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Public Allies is a social justice organization committed to changing the face and practice of leadership by recruiting and training talented emerging 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 Wisconsin a proud member of the AmeriCorps national service network. Our work is made possible through funding from Serve Wisconsin.

Public Allies Wisconsin

  • Mailing: PO Box 270244, Milwaukee, WI 53227
  • (414)-395-5894


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?


Jeanette Arellano - César Chávez Acción y Compromiso Human and Civil Rights Award

Featuring Jeanette Arellano, Public Allies Wisconsin '12 & '13

Jeanette Arellano—educator, artist, organizer, and activist—uses her artistic talent to organize groups across racial and ethnic backgrounds to support and empower workers and their families.

After turbulent summer, Public Allies returns to its roots with new leadership team

Featuring Public Allies Wisconsin Alum Jenise Terrell, Nanis Rodriguez, and Shavonda Sisson

After a turbulent summer in which the former CEO laid off over 30 employees without notice and was forced out, Public Allies has restructured its Board of Directors and named Jenise Terrell as CEO.

In her new role, Terrell wants to get Public Allies back to its roots of non-hierarchical leadership.

What Does Thriving Look Like for Young Black Men in Milwaukee, the Nation's Most Segregated City?

Featuring Prince Grayson, Public Allies Wisconsin '20 & '21

Five Milwaukeeans on breaking generational barriers, demanding a seat at the table, and pulling up their peers as they climb to the next rung.

She Slangs Wood

Featuring Tondra Thompson, Public Allies Wisconsin '15 & '16

In this podcast episode, Tonda shares her inspiring journey and discusses her experiences as a Public Ally, her work in philanthropy, and her passion for uplifting black and brown communities.

Amtrak Presents Freedom of Movement: The Legacy of Train Travel in Black History

Featuring Sojourner White, Public Allies Wisconsin '18

The train isn’t just for visiting places…it’s a connection to family history for travel writer Sojourner White. Come along for the ride as White travels to Chicago, stopping at the South Side Community Art Center and the Pullman Porter Museum as she learns more about the legacy of train travel in Black history and how her freedom of movement is linked to the sacrifices Black people made.

Milwaukee Bucks Launch "Bucks In Six" Lifestyle Apparel Brand

Featuring Brema Brema (Public Allies Wisconsin '17 & '18) and Jene Tate (Public Allies Wisconsin '15 & '17)

The official launch on February 24 features the brand’s first collaboration, a partnership with Milwaukee-born streetwear brand Unfinished Legacy. Created by 26-year-old artist Brema Brema, whose Sudanese family fled a Kenyan refugee camp when he was five years old and settled in Milwaukee in 2010, Unfinished Legacy is a creative brand that recognizes fashion is grounded in the streets and embodies the culture of community in Milwaukee and beyond. Unfinished Legacy communicates its values of quality, pride, timelessness, passion, and community through each garment. I

Nanis Rodriguez leads Public Allies Wisconsin into the future

Featuring Nanis Rodriguez, Executive Director and program alum of PAWI

Milwaukee native and program alum shares how she landed the role and her hopes for its progress.

Milwaukee program turns vacant sites into green spaces on city's north side

Featuring Nicholas Montezon, Public Allies Milwaukee '15

The City of Milwaukee’s Healing Spaces Initiative has added little free libraries, benches, gardens, pathways, meditation areas and more to the sites. Residents and volunteers have attended the initiative’s visioning sessions, where they communicate to organizers what they’d like to bring to the neighborhood.

Milwaukee entrepreneur and rapper reppin' Milwaukee to the fullest

Featuring Cesar Cornier, Public Allies Wisconsin '20

Who needs to keep it 100, when you can keep it a mil – like Milwaukee. That’s part of the thought process behind the creator of Keepnitmil, Cesar Cornier.

Here's why Terron Edwards believes focusing on fatherhood is key to reshaping Milwaukee

Featuring Terron Edwards, Public Allies Wisconsin '05

Edwards had a rough start. At the age of 9, Edwards’ father was murdered. He and his mother moved from Flint, Michigan, to Milwaukee. As his sons got older and began Head Start, Edwards realized he enjoyed spending time there and started volunteering. That was when he noticed something else: He was the only man who would stay there.

Ashley Lee, Former Executive Director of Public Allies Wisconsin, to Speak on Water Justice

Explore how communities are working together to improve water quality and accessibility for all. Hear Ashley Lee, former Executive Director of Public Allies Wisconsin and current Director of Alumni Mobilization and Engagement, and others working on water justice efforts in rural, urban, and Indigenous communities and how that work is impacting water in Wisconsin.

Finding Purpose through Service with Public Allies Racine/Kenosha

In this episode of The S-Files, we are exploring the service done by AmeriCorps member Lisandra Saldivar, who is serving with Public Allies Racine/Kenosha (PARK).

Public Allies Wisconsin named recipient of United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County racial equity funds

United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County announced Monday the recipients of a $1.5 million investment round through a Racial Equity Fund established with a donation from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott.

The investment will support 11 Black- and brown-led Milwaukee organizations over the next three years.

They include: African American Breastfeeding Network, Artists Working in Education, Asian American Pacific Islander Coalition of Wisconsin, Black Arts MKE, Inc., Black Educators Caucus, CAPITA (City at Peace in the Arts) Productions, Metcalfe Park Community Bridges, Public Allies Wisconsin, Southside Organizing Committee (SOC), Walker’s Point Center for the Arts (WPCA), and Walnut Way Conservation Corps.

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 Wisconsin talks about their mentoring program and the impact on the community

Public Allies Wisconsin 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.


Finding Purpose through Service with Public Allies Racine/Kenosha

In this episode of The S-Files, we are exploring the service done by AmeriCorps member Lisandra Saldivar, who is serving with Public Allies Racine/Kenosha (PARK).

AmeriCorps in WI during COVID-19 - Interview with Auntavia from Public Allies Milwaukee

The following video interviews have been conducted with Wisconsin AmeriCorps members describing their service and how it has been impacted by the spread of COVID-19. They sat down with Auntavia Jackson to discuss.

Public Allies Racine/Kenosha launching as Wisconsin's newest AmeriCorps program

Wisconsin’s newest AmeriCorps program, Public Allies Racine/Kenosha, is getting off to a successful start, starting with their kick-off event on July 8, 2021. Auntavia Jackson, Public Allies Director of Southeastern Wisconsin Expansion described the event, saying “we had the opportunity to share about the way in which we plan to uplift young emerging leaders through professional and leadership developmental conversations/training while also having the opportunity for professional hands-on experience with partner nonprofit or governmental organizations.”

Public Allies Milwaukee celebrates 2020-2021 cohort with graduation at Washington Park

On July 16 2021, Public Allies Milwaukee celebrated its 2020-2021 cohort with a graduation at the Washington Park bandshell. After a year of service like no other, the members of Public Allies Milwaukee were able to celebrate their work and growth in person. Many smiles and hugs were shared as the AmeriCorps were honored one by one.

Public Allies Milwaukee AmeriCorps member establishes Seeds of Liberation Gallery at Victory Garden Initiative

The following is the transcript of an interview conducted by Public Allies Milwaukee with AmeriCorps member Ni’Sea Thurman-Wamubu, who is serving this year with Public Allies at the Victory Garden Initiative (VGI). Public Allies Milwaukee helps its host sites build their capacities to fulfill their missions — as well as invites local emerging leaders onto pathways to lifetimes of involvement.

Public Allies Milwaukee honored at the Force for Positive Change Awards

Public Allies Milwaukee was recognized on April 7, 2021 at the Force for Positive Change Awards, sponsored by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) and Marquette University.

Public Allies Milwaukee Expanding their AmeriCorps Programming to Racine and Kenosha

Recognizing the need for diverse, socially-just leadership across the state, Public Allies Milwaukee received a planning grant to expand their AmeriCorps program in Racine and Kenosha, with the goal of having a new local cohort of AmeriCorps members serving these communities starting in 2021.

Public Allies Milwaukee launches water-focused partnership with Fund for Lake Michigan

As part of their mission to expand the capacity of nonprofit organizations to deliver critical direct services to Milwaukee residents and to develop local leadership, Public Allies Milwaukee is partnering with Fund for Lake Michigan, which is funding eleven Ally AmeriCorps members’ service at host sites for the 2020-21 program year.