T. Nájera, Patricia

Director of Partnerships and Fund Development

Nájera’s role at Electa Quinney Institute is to advance research, teaching, and learning opportunities with UWM’s faculty/staff/students fostering collaborative partnerships with American Indian communities and tribes across a variety of disciplines in higher education.

Prior to joining EQI, Nájera worked with schools, municipalities, and a variety of community organizations. Her work has reached across multiple academic disciplines while building collaborative research, outreach, and strategic alliances with faculty, staff, and students. Nájera helps all involved to work collaboratively to find common interests. In addition to writing the grant and developing the project, she negotiates outcomes, defines roles, and responsibilities, to sustain said projects. In 2006, Nájera co-created a new model of advancing relationships by physically being at the community site learning about the program, staff, talents and areas of interests. This firsthand knowledge, of co-location at a community site and the UWM campus allowed her to work with a team that has yielded more than $3 million in total grant awards to institutional partners.

Nájera is passionate about community organizations and has led campaigns with residents, church leaders, non-profit organizations, and business leaders promoting social justice issues around education, housing, immigration, recreational programs, and quality of life. Her goal is to empower the individual to be to be active and visible participant in their own destiny. To this end, she does this in the community and with students at UW Milwaukee. With her strong history of working and engaging in Milwaukee’s Latino and Africian-American community for the past twenty five years, she is often asked to participate in strategy sessions with different stakeholders in the community and mentor young professionals.

Nájera currently serves as Chairwoman of the City of Milwaukee – City Plan Commission and is a member of VISION 2050 of the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission (SEWRPC). Additionally, she is a currently PhD candidate at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee and her research is focused on “Gendered Perspectives on Community Development.”