2015 Conference


Collective impact initiatives have been a rapidly growing trend in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors. Typically such efforts convene all of the groups who can affect a community-wide outcome and coordinate their strategies and work to achieve them. Several efforts around the country, including in Milwaukee, have utilized this approach to move the needle substantially on issues like teen pregnancy prevention, high school graduation rates, and recidivism among ex-offenders. Many others are finding it challenging to collaborate in a more comprehensive way and achieve progress.

The 17th Annual Urban Initiatives Conference will explore collective impact and how it fits in the Milwaukee tapestry of initiatives. A morning kickoff with Paul Schmitz, Senior Advisor to the national Collective Impact Forum and former CEO of Public Allies, will provide attendees with the foundations of collective impact work. Following the kickoff, experts in the topic from foundations and nonprofit organizations will facilitate in-depth conversations about the promises and challenges inherent in taking this approach. Afternoon sessions will be dedicated to understanding how Milwaukee and surrounding communities can move forward for greater social impact given a complex environment that includes multiple initiatives. This exciting conference is appropriate for those new to or already involved in collective impact work, and will address opportunities and concerns specific to private, public, and philanthropic sectors. Join us and help Milwaukee move forward!

Opening Plenary

Morning Breakouts

  1. Collective Impact: Digging Deeper
  2.  Backbone
  3. Community
  4. Funding
  5. Nonprofit

Morning Summary

Lunch Plenary

Mapping Moving Trains

Afternoon Discussion



Italian Community Center
631 East Chicago Street, Milwaukee, WI

Conference Details


paul-head-group2Keynote Speaker: Paul Schmitz

Paul Schmitz is CEO of Leading Inside Out, a nonprofit and philanthropic advisory group. He also serves as Senior Advisor to The Collective Impact Forum, an initiative of FSG and The Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions; and is the first Innovator in Residence at Georgetown University’s Beeck Center for Social Innovation and Impact. Paul is the author of Everyone Leads: Building Leadership from the Community Up (Jossey Bass, 2011), and the former CEO of Public Allies where he spent 21 years helping more than 5,600 diverse young leaders turn their passions to make a difference into careers working for community and social change.

Paul is a faculty member of The Asset-Based Community Development Institute; a board member of Independent Sector, The United Way of Greater Milwaukee, The Corps Network, and the NYU Leadership Initiative; and the former co-chair of Voices for National Service. Paul co-chaired the 2008 Obama Presidential campaign’s Civic Engagement Policy Group, was a member of The Obama-Biden Transition Team, and was appointed by President Obama to The White House Council on Community Solutions.

Paul is an honors graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where he received their Graduate of the Last Decade Alumni award. He has been recognized by The Rockefeller Foundation as a Next Generation Leadership Fellow, by the Nonprofit Times three separate years as one of the 50 most influential nonprofit leaders in America, and by Fast Company Magazine with their Social Capitalist Award for innovation. He lives in Milwaukee with his partner and five children.





Previous Urban Initiatives Conferences

Attended by hundreds each year, the Annual Urban Initiatives Conference creates dynamic dialogue about issues facing the greater Milwaukee community.

Recent conferences include: