justice Issues Task Force.  Since then we have often been a lone voice calling for systemic change in our criminal justice system. Whether through dialogue forums, the creation and implementation of our Returning Prisoner Simulation © or the development of programs working with individuals and families affected by the criminal justice system, we have been a constant voice for justice and a smarter, more effective response to crime in our state.