mkes-logo.gifMilwaukee, WI - May 18, 2012 - Milwaukee Succeeds, the cradle-to-career educational partnership that aims to improve educational outcomes for all students in Milwaukee, has hired Mike Soika as its first director.

In his role as director, Soika will lead and direct the work of the partnership by continuing to recruit and engage partner organizations, oversee the work of the various committees and continue to move the partnership forward. He will start June 25.

"Mike brings a wealth of experience across the government and nonprofit sectors in our community," said Jackie Herd-Barber, a chair of Milwaukee Succeeds and a Foundation Board member. "He also has served as a key volunteer with Milwaukee Succeeds as chair of the Operations Team. His expertise, community connections and commitment to improving education for all children will be important in moving Milwaukee Succeeds forward."

Soika has spent the last seven years as vice president of social responsibility and mission impact at the YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee. In that role, he has provided oversight and evaluation of the Y's programs as they relate to the agency's mission. He has also spearheaded the creation of new and innovative ways for the nonprofit to serve central city neighborhood members and community residents.

Prior to working at the Y, Soika served as chief of staff to former Milwaukee Mayor John Norquist. Over the course of his 30-year career in government and nonprofit management, Soika has worked to address issues including homelessness, affordable housing, economic development and welfare reform. He oversaw the city's Community Development Block Grant Program; founded the Lisbon Avenue Neighborhood Development, a community development corporation; oversaw a community effort that led to the creation of the first ever Housing Trust Fund in the city; and was associate director of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee's office of social ministry.

He received a bachelor's degree in social work from California University of Pennsylvania.

Milwaukee Succeeds, which began in July 2011, focuses on creating and supporting strategies that ensure success for every child in every school in Milwaukee, from early childhood opportunities to postsecondary options. Within the past year, the partnership has recruited 43 members to serve on its Leadership Council, selected improving third grade reading proficiency as its first major focus area and has engaged a total of more than 200 people in the community. It is evaluating additional focus areas and will introduce a baseline report, the Milwaukee Succeeds Milestone Report, later this summer.

About Milwaukee Succeeds

Milwaukee Succeeds is a partnership created to improve the educational outcomes for all students in Milwaukee from cradle to career. It was organized by the Greater Milwaukee Foundation, Greater Milwaukee Committee, Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce, Milwaukee Public Schools, Milwaukee Urban League, the United Way of Greater Milwaukee, and Helen Bader Foundation.

About the Greater Milwaukee Foundation

The Greater Milwaukee Foundation is a family of more than 1,100 individual charitable funds, each created by donors to serve the local charitable causes of their choice. Grants from these funds serve people throughout Milwaukee, Waukesha, Ozaukee and Washington counties and beyond. Started in 1915, the Foundation is one of the oldest and largest community foundations in the world.s one of the oldest and largest community foundations in the world.


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