WHO IS COMMON GROUND?
Common Ground is a non- partisan organization comprised of 40+ small businesses, congregations, non-profits, colleges and labor unions. We live and work in four counties in Southeast Wisconsin (Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Washington and Waukesha).
The development of Common Ground began in 2004, when a group of 38 religious, civic and business leaders raised $700,000 in seed money to launch our grassroots organization, then known as Greater Milwaukee Sponsors. The seed money came from the congregations and religious groups affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church, Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (LCMS), Presbyterian, Episcopal and United Church of Christ (UCC). Foundations, individuals and unions have also contributed. April 13, 2008 was the official launch of Common Ground. 2328 delegates from over 50 groups came together to formally constitute the new organization and declare their membership. We believe Common Ground will be a major force in the decisions that will impact Greater Milwaukee for generations to come.
Common Ground is a part of a national network affiliated with Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF), the oldest and largest institution for professional organizing in the United States. IAF organizations have been successful in passing legislation that extends affordable, quality healthcare to over 300,000 people in Massachusetts; getting 3,000 affordable housing units built in New York; instituting school reform and effective job training in Texas; urban reinvestment in Washington, DC and many other social issue campaigns.
WHAT DOES COMMON GROUND DO?
Common Ground exists to build and support an organization to address Greater Milwaukee’s critical social issues in an effective, non-partisan way. We spent our first year listening to over 1,400 people discuss their concerns including health care, education, jobs and economic development, crime, mental health, youth activities, immigration and housing. The Strategy Team (elected by the member organizations) prioritized the concerns and decided on the issues for the Core Team (member organizations) to take on. We are currently engaging in three major issue campaigns: Education, Foreclosures, and Healthcare. Each member is encouraged to participate in the Actions or Issue Team meetings that resonate with them. It is the active participation of its members that makes Common Ground work.
Common Ground believes in growing its leadership base and along with mentoring, it offers Common Ground University – a Leadership training course to teach volunteers the basics of organizing.
With two full-time, paid professional organizers and leader volunteers, Common Ground has developed a successful formula for effecting non-partisan political power for social change.
HOW CAN I GET INVOLVED?