Future Milwaukee students are placed in small groups of four or five and allowed to design their own projects, in full collaboration with public, private, nonprofit, and citizen sectors. Key to project design is the process of getting there - listening and by extension relationship building, are just two of the myriad leadership skills that are necessary to creating a project that reflects the assets and desires of each sector, and addressing the normal dynamics of a group of individuals brought together for this purpose.
The projects have been as varied as the participants and organizations with which they work.
They range from the establishment of a credit union at a local Boys and Girls Club and the development of a community health
advocate program to fundraising initiatives for dozens of non-profit organizations.
Class of 2014 projects
In the Class of 2013-2014 teams took on a variety of projects. The following video reflects just one project concerning the Amani Neighborhood's Spring 2014 neighborhood clean-up - view video.
- Education - healthy food options. Offer fresh produce at current corner stores within the community and develop kits with information to educate the community how to cook using the produce highlighted that particular week. On the flip side of the information card will be information on a health-related topic.
- Youth leadership. Create spaces and networking opportunities to engage young people, non-profit, and for-profit entities. Creation of a youth leadership conference will serve not only as a networking event, but an opportunity to recognize young people taking strides to make Milwaukee their community.
- Reading. Collaborate with Meta House and public, private and non-profit organizations to create a sustainable reading area at the Meta House (books, computer, audio resources) to be used by the residents and their kids; and Family Read Night to kick-off the opening of the reading area.
View news article.
- Building neighborhood capacity. Work with the Dominican Center for Women, a nonprofit organization based in the Amani neighborhood, to help build the next steps to deepen their presence in the community through expanded organizing efforts and initiatives.
- Incarcerated individuals re-entering the workforce. Through research and conversations with employers, a common theme the group has identified is that employers see hiring previously incarcerated individuals as a huge risk to their operations and staff safety. The more success stories that are shared and personal stories that are known, the more willing employers may be to consider this population of people.
- Healthy food preparation and food choices. Create a class to teach individuals the skills needed to prepare and appreciate fresh ingredients available to them. Families will learn how to prepare healthy recipes with unfamiliar fresh fruit and vegetables. Inviting local chefs and utilizing local gardens and food banks such as the Westlawn Gardens Community, Growing Power, Alice's Garden, and the Salvation Army will allow residents to fully participate and feel comfortable with this type of program in their neighborhood.
- Repurposing foreclosed properties into community assets. Create an instructional guide for participants in the HOME GR/OWN initiative by researching a set of questions provided by the program manager. HOME GR/OWN is an initiative of Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and led by the Office of Environmental Sustainability, that empowers residents to transform neighborhoods by re-purposing foreclosed properties (vacant lots, homes and commercial structures) into community assets that spark new economic opportunities around local, healthy food production and distribution.
Class of 2013 projects
In addition to the two group projects below, three additional group projects focused on the arts, financial literacy and cultural preservation. In light of the fact that the projects were intended to be theoretical in nature, names of organizations are not identified.
- “Be Well MKE” - The main objective is to form a healthier, happier and more thriving community. The main strategy is to first create awareness of the preventative health services provided in the community and then integrate these services as part of the traditional health treatment spectrum among community health clinics. Secondly, replicate and expand upon this model throughout the Milwaukee region. In doing so, our community will be able to tackle health and related lifestyle issues that plague our city because a healthier community, is a more vibrant, efficient, and nimble community.
- “Three Rivers Youth Corps” – The mission is to educate Milwaukee inner-city youth on freshwater as an economic resource. Recognizing that the world’s freshwater resources are depleting at a much quicker rate than it can be restored, Milwaukee is gaining notoriety as a hub of freshwater innovation and technology. A team of Future Milwaukee participants, in partnership with local organizations, will introduce youth to the benefits of water conservation and green infrastructure. Through the exploration of fresh water youth participants will develop a plan to navigate the city on budget created through personal finance instruction.
Class of 2012 projects
- Latino Arts Strings Program, United Community Center - work with staff and parents to compile existing information and create new content for a parent handbook and develop a sustainable structure/system for updates and maintenance.
- First Stage Children's Theater - develop a strategic marketing campaign to launch and maintain the First Stage Alumni Association, "Next Stage."
- Wheaton Franciscan-Mount Mary Art Therapy Partnership - establish a sustainable program which will provide an enriching arts therapy experience through the direction of the Mount Mary Art Therapy program.
- America SCORES Milwaukee - identify ways to improve and expand the annual poetry slam event for under-served youth and develop a proposal.
- Volunteer Center of Greater Milwaukee - develop a volunteer guide and provide recommendations on how to generate additional revenue and track success of the programs.
- ExFabula - create a strong data storage system and enhance the organization's web presence to allow replaying of stories as well as a documented history of organizations and neighborhoods.
Class of 2011 projects
- Rotary Club of Milwaukee - in collaboration with the American Society of Quality and Rotary Club membership, develop recognized standards by which leadership development programs in Milwaukee County can implement "industry" best-practices through which they will more effectively collaborate with other nonprofit, private, public, and philanthropic entities.
- Fondy Food Center - undertake a market analysis of farmers markets in Milwaukee County and present a summary of data and findings to agency staff, along with suggestions on how to improve the Fondy Farmers Market.
- Future Milwaukee Leadership Program Alumni - conduct alumni interviews and compile a report on the sustainability and impact of their group projects on the host/sponsoring organizations or entities as well as recommendations regarding future group projects.
- Community Transformation - as part of the project through the College of Professional Studies, work with community transformation teams and project stewardship team members to help support, nurture and further the work of these community transformation teams. Present the results of these efforts to the entire project at a retreat for discussion.
Class of 2010 projects
Class of 2009 projects
- Fondy Foods - developed a public relations, promotion and marketing plan.
- Rotary Club of Milwaukee - helped to expand their Reading is Fundamental program in Milwaukee Public Schools.
- Northwestern Mutual Financial Network - researched volunteer opportunities for retirees of the company.
- Wisconsin Non-profits Association - developed a public policy network for members.
Previous class projects
- Great Lakes Hemophilia Foundation - assisted with a fundraiser.
- Neighborhood Group - researched restorative justice programs.
- Wisconsin Community Services - project planning for a restaurant.
- Transitional Living Services - assisted with a fundraiser.
- Catch a Rising Star - assisted with an art project fundraiser.
- St. Catherine Residence - developed an alumni engagement plan and fundraiser.