Willie Jude II named executive director of Milwaukee Public Schools Foundation

The Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) Foundation has chosen philanthropic professional, educational leader, and MPS alum Willie Jude II as its new Executive Director, the organization announced Wednesday.

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,” Jude said in a statement. “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 … 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,” MPS Foundation Board President John Kersey said in a statement. “He will build bridges in this city where they’ve never been built before and we will all benefit from that.”