Wendell Willis, Departing the MPS Foundation with hope and gratitude

MPS Foundation seeks new leader

MPS Foundation supporters and partners,

As we head into a new school year, I want to share an announcement and note of appreciation and gratitude to so many of you.

This month begins a time of transition for the MPS Foundation. I will be leaving to lead a special initiative directed by Froedtert Health and the Milwaukee Bucks. Although I am moving on from this position, my service to the organization will continue as an MPSF board member.

I sincerely appreciate the generosity the Foundation has been granted by individuals, families, corporations, and philanthropic partners in our community and across the country during my time as Executive Director. As an MPS alum and parent, it is inspiring to witness so many of you giving your time, talent, and dollars to support the programs and initiatives that the MPS Foundation supports. These contributions directly impact MPS students – especially in their greatest times of need. Serving in this role while we’ve experienced success and growth has been an exceptional privilege.

As I reflect on the accomplishments of the Foundation during my time, I am reminded that no one can do great work on their own. To make an impact, one needs a talented team in true service to the mission; an engaged board of directors that will take calculated risks, provide sound feedback, challenge, stretch, and support staff members; and the belief of donors and program partners that a small team can do big things with their investments. I have been blessed to have all three, and for that, I am filled with gratitude. Together we’ve made great strides in student achievement by:

● Providing pandemic support for online learning, including $2M raised for the #ConnectMilwaukee campaign

● Revitalizing approximately 20 playfields, raising $800,000 on behalf of schools

● Funding nearly $1M in scholarship support to MPS graduates

● Sending tens of thousands of students to experiential learning opportunities and field trips, including $450,000 in donations from Herb Kohl Philanthropies

● Offering numerous STEM and academic programs, one-of-a-kind music and arts programs, summer camps, and United Nations programming, including $300,000 in financial support annually from various partners

I look forward to supporting the next chapter of the MPS Foundation, and with your continued stewardship, I know our new Executive Director will be poised to take this organization to unprecedented heights. Your influence and support will help this person successfully engage and invite new individuals and organizations to participate in our work and ensure every MPS student will thrive and drive the economic engine of Wisconsin.

Since this transition is driven by organizational progress rather than a timeline for my next professional step, I will be continuing to support the Foundation’s ongoing work and assist in welcoming and onboarding the new Director. In the coming weeks, the Foundation’s Board of Directors will announce the details of our forthcoming Executive Director search. They’ll be looking for a visionary leader who puts our shared dedication to the Foundation’s values and mission into daily practice.

As we prepare for this new era, I have three requests that will help keep up the incredible momentum we’ve built:

1. Spread the word far and wide about the forthcoming Executive Director search!

2. Stay in touch through social media, our email list, or dropping us a line. We want to hear from you.

3. Make a gift of any size, or—even better—make a monthly recurring gift so the new Director can count on your support year-round.

Applicants interested in applying or just looking for more information may contact the Foundation at

I can’t wait to see the ways in which the MPS Foundation continues to evolve under new leadership. You’ve given me the tremendous gift of connecting with you through this work over the past four years, and I’ll be forever grateful.

Thank you all so very much!

All the best,


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