Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Milwaukee is facing extreme systemic challenges – inequity in housing and safety, workforce and labor shortages, and a lack of diverse talent and leadership pipeline – that the GMC responds to with internal programs aimed at economic prosperity, innovation and talent, and vibrancy of place. We have designed programs that address the needs of our community's entrepreneurs, diverse talent, and residents. Helping these groups thrive is critical to living out the mission of the GMC.


MKE United has identified urgent areas of need in Milwaukee’s downtown-adjacent neighborhoods, reaching far into the systemics impacting livelihood. Residents experience inequitable access to safe and affordable housing which we provide immediate top down solutions for and bottom up approaches that includes a civic engagement process and systems change.

Work continues with the Anti-Displacement Fund, preventing displacement in historically disinvested neighborhoods of Milwaukee as development grows. In 2022, the fund assisted 125+ homeowners and to date, of the 321 qualified homeowners, none have sold their homes due to property taxes.

We have identified additional housing solutions including the Milwaukee Appraiser Diversity Initiative and spent a portion of 2022 hiring for the initiative's Program Director, developing curriculum to train more appraisers of color, and creating equity in the home appraisal process for neighborhoods of color.

Scale Up

Scale Up Milwaukee continued to provide more focused growth solutions for small, diverse entrepreneurs. Scale Up has identified that their network of business owners is struggling with labor shortages, peer-to-peer connections, and supply chain challenges which prompted the creation of Boot Camps and Power Hour resource classes. By offering more nuanced instruction through partnerships with subject matter experts and organizations like Brew City Match, Scale Up delivered a high-touch, tailored curriculum for growth.


SPARC, a business accelerator designed for Black-, Hispanic-, and woman-owned businesses with annual revenue under $1M, graduated two cohorts in 2022. This key resource for a targeted demographic of businesses in Milwaukee is creating generational wealth and reducing barriers built up by years of systemic challenges.

The Comons

While growing businesses develop, we still have a strong corporate community in Milwaukee that will only continue to thrive with diverse talent and leaders who have a commitment to civic engagement. The Commons continues to offer opportunities to build intentional relationships and create community impact. Their portfolio of program offerings develops our region's talent through hands-on learning experiences, leveraging the best practices of design thinking and inclusive leadership curriculum. In doing so, The Commons is delivering Milwaukee's next generation of engaged, inclusive, growth-minded leaders. The MKE Impact Lab has built a sustainable and replicable approach to address our community’s biggest social issues, including gun violence and public health. The Coaching Collective leverages a holistic coaching method that encourages big thinking, inspires action, and fosters a culture of growth throughout our region. We continue to create a civic leadership succession strategy for Milwaukee through the expansion of Forward 48. With geographic growth to Madison, Green Bay, and other neighboring communities, we are activating our entire region and preparing a diverse, driven network of rising leaders to be effective change-makers.

This work is big, it is important, and it evolves as our community evolves. We are a convener and a collaborator, identifying the most important challenges and responding to them with the brain-trust of membership, partners, and community residents in the most effective and sustainable ways possible.