The Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) Foundation has chosen philanthropic professional, educational leader, and MPS alum Willie Jude II as its new Executive Director.
His proven track record of fueling advancement, community philanthropy, and educational equity and a passion for helping Milwaukee students succeed made him the standout choice for this new role. As Executive Director, he will lead the Foundation’s fundraising efforts, operations, and public engagement, overseeing enrichment plans for all MPS students and staff.
“As a Milwaukee native and an MPS alum, this work is personal for me,” said Jude. “It seems my entire career has led to this moment, coming from a family of educators and community leaders to a career dedicated to ensuring equitable access to an education.”Willie Jude II, Executive Director, MPS Foundation
The opportunity to give back to the community and contribute to the education of future generations is truly fulfilling for Mr. Jude. ”I am grateful for the chance to make a positive impact on the same schools that played a significant role in shaping who I am today.”
Jude has more than 17 years of experience in higher education and holds a Certificate in Fundraising Management from The Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University–Purdue University—Indianapolis (IUPUI). Before joining the MPS Foundation, Jude served as the Vice Chancellor for Advancement at UW-Parkside in Kenosha and was named one of “Wisconsin’s most influential black leaders” by Madison365 in 2022.
The MPS Foundation is an independent 501c3 nonprofit that plays a crucial role in Milwaukee’s education space by offering and sustaining essential enrichment projects, programs, and initiatives that the limited MPS annual budget cannot provide. Each school year, the MPS Foundation connects thousands of MPS students with college scholarships, immersive field trips, basic school supplies, trauma care, art programming, and STEM initiatives. In October, five new outdoor play spaces were unveiled to benefit all area children and in November, the Foundation will be launching a new learning model with Junior Achievement.
“Willie Jude II connects with kids, alumni, educators, parents, businesses, and community partners in a way that is simply remarkable,” said John Kersey, MPS Foundation Board President. “He will build bridges in this city where they’ve never been built before and we will all benefit from that.”
Recent MPS Foundation highlights include:
- $150,000+ provided to 32 students across 13 high schools, 81% of whom are first-generation students and 87% students of color.
- A new Classroom Support Fund raised $50,000 in dedicated funds for classrooms and other vital student wellness supplies at 26 schools.
- Funding the largest MPS STEM Fair yet, with 645 students from 54 MPS schools and a 10% growth in female student participation.
- Offering $160,000 to launch 3DE training in high-order thinking and workplace success for 450 students.
- Sending tens of thousands of students to experiential learning opportunities and field trips, including 500 students to Washington DC.
- Offering numerous academic programs, one-of-a-kind music and arts programs, summer camps, United Nations Schools of International Learning, new playgrounds, and garnering financial support annually from various partners.
To read a personal letter from Willie, please see his recent welcome newsletter here.