Milwaukee Succeeds: Awarded $500,000 grant from Northwestern Mutual Foundation

Contact: Rob Guilbert, VP of Communications and Marketing [email protected] 414.336.7030

Milwaukee, WI – Milwaukee Succeeds, the cradle-to-career community education collaborative that began nearly a year ago, has been awarded a $500,000 grant over five years from Northwestern Mutual, through its foundation, to support its work toward improving educational outcomes for all children in Milwaukee.

The funding will provide key operating support for the initiative, including supporting ongoing data collection and reporting, convening leadership groups and providing seed capital to help fund promising practices around each of the initiative’s four goals – preparing children for school, helping children succeed in school and graduate from high school, helping students enroll in college or postsecondary career training and making sure all children are supported socially and emotionally.

“We are grateful and excited by this significant support from Northwestern Mutual,” said Ellen Gilligan, president & CEO of the Greater Milwaukee Foundation, the anchor institution for Milwaukee Succeeds. “It is another important demonstration of Northwestern Mutual’s commitment and vision for our community.”

Northwestern Mutual has been an early and strong supporter of the initiative since it began in July 2011. John Schlifske, its chairman and CEO, is one of the chairs leading Milwaukee Succeeds, along with UWM Chancellor Mike Lovell and community volunteer Jackie Herd-Barber. Kimberley Goode, Northwestern Mutual’s vice president of communications and corporate affairs, serves on its 43-member Leadership Council and John Kordsmeier, president of the Northwestern Mutual Foundation, is a member of its Operations Team. The leading financial security company also has provided marketing support and is consulting with the Milwaukee Succeeds data team.

“Exceptional education produces tomorrow’s community and business leaders, which strengthens our local economy, our city and our state in the long-term,” Kordsmeier said. “The Milwaukee Succeeds program is a step in the right direction to help develop young people into future generations of leaders.”


Milwaukee Succeeds is a partnership created to improve the educational outcomes for all students in Milwaukee from cradle to career. It was organized by the Greater Milwaukee Foundation, Greater Milwaukee Committee, Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce, Milwaukee Public Schools, Milwaukee Urban League, the United Way of Greater Milwaukee, and Helen Bader Foundation.


The Greater Milwaukee Foundation is a family of more than 1,100 individual charitable funds, each created by donors to serve the local charitable causes of their choice. Grants from these funds serve people throughout Milwaukee, Waukesha, Ozaukee and Washington counties and beyond. Started in 1915, the Foundation is one of the oldest and largest community foundations in the world.


The mission of the Northwestern Mutual Foundation – the largest corporate giver in the state of Wisconsin – is to build strong, vibrant communities that serve as a legacy to future generations. The Foundation’s giving is designed to create an impact on the communities where the company’s employees and financial representatives live and work. In fiscal year 2012, the Foundation contributed more than $16.7 million to nonprofit organizations across the country.