Milwaukee is a fantastic city with some very serious problems. We’ve been named the most segregated city in the nation and the worst place in America to be black. These problems are systemic and many decades in the making, and the solutions require all of us.
The Greater Milwaukee Foundation has spent many decades improving lives and building unity in a divided place. But a few years ago, the Foundation determined solutions to Milwaukee’s race and class problems required more of their focus. They knew their vision of a vibrant, thriving Milwaukee could only be realized when the root causes of these deep inequities were eliminated.
Through a very intentional and strategic focus, the Foundation is pushing for an inclusive, equitable Milwaukee. They’re developing a framework to incorporate a racial equity and inclusion lens into their discretionary grant making, research and public policy work, an approach from which this region could benefit across sectors. Instead of assuming they already know the answers, they’re doing extensive research and listening to community members to better understand the roles the Foundation should play in building an equitable Milwaukee, one that bolsters all its people. Janel Hines, director of grant programs and strategic initiatives, explained. “For our region to be vibrant and successful, all people must have the opportunity to be civically engaged and to participate in the economy. This requires specific focus on identifying and eliminating barriers to opportunity so that everyone in our region can reach their full potential.”
When asked what it means for the Foundation to champion this positive change, Janel had this to say. “The critical first step to advocating or supporting change is to recognize that there is an issue or that something needs to change. Only after acknowledging and owning can you move to action – genuinely engaging the community to work in partnership toward common goals.”
We’re so glad to have the Greater Milwaukee Foundation as such a strong advocate for Milwaukee, its people and its future. The road ahead is long, but it’s one we’re on together.
Champions for Change will be held at The Point, 906 S. Barclay St., from 6 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, February 7. Single tickets are $35, and there are great sponsorship opportunities available. Please check out the event page or email Jorna Taylor at firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.