Belinda Pittman-McGee
Founder & Executive Director

Belinda Pittman-McGee

Belinda Pittman-McGee was born to the Rogers Family, the fifth of six children in Monticello, Arkansas in 1953. At age 12, following the death of her beloved grandfather, Eugene Cross, she moved to Pontiac, Michigan to live with her sister. His advice to her has been an anchor in her life: “If you believe that you can climb Mount Everest, you can. If you get stuck, back up and rethink, but never give up.”

She stopped her formal schooling in 9th grade, going back and forth between Pontiac and Milwaukee, where her parents had moved in 1969. She later received her GED. In 1971, at age 18, she married and had three children—Felicia, Gaynell and Kendricke. She left this abusive marriage at age 31, ending up in a homeless shelter with her children.

Since then, to support herself and her children, she has worked as a home manager and childcare assistant, started a cleaning business, worked in a program to curb truancy in Milwaukee Public Schools, done community outreach at UWM-Extension, and worked in a program to help gang members. In her darkest times, like so many of the women she now works to empower, she was on public assistance.

In 1994, she and a friend started what is now Nia Imani Family, Inc. They witnessed the profound need to serve women, especially African Americans, who did not know how to break the cycles of addiction, poverty, violence, abuse, homelessness, and learned helplessness. To make a truly lasting difference for women and their children, Mrs. Pittman-McGee knows that a program must offer longer-term living situations, a stable, safe, extended family structure connected to the broader community, and support to develop or expand basic life competencies.

In 2000, she married Corthal McGee.

Over the years, Mrs. Pittman-McGee and her projects have been featured in Milwaukee Magazine, The Milwaukee Times, The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, UWM Reports, WMVP, “Milwaukee’s Talking”, The Milwaukee Catholic Herald, The Milwaukee Community Journal, and many others.

She has been a speaker at the 4th Street Forum in January 2008 on “The Violence of Poverty”, at many Milwaukee Public Schools, the State of Wisconsin Department of Corrections, the Wisconsin Association for Adult and Continuing Education, University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee School of Nursing, and many others.

In 2010, Mrs. Pittman-McGee was selected as a recipient of The Milwaukee Times' 25th Black Excellence Awards.