Plug in and power up for community change with On the Table MKE

Plug in and power up for community change with On the Table MKE

Greater Milwaukee Foundation initiative returns Oct. 9 to transform talk into action


Milwaukee, Wis., July 30, 2018 – Acting on the community’s growing hunger for collaboration, the Greater Milwaukee Foundation is reprising On the Table MKE, an epic day of conversation and cooperation open to anyone interested in helping our region reach its potential.


On the Table MKE 2018 will take place on Tuesday, Oct. 9.  Registration, which is free for any individual or organization willing to host or join a mealtime discussion with peers, is now open at



The Foundation introduced On the Table MKE in 2017 as a new way to build relationships, generate ideas through respectful dialogue and put those ideas in motion for the benefit of the community. Although it takes place on a single day, On the Table MKE is much more than a single event. It involves hundreds of independently organized gatherings held across southeastern Wisconsin where people share a meal, talk about topics that matter and take action together.


“From spirited ideas to collaborations whose impact continued long after the day was done, On the Table MKE really brought out the best in our community,” said Foundation President and CEO Ellen Gilligan. “When we saw the concept catch on, we knew we had to bring the opportunity back so the momentum could grow. Whether you step forward to host or accept an invitation to join a table, you are helping bring our community closer together.”


Hosts set the terms of their gatherings, choosing whom to invite - typically 6-10 people – where to meet, time of day, topic of discussion and nature of the meal so it works best for all involved. From a morning coffee, to a backyard barbeque, to a dinner party – the options are endless.



Community feedback led to some new and expanded offerings this year. For example:

  • Opportunities for deeper focus on matters of race, which arose at 81 percent of tables last year. A new facilitation kit will include discussion guides specific to racial equity as well as education, another frequent topic.
  • Access to a training session on facilitating challenging conversations.
  • Ideas to Action Grants, a small grants program that will be open to On the Table MKE participants to help launch creative ideas.
  • Emphasis on youth participation and high school engagement.


The Foundation further provides the registration platform, instructional materials and ongoing guidance to make each experience as successful as possible. In addition to sharing knowledge and outcomes that surface through participants’ effort, the Foundation learns from community ideas to help inform philanthropy.


In its first year, On the Table MKE engaged more than 5,400 people across 73 ZIP codes in meaningful conversation to ignite action. At least 150 different topics were explored. The Foundation’s Voices from the Community report examines the experience of participants.



In the months that followed, many groups continued to meet, mobilize and implement their ideas for strengthening greater Milwaukee. Examples include:



Questions about On the Table MKE can be directed to (414) 376-8253 or Complete information at


About the Greater Milwaukee Foundation
The Greater Milwaukee Foundation is the region’s largest community foundation and was among the first established in the world. For more than a century, the Foundation has inspired philanthropy by connecting generous people to community needs that align with their interests. The Foundation was founded on the premise that generosity can unlock an individual’s potential and strengthen the community as a whole for everyone who lives here. We work in partnership with those who are committed to ensuring greater Milwaukee is a vibrant, economically thriving region that comprises welcoming and inclusive communities providing opportunity, prosperity and a high quality of life for all.  | @GrMKEFdn  |