About Safer Communities Our Mission, Vision and Areas of Focus Safe Communities Madison-Dane County coordinates county-wide, collaborative campaigns with organizations and individuals that have a significant interest and investment in safety. SUICIDE PREVENTION FALLS PREVENTION TRAFFIC SAFETY DRUG POISONING

Safe Communities

About us

Safe Communities of Madison and Dane County is an award-winning nonprofit coalition of over 350 organizations working together to save lives, prevent injury and make our community safer.

Formed in 1999 after the Public Health Madison and Dane County community assessment found much activity but little collaboration in the area of injury prevention, Safe Communities is a venue through which diverse partners with a shared concern for community safety come together to advance effective programs and collaborations.

Safe Communities funding comes from federal, local and foundation grants, project sponsorship, sustaining memberships and individual donors.
We are a 501c3 nonprofit organization governed by a board of directors, comprised of public and private sector partners.

Our programs are coordinated by a small staff including an executive director, program managers, project coordinators and contractors who assist where funding allows. Projects are conducted thanks to efforts of partners who serve on task forces and program teams.

We are accredited under guidelines established by the World Health Organization Collaborating Center on Community Safety Promotion, National Safety Council’s Safe Communities America Network and Pan Pacific Network of Safe Communities. Our coalition has been recognized as a model by National Safety Council, has been awarded three National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) demonstration projects, and is currently in partnership with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and SAMHSA to develop new ways to address our nation’s drug overdose epidemic.

Safe Communities uses local data (death, hospitalization and emergency department) to set program priorities. Dane County’s top causes of injury-related death and hospitalization are: drug poisoning, suicide, falls (particularly among older adults), and traffic crashes.

As a coalition, we employ evidence-based programs to address these priorities.  Safe Communities’ programs include Stepping On, shown to reduce falls among participating older adults by 50% and the Zero Suicide Initiative, which reduced suicides among members of a health care organization that employed its methods by 80%.  We also manage MedDrop for Dane County, preventing prescription drug misuse by collecting over 18 tons of unused medicines from local households since the programs inception, and the Slow Down Yard Sign Campaign, an annual traffic safety event that mobilizes neighborhoods and law enforcement to reduce speeding in local neighborhoods.


Safe Communities builds partnerships with people and organizations to save lives, prevent injuries and make our community safer.


Safe Communities will be both the leader and the primary catalyst in making Madison-Dane County the safest American community and serve as a national model of safety excellence.

Issues we address

1) top causes of injury through needs assessment, as determined by data

2) safety concerns cited at community listening sessions and public forums

Safe Communities Current Areas of Focus

Safe Communities Staff & Program Managers

Cheryl Wittke
Executive Director

Brittany Moes

Administrative Assistant

Ashley Hillman

Falls Prevention Manager

Jean Papalia 

Suicide Prevention Specialist
QPR Trainer

Charlestine “Charlie” Daniel, MA 

African American Opioid Coalition Founder
Prevention Specialist


Gabrielle Kaiser
Zero Suicide Initiative Coordinator

Kristina Vaccaro

Recovery Coach Program Coordinator


Tanya Kraege

Recovery Coach Project Manager

Dexter Lane

Pride in Prevention Coalition Founder
Recovery Coach

Board of Directors

Corinda Rainey-Moore, President 
Outreach & Engagement Coordinator
Kids Forward

Jim Christensen, Treasurer 
StatOrg Services, LLC

Michael Aguilar
Innocorp, Ltd.

Kristine Ashe

Chief Mike Steffes
Sun Prairie Police Department

Lupita Montoto
Assistant Program Director
La Movida/Mid-West Family Broadcasting

Joann Solberg
Public Affairs Specialist 
AAA Wisconsin

Nyra Jordan
Social Impact Investment Director
American Family Insurance

Mary Umbeck

Chief Aaron Chapin
Village of Shorewood Hills Police