Curative Care  


Image of Curative's original cottage location with clients outside in 1919

Curative Care has a rich history

Curative was founded on May 12, 1919 when Elizabeth Upham Davis and the Junior League of Milwaukee started the Curative Workshop for restoration therapy. Davis' vision to provide what is known today as occupational therapy grew from treating children initially, and later adults, in a small cottage. On April 9, 1931, the Junior League turned the project over to the community and the Curative Workshop of Milwaukee became an incorporated, not-for-profit agency.

During its first year of operation, Curative provided 240 treatments to 28 pediatric patients. Today, Curative Care serves thousands of clients annually. Curative has grown from being housed in a one-room cottage to a comprehensive human services organization offering programs and services at multiple community-based sites throughout southeast Wisconsin.

Celebrating 100 Years of Helping People Thrive

Milestones of growth

  • 1919 - The Junior League Curative Workshop is founded. Junior League member Elizabeth Upham Davis, inspired by her exposure to rehabilitation work in World War I military hospitals, begins an effort to rehabilitate children with severe disabilities. Twenty-six children are served in a one-room cottage on the grounds of Columbia Hospital.

  • 1920 - Physical therapy services are added, and treatment expands to include adults as well as children.

  • 1923 - Cramped quarters lead to a larger location at 461 N. Milwaukee Street in downtown Milwaukee. A toy store is opened to raise money.

  • 1925 - Continued growth prompts a move to larger quarters at 454 N. Jackson Street.

  • 1926 - An affiliation begins with the predecessor of today’s United Way, with their $7,500 gift contributing toward an annual budget of $15,616.

  • 1928 - A clinic for children with speech problems is founded. A $1,500 gift from the Junior League makes it possible to add a home service program for homebound patients.

  • 1931 - The Junior League prompts the incorporation of Curative Workshop of Milwaukee, an independent organization with its own board of directors.

  • 1936 - Miss Marjorie Taylor, OTR, is engaged as a full-time Executive Director. Using experience gained as a “reconstruction aide” during World War I, she joins Curative after serving as director of the Occupational Therapy program at Milwaukee-Downer College. When she joins the organization, a staff of six serves 15 to 20 patients a day in three small rooms. A nursery school is added for children with cerebral palsy and other severe disabilities, the first of its kind in the United States.

  • 1937 - Social casework services are added for patients and families.

  • 1939 - Despite the Great Depression, $134,000 is raised in ten days to build a new home for the Curative Workshop. Ground is broken at 750 N. 18th Street. The new facility, opened in June 1940, features a woodworking room, tanks and pools for water therapy, and an outdoor play area with its own tricycle track.

  • 1941 - A special “after hours” program is established for injured defense workers. Treatment, vocational evaluation, training and placement services are provided to promote successful re-employment. The needs of war workers keep Curative staff at work 10 to 12 hours per day.

  • 1944 - Curative celebrates its 25th anniversary.

  • 1945 - A special speech clinic is created for injured WWII veterans.

  • 1946 - A psychology department is added to provide evaluation and adjustment services.

  • 1947 - With the guidance of I.R. “Whitey” Witthuhn, local Kiwanis clubs create the Kiwanis Foundation to support a Curative treatment program for children with cerebral palsy.

  • 1949 - A building addition is funded by two successful drives that raise $328,168.

  • 1954 - T.S. Allegrezza is appointed Executive Director as Marjorie Taylor retires.

  • 1955 - Allen M. Taylor, a partner with the Foley & Lardner law firm, is elected to the Curative Board of Directors. Taylor, who served as a board member for 27 years and as board chairman from 1961 to 1976, is part of a six-decade-long tradition of Foley & Lardner representation on the Curative Board (from the 1930s through the present day).

  • 1958 - A cardiac homemaker service is created to teach women adaptive homemaking skills after heart disease or stroke. 

  • 1960 - The Kiwanis Foundation of Metropolitan Milwaukee establishes the Kiwanis Children’s Division of Curative Workshop in the Kiwanis facility at 610 N. 19th Street.

  • 1962 - A program is started by the industrial work adjustment unit of the vocational division, providing training and jobs for persons with disabilities at 3724 W. Wisconsin Avenue.

  • 1966 - The nation's first eight-week course in neurodevelopmental treatment (NDT) for children with cerebral palsy was held at Curative. The NDT Association as formed and headquartered there. Curative's vocational training and placement services moved to a larger location at 3700 W. Michigan Street.

  • 1968 - The Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) awards Curative with its first accreditation. Receiving accreditation through CARF, which is an international, non-profit organization that sets quality standards for rehabilitation facilities, shows that Curative is committed to providing quality programming.

  • 1969 - Curative celebrates its 50th anniversary.

  • 1970 - The Self-Help Program is introduced, offering structured, purposeful activities to assist adults with developmental disabilities. Activities in this day services program include subcontract and simulated work, recreation, education and arts and crafts.

  • 1974 - Curative and Milwaukee County sign a lease for 5.8 acres of land on the Milwaukee County Grounds for construction of a new Curative facility. Curative is the first organization to move to the Milwaukee Regional Medical Center grounds.

  • 1975 - Eugene M. Cox is appointed as the third Executive Director of Curative as T.S. Allegrezza retires. Curative is the first agency in the US accredited by the Commission on the Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) in all four areas of emphasis.

  • 1976 - The new Curative facility opens at 1000 N. 92nd Street, with 192,000 square feet of space. The Kiwanis Foundation turns over control of the Demmer-Kiwanis Children’s Center – relocated to 92nd Street – to the Curative Board of Directors.

  • 1977 - Curative provide outpatient services in physical, occupational and speech therapy to patients at the Milwaukee Regional Medical Center. The Curative Foundation is established to channel the donations of generous benefactors into long-term support of Curative.

  • 1978 - To more accurately reflect its role as a rehabilitation facility, Curative Workshop of Milwaukee is renamed to Curative Rehabilitation Center. New community-based facilities are opened at 5071 S. Lake Drive in Cudahy and 2607 W. Fond du Lac Avenue in Milwaukee.

  • 1981 - Curative receives an unprecedented three year accreditation from the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Health Care Organizations (JCAHO), becoming the only US rehabilitation facility to receive both CARF and JCAHO accreditation in all program areas. MRC Industries, now the vocational services area of Curative, moves to West Allis.

  • 1990 - After only 14 years, the mortgage on Curative's building at 1000 N. 92nd Street is retired.

  • 1991 - Curative’s MRC Industries begins a contract to provide landscaping and maintenance services at eight Milwaukee County Park & Ride lots, employing seven Curative clients.

  • 1993 - Robert H. Coons, Jr., FACHE, becomes President and CEO following the retirement of Eugene M. Cox. The organization’s name is changed to Curative Rehabilitation Services.

  • 1994 - Curative celebrates its 75th anniversary. The organization's name is changed to Curative Rehabilitation Services.

  • 1996 - A 39,000 square foot building in West Allis becomes the new home for Curative’s Industrial Services, with space for day services and vocational training programming. A companion care program is created to help elderly persons in Milwaukee and Waukesha counties remain independent in their homes.

  • 1999 - The Senior Care Center, a day program for older adults with dementia and/or health concerns, opens in downtown Waukesha.

  • 2000 - The first Minority Graduate Scholarships are awarded to two University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee students. Curative Senior Services becomes a funded agency of the United Way in Waukesha County.

  • 2001 - Curative announces a name change, becoming Curative Care Network to more accurately reflect the wide variety of services offered. A building at 6700 W. Forest Home Avenue is purchased to become a new Adult Day Services center. The Curative AKTION Club is founded by Adult Day Services program participants under the leadership of the Kiwanis Club of Milwaukee.

  • 2005 - Curative responds to the closing of Milwaukee’s Opportunities Industrial Center, providing programming for the 100 persons served by OIC and offering jobs to the organization’s employees.

  • 2006 - The Ranch Community Services is acquired by Curative in November. During a seamless transition, services continued for nearly 200 Adult Day program participants, group home residents and Community Employment clients.

  • 2008 - United Way of Greater Milwaukee continues decades of generosity by allocating more than $900,000 to support Curative’s Adult Day Services and Children's Services divisions.

  • 2011 - Club Curative, an innovative day program for young adults ages 18-29 with developmental or cognitive disabilities, is established within Curative's Adult Day Services at the Forest Home location at the request of three families.

  • 2013 - Candace L. Hennessy PhD, RN, joins Curative as President and CEO after the retirement of Robert H. Coons, Jr., FACHE. A second Club Curative program is opened at the Menomonee Falls site in May.

  • 2014 - Curative becomes a provider of pediatric case management services as a contracted unit with the Milwaukee County Children's Long Term Support waiver program. The location on Forest Home Avenue is renovated to offer more program space for clients. Curative also begins partnering with the Medical College of Wisconsin's Center for Bioethics and Medical Humanities to employ an ethical framework for delivering and evaluating the services we provide.

  • 2015 - During nationwide celebrations for the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Curative is declared a host site for the "Road to Freedom" Legacy Bus Cross Country Tour in May. In August, Curative Care Network acquires New Berlin Therapies, a local leader in providing medical therapy services. The newly named Curative New Berlin Therapies, LLC  strengthens Curative's historical roots as a premier provider of medical therapies.

  • 2016 - A rebranding and marketing strategy is implemented to grow the organization's services. For marketing purposes, the name is shortened to Curative Care. A new logo and corporate colors are established as well as a new tagline - "Dedicated to Helping People Thrive." A new website is launched in conjunction with the rebranding. An electronic health record system is launched in the fall of 2016 to enable real time communication and enhance the coordination of care for clients. Curative is also recognized by the Wisconsin Center for Performance Excellence with a Challenger Award as part of the organization's overall pursuit of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. 

  • 2017 - The Club Curative day program for young adults is expanded to two additional sites - the 92nd Street program opened in February and the Fond du Lac Avenue program opened in June. Curative is also recognized at the Commitment Level by the Wisconsin Center for Performance Excellence for Curative's pursuit of the Wisconsin Forward Award as part of the organization's overall pursuit of the national Malcolm Baldrige Award. 

  • 2018 - Curative again received full three-year accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) for its Adult Day Services programs. The organization also celebrated its five-year partnership between the Curative Ethics Committee and the Medical College of Wisconsin Center for Bioethics and Medical Humanities. Curative was recognized by United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County through their selection of a Birth to Three child to represent significant program impact in our community during the 2018 community giving campaign. 

  • 2019 - In celebration of the organization's historic 100-year anniversary, Curative hosted a signature gala event. The sold-out event included 300 VIP attendees and raised over $160,000 to support Curative’s mission. Curative’s 92nd Street building on the Milwaukee Regional Medical Center (MRMC) campus was sold to Children’s Wisconsin, and the excess land and buildings at the Menomonee Falls location were sold. The proceeds were invested to secure a solid future for Curative. We relocated Curative New Berlin Therapies to the 92nd Street location and started construction on the Curative Pediatric Therapy Center. It will be the first of its kind in the state to address the developmental delays of children with a variety of special needs and complex medical issues. The center’s Pediatric Therapy Gym was made possible through a generous $50,000 grant from Kohl’s Cares. 

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