Greater Milwaukee Foundation Announces Next President & CEO

Greg Wesley to continue to build on Foundation’s legacy of growth, collaboration


Greg WesleyMilwaukee, Wis., June 13, 2023 - The Board of Directors of the Greater Milwaukee Foundation  today announced that Greg Wesley will be the organization’s next President and Chief Executive Officer. Wesley succeeds Ellen M. Gilligan, who announced her plans to retire after more than a decade of leadership at the Foundation.

“Ellen’s vision for the Foundation has transformed the organization, benefiting the community in remarkable ways,” said Paul Jones, Chair of the Greater Milwaukee Foundation’s Board of Directors and Co-Chair of the succession committee. “Greg is a proven leader in our community and uniquely positioned to lead the organization as it builds and expands on this commitment to community impact.” 

Wesley most recently served as senior vice president of strategic alliances and business development at the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW), where he was a key strategic leader, ambassador and advisor for MCW, and was responsible for ensuring the execution of MCW’s strategic initiatives through established and emerging partnerships. Wesley deepened, nurtured and created relationships with strategic partners, strengthening enterprises and alliances, and creating opportunities for MCW’s long-term growth in Milwaukee, Madison and regional campuses in Green Bay and Wausau, Wisconsin.

Most recently, his role included ushering in a historic partnership with the Foundation as well as Royal Capital for the ThriveOn Collaboration. The collaboration is a catalyst that launched ThriveOn King, the restoration and redevelopment of a former department store in the heart of Bronzeville on North Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. The new ThriveOn King development features a range of resources and community-serving tenants on the first floor, mixed-income housing for seniors and families, offices for select MCW centers, institutes and programs, and the Foundation’s headquarters. 

Prior to joining MCW, Wesley was an equity partner of Gonzalez, Saggio and Harlan LLP in Milwaukee. Wesley has a passion for connecting business, civic, philanthropy, and public policy entities to convene around issues that improve lives. Through genuine, cross-sector relationships, he has gained a deep understanding of community issues.

He has a rich history of community engagement and involvement, including as:

  • Co-Chair of the Downtown Taskforce for the Greater Milwaukee Committee;
  • Co-Chair of the Greater Milwaukee Foundation’s MKE United Task Force;
  • Former Chair of the Milwaukee Urban League Board of Directors;
  • Former Co-Chair of the Greater Milwaukee Committee Presidential Search Committee and Current Co-Chair of the Nominating Committee;
  • Former Member of the Alverno College Presidential Search Committee
  • Former Co-Chair of the Transition Leadership Team for Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley;
  • Current Trustee of the Johnson Foundation at Wingspread and the Honkamp Family Foundation;
  • Past Trustee of the Faye McBeath Foundation, the Greater Milwaukee Foundation, and MCW;
  • Current Chair of the Boards of Directors of Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee and Teach for America Milwaukee;
  • Current member of the Board of Directors of the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce, Greater Milwaukee Committee, Milwaukee World Festivals, Inc., Black Arts Fest MKE,  Trust for Professional Managers, MHS Health Wisconsin, and Versiti Inc.
  • Past member of the Board of Directors of the United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County, Zoological Society of Milwaukee, Southeast Wisconsin Professional Baseball Park District, Greater Milwaukee Urban League, Wisconsin Historical Foundation, Park Bank Milwaukee, Legacy Bank Milwaukee, and the YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee. 

Wesley earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Indiana University-Bloomington and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Wisconsin Law School.

“We had incredibly strong interest from exceptional candidates from across the country,” said Mary Ellen Stanek, Chair-Elect of the Greater Milwaukee Foundation’s Board of Directors and Co-Chair of the succession committee. “Greg emerged as the right choice to lead the Foundationinto the next chapter with his strong vision, exceptional connections throughout our community and track record of excellence.”

Wesley takes the helm at a time when the Foundation is on a steady trajectory of growth and impact. Wesley will ensure this momentum continues to build, leveraging his strong relationships and partnerships to take the Foundation to the next level. 

“I’ve been a longtime advocate of the Foundation and its mission,” said Greg Wesley, incoming Foundation President and Chief Executive Officer. “I’m particularly energized by the Foundation’s strong strategic plan.”  

About the Greater Milwaukee Foundation 

The Greater Milwaukee Foundation is Wisconsin’s largest community foundation and was among the first established in the world. For more than a century, the Foundation has been at the heart of the civic community, helping donors achieve the greatest philanthropic impact, elevating the work of changemakers across neighborhoods, and bringing people and organizations together to help our region thrive. Racial equity is the Foundation’s North Star, guiding its investments and strategies for social and economic change. Leveraging generations of community knowledge, cross-sector partnerships and more than $1 billion in financial assets, the Foundation is committed to reimagining philanthropy, recentering communities and remaking systems to transform our region into a Milwaukee for all. 


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