- 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.
Partnership MKE is led by a local advisory committee, which represents the breadth of Milwaukee’s dimensions of diversity. The committee nominates and selects influential leaders from diverse civic sectors of the community including: business, non-profit, civic, government, faith-based and philanthropy. 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.
- 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.
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?
In our inaugural year, a total of 80 individuals will be selected to participate. 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.
Preferred candidates are in a position to influence the culture of their workplace and/or community. I.e. senior level or senior level endorsed, community leader, elected official, etc.