After seven years of serving as Milwaukee Succeeds’ executive director, Danae Davis has announced plans to retire this fall. Milwaukee Succeeds is a part of the Greater Milwaukee Foundation. The organization’s mission is to support a vision of “cradle-to-career” success that’s centered on racial equity, community voice and changing systems.
During Davis’ time with Milwaukee Succeeds, she was able to garner philanthropic support through a Funder’s Collaborative supporting equitable educational outcomes in the community, as well as establish a collaborative leadership structure resulting in positive impact for children and families.
“Milwaukee Succeeds has added tremendous value to the Milwaukee community and will continue to do so as an embedded initiative of the Foundation focused heavily on early childhood education and centering young Black and Brown leaders in developing solutions for systems change in education,” said Ellen Gilligan, CEO and president of the Greater Milwaukee Foundation. “I am grateful that Danae’s leadership has put Milwaukee Succeeds and the importance of education on the map locally and nationally with Strive Together, our national network partner.”
Davis also helped ensure principles of anti-racism and community empowerment are central in Milwaukee Succeeds’ current strategic focus on early childhood education and high school success.
She also oversaw the development of the MKE Early Childhood Education Coalition. This initiative helped Milwaukee providers stay open, keep staff employed and safely serve children. Nearly half of Milwaukee providers reported they would have closed without the support the coalition successfully advocated for. This included securing $7 million from the city of Milwaukee in ARPA funding to support the early childhood education workforce, informing $46 million in state investment to keep providers safely open and serving families, and advocating for $29 million in the state budget to increase Wisconsin Shares childcare subsidy rates statewide.
“I am proud of the positive influence Milwaukee Succeeds has advanced as an asset and embedded initiative within the Greater Milwaukee Foundation along with strategic partners in educational equity,” said Davis. “The future is bright. Milwaukee Succeeds continues to evolve as a partnership model for systems transformation, capable of changing outcomes for Black and Brown children, youth and families. It’s time to hand over the baton to the next generation in this civic, collective action work by further supporting those with lived experiences as they assume their rightful places as leaders in this community.”