Sherman Phoenix Foundation names inaugural board, begins search for executive director

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The Sherman Phoenix Foundation has named its inaugural board of directors and is beginning the search for its founding executive director.

The foundation, which was announced this summer, serves as the nonprofit arm of the entrepreneurial hub at 3536 W. Fond du Lac Ave. in Milwaukee’s central city. It’s designed to lead all programming at the Sherman Phoenix that brings “cultural and economic vibrancy” to the hub, including technical assistance for its small business tenants, wellness programming, educational offerings and arts and cultural events, leaders say.

The inaugural board is composed of nonprofit and for-profit leaders from across the region. It’s chaired by Ron Adams, vice president of field diversity and inclusion at Milwaukee-based Northwestern Mutual. Board directors include:

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  • Angela Adams of Goodwill Industries
  • Kenge Adams of Connect Business Consulting
  • Reggie Adams of Ascension Wisconsin
  • Danielle Bly of We Energies
  • Ramel Bly of the State of Wisconsin Department of Corrections
  • Entrepreneur Jocelyn Burks
  • Oren Burks of the Green Bay Packers
  • Anthony Cobb of Gap Inc.
  • John Frost of the Milwaukee Fire Department
  • Kaycee Frost of Milwaukee Public Schools and Frost Reality
  • Leana Nakielski of American Family Insurance
  • JoAnne Sabir of Sherman Phoenix
  • Maanaan Sabir of Shindig
  • Adija Smith of Confectionately Yours

“The Sherman Phoenix Foundation has been blessed with a diverse group of leaders – primarily couples – joining the board of directors. The curation of the founding board in this way was intentional, meant to reflect the loving and lived-in community spaces at Sherman Phoenix that feel like family and are essential to the mission of the Foundation,” said JoAnne Sabir, the co-developer and owner of Sherman Phoenix LLC.

The foundation has officially launched a search for its first executive director, which is being led by Goodwill TalentBridge in partnership with the National Association of African Americans in Human Resources.

Goodwill will also host on-site recruitment events to connect people seeking employment to local employers hiring across a wide range of career opportunities and industries.

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“To see so many passionate leaders coming together to help shape the future of the Sherman Phoenix is incredibly inspiring,” Adams said. “The Sherman Phoenix Foundation was created to support and serve the Sherman Park neighborhood and finding the right executive director is essential for us to advance our work in a meaningful way.”

Sabir said the ideal executive director candidate would provide leadership, manage daily operations and build community relationships “that drive positive results as we seek to support economic equity and empowerment, strategic investment and training, entrepreneurial success and emotional wellness for leaders of color.”

The core tenets of the foundation are to support strategies focused on economic equity and empowerment, entrepreneurship and small business success, strategic corporate investment and training, and emotional wellness for leaders of color.

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It’s supported in part by a $300,000 commitment from Madison-based American Family Insurance.

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