Partnership MKE

Partnership MKE


To promote and nurture experiences and encounters between individuals, with the ultimate goal of building authentic relationships across the divides that exist within our community, and creating a blueprint on how to address and solve biases.


Built on the legacy of The Mosaic Project (2000 – 2010), Partnership MKE is a new initiative that aims to break down barriers and destroy bias by pairing individual community leaders across lines of race, age, religion, sexual orientation, and culture. The program will guide participants through an eight-month process of relationship, understanding, and trust-building.

The new Partnership MKE is designed with two levels of interaction, creating a holistic approach to driving personal and social change:

  1. Identify, encourage, and train as many of the 600 Mosaic Project alumni to re-establish and use their social capital within racial and ethnic diversity in Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County.
  2. Create a new cohort of partners to participate in a curriculum-based experience that integrates social networks and binds them focusing on measuring community outcomes.

About Partnership MKE

Open All
 Why Partnership MKE?

Most people have heard bigoted comments in a meeting or at a party and have remained silent. Why? Because confronting bigotry requires skills that most people simply do not have. Responding to hateful speech or actions requires the ability to interrupt the activity, to use appropriate but effective language, and to do so without sacrificing business objectives or social capital.

It also requires a level of comfort that comes from one-to-one relationships crossing barriers of race, religion, intellectual or physical ability, sexual orientation, ethnicity or national origin.

And, perhaps most important, it requires an understanding that one person can make a difference in combating hate.

By focusing on racial equity, inclusion and the development of social capital, Partnership MKE hopes to create a better, more cohesive Milwaukee. Our objective is to build social capital and improve race relations among leaders that represent Milwaukee’s broad dimensions of diversity.

 Who is leading Partnership MKE?

Partnership MKE is part of a three-year initiative of United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County, in collaboration with The Milwaukee Jewish Federation, aimed at reducing bigotry in Milwaukee. The Milwaukee Jewish Federation is the central address for Milwaukee’s Jewish community and works to nurture and sustain a vibrant Jewish community through financial resource development, outreach and engagement, and community planning. Partnership MKE is rooted in the fundamental Jewish value of tikkun olam, a mandate to improve the society in which we live.

 What happens during the program?

Participants of the eight-month intensive program receive trainings on leadership development through the lens of eradicating intolerance and prejudice, while creating a safe space to learn and grow.

Leaders are paired together and will periodically meet with their partner, in addition to engaging in eight small group workshops. Influencers from each sector will be paired with someone of a different background and work together to develop an individual or institutional action plan to implement sustainable change within their spheres of influence. 

Because we know how critical relationship development is, Partnership MKE will be strategic in fostering the idea of friendship among the partners. Our hope is to get leaders to move beyond obligation into a genuine interest in each other’s lives.

 Why focus on building this type of leadership development across sectors?

The challenges we face in Milwaukee – addressing and solving biases within our community – hinder the growth and success of our city. The Partnership MKE program aims to provide practical and applicable solutions to these challenges. Through this program, we address the broader dimensions of diversity – inclusive to religion, sexual-orientation, women’s equality, disability and the ethnic groups of Milwaukee – and equip cross sector leaders to become change agents for a better, stronger, more cohesive Milwaukee. This program will help give leaders the tools to reduce within their spheres of influence and the community as a whole.

 What is Partnership MKE not?

Partnership MKE is NOT Mosaic Milwaukee, but will build from Mosaic Milwaukee’s tremendous success. Partnership MKE is not a diversity program, nor a mentorship program. Individuals participating are paired and considered equals. This is a very unique program that empowers individuals, not institutions or organizations, to create change. Indeed, the Partnership MKE program uses a two-by-two approach to addressing broader community challenges.

 Who should apply?

Participants are experienced, cross-sector leaders with diverse social networks and spheres of influence that represent the diversity we find in Milwaukee. They also have the desire and power to create change or influence the culture of their workplace and/or community.

Partnership MKE 2019 - 2020 Cohort

Rayna Andrews
Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin

Sami Avner
Tikkun Ha-Ir of Milwaukee

Jennifer Ball-Sharpe
Office of African American Affairs

James Bell
Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Company

Leen Bnyat
Hunger Task Force

Krista Brookman

Filippo Carini
United Way

Bevin Christie
Carmen Schools of Science and Technology

David Cohn
The First Tee of Southeast Wisconsin

Cindy Cooper
Sixteenth Street Community Health Centers

Elizabeth Ellinas
Medical College of Wisconsin

Laura Emir

Leah Fiasca
Greater Milwaukee Foundation

Libby Foster
Children's Hospital of Wisconsin

Jesse Franklin
Advocate Aurora Health

Jeanne Geraci
Benedict Center

George Hinton
Social Development Commission

Kiesha Johnnies
Milwaukee School of Engineering

Jennifer Koop
Medical College of Wisconsin

Luella Kortendick
Rockwell Automation

Ashley Lee
Public Allies Milwaukee

Janet Lucas
Direct Supply

Jessica Luebbering
Father Gene's Help Center

Muhammad Mahdi
Nurse Mahdi

Jessica Marks

Claude McFarlane
Johnson Controls

Printence McMurtrey
Rockwell Automation

Tina Moy
United Way

Jen Murray
UW-Milwaukee LGBT Resource Center

Jordan Murray
Johnson Controls

Michael Nguyen
Carmen Schools of Science and Technology

Sandeep Nuchikat
Rockwell Automation

Renee Pasciak
College Possible Milwaukee

Gina Santagati
United Way

Jeremy Simon
United Way

Terrance Slaughter
Central City Cyberschool

Katie Sparks
Sparks Collaborative Results, LLC

Maggie Techtmann
Humane Animal Welfare Society (HAWS)

May yer Thao
Hmong Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce

Charles Uihlein
Teens Grow Greens

Valerie Vidal
Meta House, Inc.

Michele Weinschrott
Curative Care

Dorothy Williams
Saving Ourselves, LLC

Corey Zetts
Menomonee Valley Partners

Dana Zwick
Greater Milwaukee Foundation


For more information, contact Samantha Mitchell at 414.263.8202 or via email.


Applications for the 2019-2020 cohort are now closed.

For more information about joining a future session, contact Samantha Mitchell at 414.263.8202 or via email.

Participant Login

Access class information and curriculum.


© 2020 United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County is a 501(C)(3) Nonprofit registered in the US under EIN: 39-0806190.