The Greater Milwaukee Committee – About Us

The Greater Milwaukee Committee is a private sector civic organization whose mission is to contribute to the cultural and economic base of the Milwaukee Metropolitan area.

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GMC Initiatives

The Greater Milwaukee Committee's work is implemented through its initiatives and committees. Learn more about our work throughout the community.

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The Commons

The Commons is a collaboration between the GMC’s MiKE initiative and Startup Milwaukee that works to attract, develop and retain the brightest entrepreneurial minds by creating a cross-university program that promotes the applied use of entrepreneurial teachings.

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Welcome to the Greater Milwaukee Committee

The Greater Milwaukee Committee’s mission is to make Greater
Milwaukee the best place to live, learn, work, play and stay.

Our membership – comprised of our region’s business, labor, academic, philanthropic, nonprofit and civic leadership – believes that intelligent, active interest in public affairs is the true measure of citizenship, and the foundation for community.








Letter from the President: March 2018

How many times have we heard about a place being unsafe or abandoned and wished that we could change it? It may be a place we remember from times when it was full of people, fun and vibrant. Today, people and neighborhoods are taking back those places to create spaces where people gather, children play, and artists create. Sometimes it is a vacant lot full of litter and broken glass that is transformed to a neighborhood pocket park with art, play spaces, and gardens. Sometimes it is events like NEWaukee’s Night Market that transform a downtown area into the place you wanted to be at night. Sometimes it is reinventing the role of a library in a neighborhood. The ripples of change that come from these transformations inspires others to learn, invest, and create. Nationally, this practice is called creative placemaking.

The GMC is nationally recognized as a Midwestern leader in creative placemaking. With the help of two leading national foundations for creative placemaking, ArtPlace America and The Kresge Foundation, we invested in two Creational Trails in Milwaukee. We worked with NEWaukee to test the Night Market concept on West Wisconsin Ave., and continue our work with the Beerline @ Harambee. The GMC has long worked with Sara Daleiden, founder of MKE <-> LAX, on our creative placemaking efforts. We’ve shared the practice of creative placemaking with other key partners in the community including the Milwaukee Public Library. Joan Johnson, Deputy Library Director – Public Services has been engaged in the GMC’s Creative Placemaking Committee and our projects from the beginning.

Milwaukee Public Library is performing important cultural leadership with its Mitchell Street Branch creative placemaking project called “Gathering Art, Stories and Place” with support from a National Endowment for the Arts Our Town grant. As a branch of the City of Milwaukee government, the library is embedding both new artists-in-residence and a new Arts Project Coordinator staff position over two years in collaboration with local arts organizations and artists, based in the innovative “Listening to Mitchell” public art project. This investment will encourage civic engagement through the arts that celebrates the beautiful range of cultures in the neighborhood.” – Sara Daleiden

The Milwaukee Public Library recently opened its newest and most technologically advanced branch library on one of the most dynamic blocks in the city: Historic Mitchell Street. This catalytic project, in partnership with Gorman & Company, Inc., included a top-to-bottom renovation of the historic 97-year old former Hills Department Store building, converting an underutilized building into 60 apartments and a brand new library. The Mitchell Street Branch is a unique hub for creative expression and cultural discourse and will empower neighbors to create, share, and celebrate cultural diversity through storytelling and art. Joan Johnson and City Librarian Paula Kiely reached out early in the development of the library project to the GMC and Sara Daleiden to partner in utilizing creative placemaking to gain local residents’ input and national foundation support. The community input helped the library decide to create a neighborhood digital maker space within the new renovation and the successful award of a grant of $150,000 from the National Endowment of the Art (NEA) to fund a project called the “Gathering Art, Stories and Place”.

The project leverages the library’s maker space and other indoor and outdoor gathering spaces to host a variety of storytelling-themed programs, an artist lecture series, writing workshops, a new archive of collected neighborhood stories, and two artist-in-residence programs. Free art education and cultural enrichment activities through a mobile art workshop will be available to young people.

This space is the future of the Milwaukee Public Library and the community. From hosting community events, artist in residence, and a teen connected learning program, the Mitchell Street Library, the fourth of many Library redevelopments, is an example of how the GMC’s work, alongside Daleiden’s, is reshaping how our city thinks about development and placemaking.

Creative placemaking is driving how we engage artists in the development of our city, both physically and socially. The Mitchell Street Library is a prime example of how creative placemaking work attracts new developments, creates jobs, and bolsters our economy through art and neighborhood engagement.



Letter from the President: February 2018

There are many incredible things happening in our city, yet the renaissance happening in our Downtown has not been felt by many in our city, including many of the adjacent neighborhoods. MKE United, a cross-sectoral effort to create a 10-year strategic action agenda for a shared and inclusive vision for our Downtown and adjacent neighborhoods, is working to ensure this prosperity spreads across all neighborhoods, both adjacent to downtown and beyond. In the coordinated effort between the City of Milwaukee, the Greater Milwaukee Committee, Greater Milwaukee Foundation, and Milwaukee Urban League, we are working to reimagine how Milwaukee engages its residents and leaders and are working to develop an action agenda that will result in meaningful change and equitable growth for our city. Last summer, we released six transformative directions, key areas of focus for intention and change, relating to jobs, housing, demographics, retail and cultural assets, transit, and building the capacity of the many groups already doing great work in these areas.


In early February 2018, MKE United moved into Phase II with a Strategic Actioning Session, engaging a group of 70 area business and community leaders from diverse backgrounds. These leaders spent two days incorporating the extensive research from the Phase I community engagement sessions and worked to develop a tangible plan to move forward. By creating seven working groups, we were able to develop unique strategies in multiple important areas for implementation of the MKE United vision.  We are focused on:


  • Aligning resources from Milwaukee Development Corporation, LISC Milwaukee, and other partners, to develop a fifty million dollar neighborhood development fund, to invest in catalytic community-based projects, as well as gap financing.
  • Building an alliance to demonstrate cross-sector support for policy changes, in areas such as shared revenue and regional transit authority, increasing local control and creating a more sustainable and equitable path for growth in the Greater Downtown and the region.
  • Committing to growing equity and access, including a partnership with the Greater Milwaukee Foundation to host an Equity Forum, building local fluency around racial equity and providing participants with a tangible equity framework.
  • Connecting with businesses, community organizations, and potential partners, to engage over 200 in the next year, with multiple points of connection each, ensuring the ongoing work is iterative and connected to the needs of the community.
  • Working to support aligned projects and initiatives, both existing and new, through a weighted prioritization of impact, equity, time, partners, and resources.
  • Building out a robust community-driven communications strategy, incorporating a website refresh, social media, and video along with a speaker series of local individuals discussing intersections with the six Transformative Directions.
  • Building out an infrastructure for change assessment and support, using ADKAR change management theory, across partnerships and constituents.
  • Formalizing a longer term structure for governance and growth of MKE United’s implementation.


The success we saw in 2017 would not have been possible without the support of the GMC membership. We know that this path forward will result in an inclusive Milwaukee, one that is prosperous for all neighborhoods and Milwaukeeans. If you would like to get more involved in this area of our work, please reach out to Tony Panciera, Director of MKE United, at 414-905-0101 or

Medical College educates many physicians, but not enough reach central city

Published April 9, 2018
Milwaukee Business Journal

With a major boost from the Medical College of Wisconsin, the number of physicians in southeast Wisconsin has increased by more than 400 percent the past 50 years, but some communities — particularly Milwaukee’s central city — remain underserved, according to a new report.

The physician-to-patient ratio in southeastern Wisconsin exceeds the national average, according to the report released Monday by the Wisconsin Policy Forum, formerly known as the Public Policy Forum. The ratio today is 521 physicians per 100,000 population compared with 119 physicians per 100,000 in 1967, the report found.

Of course, the number of people living in Wisconsin has greatly increased since 1967, so the increase in the number of physicians practicing actually exceeds the 400 percent increase in the per-100,000 patients ratio.

The Medical College of Wisconsin was created in 1967 after the closing of Marquette University School of Medicine. In 1978 it relocated to the Milwaukee Regional Medical Center campus in Wauwatosa. The Wisconsin Policy Forum reviewed how well the private medical school has performed in achieving goals set in 1967 by the Heil Commission, which called for public and private financing to create the regional medical center including the Medical College.

The Medical College has “largely fulfilled” the goals established 50 years ago by a commission that included civic leaders from the Greater Milwaukee Committee (GMC), said Rob Henken, president of the Wisconsin Policy Forum.

Read the full article here.

January Letter from the President

We had an exciting membership meeting in January, with Mayor Barrett and Reggie Moore highlighting Milwaukee’s plan for reducing and preventing violence within our communities through the Blueprint for Peace. They walked through the six goals and key strategies. I had the honor of serving on the Steering Committee for the Blueprint for Peace along with other GMC members, businesses, non-profits, and foundations. Now more than ever, we need to address the issue of violence in Milwaukee. Violence is a public health issue, and when it affects one of us, it affects us all -the economy, education, and the vibrancy of our communities, all issues we are extremely passionate about. This community-wide plan identifies actions to reduce violence and build stronger communities.

Goal #1 of the Blueprint is “Stop the Shooting. Stop the Violence.” The best way we know how to do that is to interrupt the cycle of violence our communities are experiencing.  Based on the violence reduction strategies we have seen in large metro areas such as Chicago and New York City, The Office of Violence Prevention (OVP) deemed a violence interrupters program to be a first step in reduction in Milwaukee, called Ceasefire, one integral piece of the Blueprint. Utilizing violence interrupters, those who have experienced violence and trauma and are now willing to prevent it, work to interrupt a violent situation before it escalates.

This New York Times article quotes an interrupter as saying “You don’t go preaching – you build relationships and bond with them,” he said, “It takes time.” And, over time violence interrupters have proven to be successful in areas like Chicago, whoseCure Violence model has seen a 41-73% drop in shootings and killings in Cure Violence zones. Milwaukee’s Ceasefire program, modeled after the Cure Violence model, aims to do the same.

Ceasefire is currently planned to launch in two of Milwaukee’s most violent neighborhoods. Many of you have asked how you can support the Blueprint and its efforts. The City of Milwaukee Health Department’s Office of Violence Prevention is currently fundraising for the second site of Ceasefire. This program uses violence interrupters to deescalate heated situations before they become violent. For a better understanding on violence interrupters, please watch this PBS Documentary, called “The Interrupters”, highlighting their work. It truly is a remarkable and successful concept, having aided in the 16% reduction in violence in Chicago, overall.

The OVP needs $280,000 to facilitate a second site of interrupters. If you are inclined to give, gifts can be made to the Greater Milwaukee Foundation Violence Prevention Fund by contacting Mark Maurice at or 414-336-7067.

Special recognition should be given to those who participated in and funded the planning process, including a grant from the Medical College of Wisconsin’s Advancing a Healthier Wisconsin Endowment, with partial funding from the Tides Foundation and ReCAST Milwaukee. We’d also like to recognize Bader Philanthropies for a gift of $100k, announced immediately following the release of the Blueprint, GoogleGreater Milwaukee FoundationBairdPriebe Family FoundationAnon Charitable Trust and the Croens Foundationfor their generous gifts to aid in the creation of the Blueprint. Additional thanks to the Common Council, the Office of Violence PreventionMayor Barrett and the City of MilwaukeePresident HamiltonMilwaukee Public SchoolsMilwaukee County, and the community. I’d also like to thank the steering committee, including GMC members Ellen Gilligan, Peggy Troy, and Mary Lou Young, as well as Amy and Fred Croenand Les Weil for their diligent and committed efforts towards this Blueprint. 


Julia Taylor
Greater Milwaukee Committee

December Letter from the President

We look forward to an exciting 2018 full of promise. Our success in 2018 will be built from our progress in 2017, working with the City of Milwaukee’s Office of Violence Prevention on a new plan for a safe Milwaukee , building together greater economic prosperity, vibrancy of place, and an innovative and talent filled Milwaukee. There is still much work that needs to be done.

In 2017 we helped drive region-wide business growth, workforce talent development and retention, improvements in school quality and curriculum, and improved teacher recruitment and retention rates. Our initiatives and strategies are deployed by our staff, our partners, and our members, like you. We summarized our achievements below, demonstrating the impact our work –your work- is having in Milwaukee.

As we look forward, here are our team and GMC members’ wishes for Milwaukee in 2018

 “That Milwaukee continues to prosper, and that the prosperity is spread more throughout the community. Also, that Milwaukee becomes less of a hidden gem.” – Greg Marcus, Marcus Corporation

“Health and wellness for all.” –Cristy Garcia-Thomas, Aurora Health Care

“That Milwaukee would embrace positive change.” – Elizabeth Cizinsky, Greater Milwaukee Committee

“That we can continue progressing on the positive trajectory that we achieved in 2017.” – Elmer Moore, Jr., Greater Milwaukee Committee

“A stable environment with ample education and health and wellness resources for all youth.” – Heather Pechacek, Greater Milwaukee Committee

“Unity.” – Shawn Allen, Greater Milwaukee Committee

“That we start saying more nice things about Milwaukee, while building capacity to support those who are actively engaged in solving our challenges.” – Michael Hostad, Greater Milwaukee Committee

 “Decrease in the amount of young deaths in Milwaukee.” – Samantha Giles, Greater Milwaukee Committee

“For more people to be doing more things and taking leadership positions.” – Joe Poeschl, Greater Milwaukee Committee

“To increase cross-cultural conversations city-wide, regionally, and state-wide.” – Tony Panciera, Greater Milwaukee Committee

“Authenticity. Have difficult conversations about our own perceptions of each other. Intentionality. Be more purposeful in making connections and sharing your network with those around you. Growth mentality. When looking at the dynamics of power and resources, it’s not about redistributing the limited pie, rather, about baking a much bigger and ridiculously tastier pie, together.” – Leana Nakielski, Greater Milwaukee Committee

 “Increased compassion for each other and understanding of what it’s like to be in others’ shoes. Understand each other’s struggles.” – Rich Greene, Greater Milwaukee Committee

“For people to be honest about the issue of race and the power around it.” – Julia Taylor, Greater Milwaukee Committee


Our wishes can come true if we work together towards that north star of a better, great and equitable Milwaukee. Milwaukee is thriving, it is growing, and it can be greater for all of us.

Happy holidays, and cheers to a prosperous New Year!


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