Community sets tables for conversation

Since announcing the launch of On the Table in July, the Greater Milwaukee Foundation has seen enthusiasm for its vast, upcoming community conversation initiative soar.

Through On the Table, people across the region will gather in small groups on Oct. 17 to share a meal and discuss the individual and collaborative actions everyone can take to improve the quality of life in our communities.

Based on the number of table hosts registered so far, the Foundation estimates 3,000 people are already signed on to participate. And new registrations are coming in every day from people and organizations across Waukesha, Ozaukee, Washington and Milwaukee counties.

“People in our region share a strong desire to build relationships and contribute to making their communities more vibrant and connected. How to help or where to plug in, however, isn’t always clear,” said Marcus White, vice president of civic engagement for the Foundation. “On the Table provides an easy entry point for any thoughtful person to get more involved and bring their ideas to the forefront.”

 Hosts are the key to how On the Table works. Anyone can register to be a host at no cost. Each host determines who to invite to their table of 8-12, where they will meet, the topic(s) to be discussed and the time and type of meal. 

Some hosts represent organizations with which they are affiliated. Other hosts are registering as individuals who simply care about their neighborhood or city. Some community organizations are even partnering with the Foundation as “super hosts” by organizing three or more tables of guests.

See what some community leaders are saying about On the Table:

gore.pngOn the Table will harness the pride, passion and commitment of our community. It will be a starter for engaging in relationships that will prove to be meaningful and impactful.”

- Cecelia Gore, executive director, Brewers Community Foundation




“What I’m hoping is that we help each other become ambassadors for each other, which means this is going to cross gender, ethnicity, religion, race, and we’ll really begin to understand each other.”

- Janan Najeeb, president, Milwaukee Muslim Women’s Coalition



joann.png“Something like this, putting it on the table and bringing people together to have these conversations will, I think, make people feel that much more hopeful, that much more connected. And it’s so simple. That’s the beauty of it.”

- JoAnne Anton, board president, Rotary Club of Milwaukee



giselda.png“I applaud the Greater Milwaukee Foundation for putting forth efforts and really engaging all of us to come together and begin these crucial conversations.”

- Griselda Aldrete, president & CEO, Hispanic Professionals of Greater Milwaukee



As the convener for On the Table, the Foundation is providing the guidance and resources to make each table conversation as successful as possible, including a host toolkit offering ideas and inspiration. 

We invite you to register as a host at and begin planning your mealtime conversation for Oct. 17. Please consider registering as soon as possible to begin receiving important news, helpful ideas and useful tools to support your involvement.

newaukeelogo.pngYou are also welcome to participate in a special On the Table community dinner presented by NEWaukee in the Rotunda of City Hall. This table is open to any and all guests interested in individual and collective discussion about improving the quality of life in our community. Register here to specifically join the NEWaukee On the Table community conversation at Milwaukee City Hall.