Public Allies is a social justice organization committed to changing the face and practice of leadership by recruiting and training talented young leaders, with a passion for social impact, to create meaningful change in our community. Our Allies are diverse, equity-centered, innovative problem solvers, dedicated to mobilizing community assets to develop solutions to local challenges. In partnership with nonprofit partners, we deliver our nationally recognized, values-driven, results-led apprenticeship to advance our mission to create a just and equitable society and the diverse leadership to sustain it.

Public Allies Milwaukee a proud member of the AmeriCorps national service network. Our work is made possible through funding from Serve Wisconsin.

Public Allies Milwaukee

  • 735 N. Water Street, Suite 550, Milwaukee, WI 53202
  • (414) 273-0533


To create a just and equitable society and the diverse leadership to sustain it.


“Public Allies [is] all about promise – finding it, nurturing it, and putting it to use.”

– Former First Lady, Michelle Obama

Core to our values is a belief that we are all on a journey to grow as individuals and as leaders in our community. Where will your journey take you?


In April 2019, Public Allies Milwaukee, along with their Allies, Alumni, nonprofit partners, and the Milwaukee community came together to celebrate 25 years of Public Allies Milwaukee. As Ashley Lee, Executive Director of Public Allies Milwaukee, shared the following:

It’s been 25 years since Public Allies launched in Milwaukee and over the years, our alumni have fundamentally transformed our city. With every move, they demonstrate what it means to build community, to shift power, and to do so with authenticity, strategy and a critical love for Milwaukee. We could fill pages of books with stories about the ways Public Allies Milwaukee Alumni have changed our city and our country.

While much in our city has changed, we’ve remained committed to the core of who we are. We still maintain the same dedication to creating powerful spaces for Allies to learn, heal, make mistakes, and hold one
another accountable towards one another and our city. We still believe at our core that communities hold within them the undeniable leadership they need to make lasting social change. And, year over year, we learn and unlearn what it means to trust the process.

As we look towards our future in Milwaukee and nationwide, we know our capacity must grow to continue to support our alumni in their most bold and radical endeavors. We know that we must do more to push on and transform the power dynamics that exist within our city. And year over year we must wrap our arms around each class of Public Allies as they learn what it means to challenge structures while healing and growing self.

There is an undeniable energy you feel when you’re in a room full of Public Allies. There’s something powerful that happens when Public Allies decide to dedicate their minds and time toward changing something. I hope that each of you feel that tonight and know that, whether you’re an Ally, an Alumni, a partner, or a supporter of our program and those within it, you are an essential part of our collective success and strength. We could not and would not be here without you.

To learn more, check out the Milwaukee 25th Anniversary Program.


Public Allies Wisconsin Names New Executive Director

It is with great excitement that Public Allies announces the appointment of Adriana (Nanis) Rodriguez as the new Executive Director of Public Allies Wisconsin.

Not just about protesting: Shorewood 'racism interrupter' suggests additional ways to fight for social justice

Earlier this summer, Shavonda Sisson heard that fellow Shorewood resident Stephanie Rapkin had spat on a teenager who was protesting racial injustice following the George Floyd killing. Sisson and a few other people gathered in front of Rapkin’s house to ensure that she would get arrested.

“As a mother, I couldn’t believe it was a child she spit on,” Sisson said. “Things like that can’t be allowed to happen without consequence, and I wanted her neighbors to know what had happened and to make sure she got arrested.”

What ‘everyone leads’ looks like for Public Allies

Every single person has the potential to become a leader, motivate and inspire movements. Everyone has an opportunity to take a seat at the table. That’s the message behind the tagline for Public Allies, “everyone leads.”

“I want bold leadership.” Public Allies Milwaukee executive director Ashley Lee imagines a freer community

Ashley Lee imagines a freer community where her nieces and nephew can thrive in Milwaukee, a city she loves. “I’ve always been from 53216,” she says.

Today, Lee is the executive director of Public Allies Milwaukee, a social-justice organization focused on creating positive community change and encouraging young leaders. She’s already making a splash: last spring, Lee received the Governor’s Service Award for AmeriCorps Alumni of the Year, as well as the UW–Madison Nelson Institute’s Rising Alumni Award.

Crowley wins Milwaukee County Executive race, Larson won't seek recount

Public Allies Milwaukee Alum David Crowley Elected Milwaukee County Executive

Public Allies Milwaukee Alum State Rep. David Crowley won his race for Milwaukee County Executive by 1,039 votes. Crowley, who has represented the 17th Assembly District since 2017, is a two-time graduate of Public Allies and will become the first African American to serve as County Executive upon taking office in May.

'Their voice still matters:' Volunteers help pick up absentee ballots for people

Public Allies Milwaukee staff coordinate ballot pickup amid statewide Safer At Home order

Amid the backdrop of a statewide Safer At Home order to protect against the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, Wisconsin held an election that included the state’s Presidential Primary and a State Supreme Court race. Many Wisconsin residents were left with a stark choice: Venture out to cast their votes while risking exposure to COVID-19 or forego their Constitutional right to vote. Not content with community members being forced to make that decision, Pubic Allies Milwaukee’s Executive Director Ashley Lee and Program Manager Shavonda Sisson stepped into action coordinating an effort to collect ballots from people who felt afraid to leave their homes or were unclear on where to take their ballots.

Public Allies Milwaukee talks about their mentoring program and the impact on the community

Public Allies Milwaukee Program Managers Shavonda Sisson and Anthony Espinoza, along with Public Allies Milwaukee Member Elle Hill, visited Live at Noon on TMJ4 to discuss the 10-Month Apprenticeship Program.

Public Allies Tackle the Topic of Social Justice and Healing Work

What does your morning routine look like? The question seems innocuous, but it can reveal a lot about a person and their self-care. It was the question that Shavonda Sisson, the program manager and director at Public Allies, posed to the group gathered in the Sherman Phoenix, 3536 W. Fond Du Lac Ave.

Annual event encourages people to create conversation, share ideas and take action to better Milwaukee area

An annual event aimed at bringing people together was held on Thursday across the Milwaukee area. On the Table MKE encourages people to connect with others, share ideas and take action to better the community.