The Greater Milwaukee Foundation serves the whole community. As a partner of choice for generous donors, as a champion for our nonprofit sector, as a convener of diverse voices and ideas – we have been woven into the fabric of this region for 105 years. But our legacy together is just the beginning. We are committed to expanding our table, deepening our impact and innovating for a brighter future where everyone thrives. A new tomorrow starts today.

After a year that brought both a global pandemic and an uprising for racial justice, the question we face is not how we rebuild Milwaukee—but how we build a better Milwaukee.

We envision a community of thriving neighborhoods that welcomes, includes, and develops the potential of all people. A region that serves as a beacon for the nation. A Milwaukee for all.

But there’s a fault line running through every system we live with today: racism. It’s more than just the disparities and segregation we all know too well. Its many legacies and effects represent the greatest threat to our future as a region.

No one can take on a challenge like this alone: no individual, no institution, no neighborhood. It will take all of us — and the Greater Milwaukee Foundation is how Milwaukee works together.

This is the driving purpose behind our new strategic plan for 2020-25: overcoming our racial divisions to build a Milwaukee for all. It arises from years of listening and learning with our community — and now we’re calling on our entire community to join us in this generational undertaking.

Following our North Star to build a Milwaukee for all 

The Greater Milwaukee Foundation is committed to building a Milwaukee for all. This work is guided by our North Star of racial equity and inclusion.

CLICK ON EACH SECTION OF THE GRAPHIC BELOW TO LAUNCH SHORT VIDEOS about our North Star and four corresponding strategy areas, as Foundation staff describe action steps we are taking to reimagine philanthropy, catalyze systems change, build inclusive culture and convene and follow community voice.

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Read the Action Report

To learn more about the Foundation’s work, read the inaugural edition of Action Report on Racial Equity.


Make an impact now

While we strive for a brighter future, the needs today are especially great. Responding to this pandemic continues. Those who can make a donation to the Foundation’s MKE Responds Fund, please do so here. And we thank the many in our community who have already supported with such generosity. Together we rise.

Reimagine Philanthropy

Through generous philanthropy, Foundation donors have made immeasurable contributions to the vitality of our region. Our history of partnership and service to donors is the cornerstone on which we will build a new era of philanthropy. Together, our enduring support of important causes and community organizations continues to make a difference in the lives of people throughout greater Milwaukee. We have all benefited from philanthropy in some way. Still, we recognize it hasn’t gone far enough to achieve racial equity in our region. For too long, philanthropy has been too incremental, too exclusive — and so has the Foundation. With racial equity as our North Star we’ll reimagine how we make change, together.

Key Priorities:

  • Bringing together more and different kinds of voices so we can all shape the 

    direction of philanthropy in our community

  • Calling in and serving more diverse donors
  • Mobilizing more philanthropy across our community, including new approaches like impact investing and collaborative philanthropy
  • Advancing anti-racist practices and internal diversity within the Foundation as we lead the philanthropic sector by example


Recenter Communities

For every neighborhood to thrive, we must put local residents and community leaders at the center of all we do. As a trusted partner and honest broker, we can convene and connect Milwaukeeans across neighborhoods to tackle the important issues we face. Our focus and investment will follow the voices, priorities, and ideas of neighbors who live and work in our diverse communities as we share decision-making power to create a new future together.

Key Priorities:

  • Building a landmark new partnership with the Medical College of Wisconsin and Royal Capital Group and redeveloping a shared home in the former Gimbels-Schuster’s Department Store building  
  • Launching a new initiative—the ThriveOn Collaboration—to advance economic equity, early childhood education, community building, health and well-being, and housing around the King Drive corridor
  • Building deep, responsive, and respectful community partnerships in Milwaukee neighborhoods, with an emphasis on those facing the greatest disinvestment and discrimination
  • Ramping up convening efforts and supporting residents in developing neighborhood plans that identify priorities, opportunities, challenges, and solutions for themselves and for outside funders who want to join their efforts


Remake Systems

Alongside neighbors across Milwaukee and public, private, and philanthropic partners, we will commit to the difficult, long-term work of remaking the systems that shape life and lives in our region—from education and housing to health and economic opportunity. By leveraging our leadership and research, raising our voice on the most critical issues, deepening grassroots collaboration and communitywide partnerships in support of shared visions and unified action, and driving major investments and collaborative philanthropy, we can support policy changes that deliver not just social service, but social justice.

Key Priorities:

  • Spearheading a major new push for access to quality early childhood education in communities across the region
  • Working for all our families to have homes they can depend on and invest in, including increasing homeownership and reducing eviction rates
  • Supporting local businesses and economic vibrancy, and working to increase employment rates in our priority neighborhoods



Whoever you are, whatever issues you care about most, and however you’re able to contribute, we invite you to join us in the work ahead:

Learn more about the most important issues in our community with the Foundation's growing range of resources and research.

Bring your voice to Foundation-facilitated discussions that engage our whole community in the questions that shape our shared future.

Give and volunteer to advance causes and lift up communities across Milwaukee, with the Foundation as your expert partner in making the greatest impact.

A Milwaukee for all is only possible with all of us working together — including you.

A Milwaukee for All Strategic Plan PDF booklet

Strategic Vision Booklet

A Milwaukee for All

Learn more about our strategic vision to help build a better Milwaukee. A true Milwaukee for all takes all of us.

A Journey in Racial Equity and Inclusion

Our journey in racial equity over the last 20 years has been one of learning, collaboration and action, both inside and out.