Partnerships are an important ingredient to the success of any community. Here in Milwaukee, I am very proud to be part of a new community partnership that focuses specifically on educating our young people. It’s called Milwaukee Succeeds.
What we want to do with this partnership is ensure the success of every child in every school in Milwaukee, from early childhood and pre-kindergarten classes all the way through high school and then college. This will be done by working toward four goals:
- All children are prepared to enter school.
- All children succeed academically and graduate prepared for meaningful work and/or college.
- All young people use post-secondary education or training to advance their opportunities beyond high school and prepare for successful careers;
- All children and young people are healthy, are supported socially and emotionally, and contribute responsibly to the success of the Milwaukee community.
We have a lot of help in this partnership because it involves parents, educators, businesses, philanthropy, the faith community, nonprofits and other community stakeholders. The Greater Milwaukee Committee, Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce, Milwaukee Public Schools, Milwaukee Urban League and United Way of Greater Milwaukee are all participating. We all have been organized by the Greater Milwaukee Foundation under the leadership of its president and CEO, Ellen Gilligan. Serving as co-chairs along with me are Jackie Herd-Barber, Greater Milwaukee Foundation Board member and civic volunteer, and John Schlifske, CEO of Northwestern Mutual.
Although I’ve been in town about 3 1/2 years, I am told this is the first time in our community’s history that partners representing public, choice and charter schools have agreed to work together to develop child-focused goals and identify and implement key strategies that help every child succeed, in every school. We must give a great deal of credit for that to Ms. Gilligan, who helped organize a similar initiative called the Strive Partnership in Greater Cincinnati.
We already have our first major community investment. It is a three-year, $300,000 grant from the Helen Bader Foundation’s Community Initiatives program. I know that everyone involved in Milwaukee Succeeds is very grateful to Daniel Bader and everyone else who is part of the Helen Bader Foundation for this strong sign of support and faith in what Milwaukee Succeeds is working toward.
Milwaukee Succeeds also has announced its first major focus area: improving thirdgrade reading proficiency. The group will examine current programs and strategies addressing the issue, explore short-term and long-term strategies, and identify what role Milwaukee Succeeds can play in improving the outcomes.
Please watch for additional information about Milwaukee Succeeds in the future. And if you see an opportunity to be part of the initiative in any way, please do so. It can be as simple as lending a hand with the education of any thirdgraders you may know.
Successful partnerships, especially partnerships as ambitious as Milwaukee Succeeds, require the involvement of everyone.