VincentLyles180.jpgMilwaukee, Wis., Dec. 22, 2022 – The Greater Milwaukee Foundation has chosen Vincent Lyles to serve as the next executive director of Milwaukee Succeeds, following the retirement of longtime leader Danae Davis. Lyles will begin his new role Monday, Jan. 23, 2023. Currently, he serves as the system vice president of community relations at Advocate Aurora Health.

Foundation President and CEO Ellen Gilligan said that Lyles’ exceptional leadership and strong connections throughout Milwaukee’s education, business and nonprofit sectors make him the ideal person to build on Milwaukee Succeeds’ rising impact in the community.

“Vincent is an undisputed changemaker in Milwaukee, and his undeniable passion for supporting Black and Brown children of all ages in reaching their full potential is perfectly aligned with the Foundation’s generational commitment to racial equity,” Gilligan said. “As we further invest and engage in our connected vision to make education work better for our city’s youth, Vincent’s deep relationships, experience and love of community will take our impact to the next level. We are thrilled he is joining our Foundation family.”

Launched in 2011 by the Foundation and its partners, Milwaukee Succeeds is a leader in collaborative, educational systems change, recognized nationally by the StriveTogether Cradle to Career Network. Milwaukee Succeeds supports a vision of cradle-to-career success centered on racial equity, community voice and changing systems, with particular focus on early childhood education for Black and Brown children and high school success for Black males. 

Results for Milwaukee’s youth

From its home base at the Foundation, Milwaukee Succeeds leads a coalition of over 100 organizations—including educators, nonprofits, businesses, philanthropy, government and residents with lived experience—working together to transform systems and deliver long-term, equitable results for Milwaukee’s youth. Its collective impact approach has resulted in the alignment of tens of millions of public and private dollars with data-informed and community-driven practices and policies that deliver better outcomes from early childhood through post-secondary education. 

By convening a wide range of cross-sector stakeholders to identify and implement strategies, supporting a communitywide agenda for change that leads to education equity and advocating for resources and policy changes, Milwaukee Succeeds has delivered key results for Milwaukee’s educational ecosystem, including:

  • Leadership of the MKE Early Childhood Education Coalition, whose advocacy:
    • Secured $7 million from city ARPA funds for early educator compensation and retention as well as strengthening the educator pipeline
    • Aligned $46 million in state funds to keep providers open during the pandemic
    • Informed $29 million in the state budget to increase child care subsidy rates for working families
    • Leveraged a $5 million state Workforce Innovation Grant to pilot the ECE Workforce Project to support sustainable careers in the field.
  • Development of the Youth Forward MKE Coalition to improve the success trajectory of Black male youth by prioritizing youth voice and shifting power through:
    • Youth Forward MKE Ambassadors, who amplify student priorities and provide coalition leadership
    • Design Your Future Fellowship, a youth-led program that has resulted in three specific proposals to improve high school for Black males focused on 1) mental health curriculum, 2) wraparound supports and 3) autonomous youth council

Milwaukee Succeeds is supported by a Leadership Table comprised of 22 cross-sector leaders from Milwaukee’s education community. The group champions the work by making connections that advance priority areas, remove barriers to education equity, and leverage collective lanes of influence. A collaborative of philanthropic, corporate and civic funders joins the Foundation in investing in the initiative’s work and operations.

More information on Milwaukee Succeeds’ impact can be found in its recently released 2022 Annual Report and on its website,

A proven leader

Lyles joins the Foundation as the third leader to serve as Milwaukee Succeeds’ executive director, succeeding Davis, who retired in November after leading the initiative since 2015. 

“I’m very appreciative of the Greater Milwaukee Foundation and Milwaukee Succeeds in conveying their trust in me. It is both an honor and a privilege to follow in the footsteps of leader and friend, Danae Davis,” Lyles said. “The work that has been accomplished is quite impressive. I look forward to working with the Milwaukee Succeeds team and coalition of community collaborators in taking this work further on behalf of our children and Milwaukee’s future.” 

Most recently, Lyles’ work at Advocate Aurora Health has focused on providing support to community-based organizations and key community stakeholders whose mission and activities align with the system’s community health strategy. Prior to this role, Lyles was president and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee for over seven years, leading a team of more than 600 staff and 2,000 volunteers. He has also held leadership positions with Robert W. Baird & Co. and M & I Bank / BMO Financial Group.

He holds both a bachelor’s degree and juris doctorate from the University of Wisconsin and received a certificate in nonprofit management & leadership from Harvard Business School. His board service includes Marquette University, BMO Funds, Badger Mutual Insurance, Near West Side Partners, MyPath and more.

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, catalyzing systems change, convening and following community voice, and building inclusive culture to transform our region into a Milwaukee for all.

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