Through our grantmaking over the past century, we have left an indelible mark on the region by addressing its most critical needs such as urban education and poverty. At the same time, our Board and leadership team recognized that the issues confronting the region were too big to solve through grantmaking alone.

Our Civic Engagement department enables the Foundation to take a much more active civic role by expanding partnerships, more strategically and actively engaging interested parties to address community problems, commissioning research to inform and prompt community dialogue, and addressing public policy matters that impact our targeted strategies. 


AALAM/UWMCED Index of African American Well-Being in the Nation's Largest Metropolitan Areas

Presented through the leadership of the African American Leadership Alliance of Milwaukee, sponsored by the Greater Milwaukee Foundation and published by Dr. Marc Levine, Professor Emeritus and Founding Director of UW-Milwaukee Center for Economic Development, this study presents a systematic compilation of where Black Milwaukee ranks compared to the nation’s 50 largest metropolitan areas on 30 indicators of community well-being, including employment, community health, social and economic conditions, education, and conditions for youth and children.

Early Childhood Education Report

A new Foundation-commissioned report, conducted by IFF, a national nonprofit community developer, reveals the need for equitable access to early childhood education in Milwaukee.

The State of Urban Manufacturing: Milwaukee City Snapshot

The State of Urban Manufacturing: Milwaukee City Snapshot, produced through a collaborative effort among the Foundation, Bader Philanthropies and the Urban Manufacturing Alliance, reveals the community’s growing share of smaller scale manufacturing and its potential as a driver of economic expansion and equity.

Vital Signs: Benchmarking Metro Milwaukee

During the Great Recession, the Foundation launched Vital Signs to track key economic and social indicators. In 2013 we released a more comprehensive look at the quality of life in our region with Vital Signs: Benchmarking Metro Milwaukee. The report shows how our region compares to 15 other metro areas across a variety of quality of life indicators. Updated versions have been released for 2015 and 2017, showing movement regarding our region’s strength, well-being and vitality. 

Latino Milwaukee: A Statistical Portrait

Latino Milwaukee: A Statistical Portrait provides the first-ever comprehensive look at conditions in the Latino community and the trends that continue to shape our region. Published in 2016, the report continues to inform the work of local nonprofits and other organizations that work with the Latino community. 


Through the regionwide forum On the Table MKE, introduced in 2017, the Foundation has created a unique opportunity for people to build relationships, generate ideas through respectful dialogue and put those ideas in motion for the benefit of the community and its future.

We also have hosted a wide array of convenings to inform our grantmaking, share ideas, and strategize about necessary steps in addressing issues such as early childhood education, justice system reform and housing.

Public Policy

We engage in public policy matters in a variety of ways and at different levels of government. Whether supporting research about county-level public transit or working directly with Wisconsin's governor on education policy, we bring the Foundation’s experience, knowledge and values to the public square. Most recently, the Foundation, Milwaukee Succeeds and partners successfully lobbied for the expansion of the Wisconsin Reading Corps, securing $1 million in state funding.

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Learn more about Milwaukee Succeeds, a communitywide education initiative we helped launch to improve outcomes for the city’s kids.