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#4 PDB - Mentorship Morning w/ Ellen Gilligan
Wednesday, January 27, 2021, 8:00 AM - 9:00 AM CDT
Category: Professional Development

Ellen Gilligan
President & CEO of the Greater Milwaukee Foundation

Sitting at the helm of Wisconsin’s largest community foundation, Ellen Gilligan’s leadership is helping to create a unified vision for people living throughout the Milwaukee Region.  Most recently, her efforts have centered on equity and inclusion – investing in programs that help dismantle racist systems and promote progress for oppressed communities.

The foundation has awarded nearly $900M in grants since it was started – a legacy of strategic giving of which Ellen has been a large part.  She’s agreed to meet-up with the FUELers over coffee to discuss what it will take to unify Milwaukee and how responsible investments can make things better for everyone.


As President and CEO since 2010, Ellen has amplified the Greater Milwaukee Foundation’s role as a leader, convener and catalyst, bringing community together around a shared vision for a vibrant region.  Serving Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Washington and Waukesha counties, the Foundation is Wisconsin’s largest community foundation and was among the first in the world.  Since being established in 1915, the Foundation has awarded more than $862 million in grants  supporting a wide variety of nonprofits and initiatives.

Under her leadership, the Foundation organized and launched Milwaukee Succeeds, a communitywide educational partnership focused on success for every child in every school, cradle to career. During her tenure, the Foundation also developed an impact investing program focused on expanding economic opportunity in underserved communities.

Before coming to Milwaukee, she spent 12 years at the Greater Cincinnati Foundation, most recently as its vice president of community investment and president of the HealthPath Foundation. Locally, she serves in volunteer leadership with various organizations including Milwaukee Succeeds, MKE United Downtown Action Agenda, the Greater Milwaukee Committee and serves on its Racial Equity and Inclusion Task Force, the City of Milwaukee’s Black Male Achievement Advisory Council and the United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County. She is a graduate of the University of Colorado. Ellen and her husband, Charlie DeSando, have two sons. 


  • About Ellen’s leadership journey and how she became passionate about community investment
  • Strategies for unifying people and the importance of a shared vision
  • Ellen’s vision for Milwaukee and where she sees the region heading in the next 10 years
  • Her advice on careers, leadership and giving back to the community

This event is free, but registration is required.

Professional Development Bootcamp offers 9 workshops.  Click here to see the full line-up .>>






Contact: Corry Joe Biddle | [email protected]