This went out 1/25/04

Milwaukee Institute for Social Entrepreneurs in the Global Village

Milwaukee Institute for Social Entrepreneurs in the Global Village. I hope such an institute would serve very bright students from our highschools, who would prosper in learning experiences more closely connected with real world experiences that contribute to community development.

Professor Bill Holahan, Chair of UWM’s Chancellor Search Committee and Economics Department, will be joining a round table discussion of this concept this Tuesday, January 27, 3 to 5, at the Acanthus Inn, 3009 W. Highland, in Historic Concordia, Milwaukee. Here is Professor Holahan’s summary of the Intern Project:

The idea is to set up a clearing house, or electronic kiosk, so that enterprises like Theatre X [or area highschools]can post their ideas
for interns to work on, and the students and professors can design
projects around those ideas that are not only benefitial to the enterprises, but also worthy of college credit.

This is a concept paper that has some imperfections regarding spelling and titles. And likely other issues, as well. Please keep this on-line with friends for now. But, if it makes sense to you, imagine building an on-line pressure group to inspire the new Chancellor at UWM, the new Mayor, County Executive, and Congressperson of Milwaukee to help create an incentive system that rewards professors for mentoring students in community enriching and job fostering internships. This concept is intended to win part of the attention of academics to the embryonic Milwaukee renaissance.

Please offer your response. Whitman said all of your sins are forgiven if you be candid.

		Wisconsin Journal of Social Enterprise Internships

Many social science professors have correctly told their students, “There is nothing so practical as a good theory.” And many parents have told their children that hands-on experience is worth a thousand theories.

I and my favorite adults have always profited from efforts to integrate theory with practice. Positivists and critical theorists have all urged me to be experimental in my social and economic practice. All of my mentors, whether Catholic Workers, neo-Marxists, liberal Democrats, Progressive Republicans, Libertarians, and Anarchists, have urged me to be as thoughtful as possible, as strategic in my decision making, as experimental, as I could manage.

Concepts can liberate and guide, they have all told me. I agree, and offer an integrating concept, a rich theoretic term, as it were, to guide some of our social practice and instruction over the next decade or ten:

Social Enterprise

I think this and a closely related concept, i.e. social entrepreneur, is a theoretical breakthrough of value to urban design and development practitioners and activists. It captures the dynamism of “entrepreneur,” i.e. taking into one’s hands, and the spiritual evocations of “social.” Business or social practice with a “conscience.” How many activists do you know who have a very hard time figuring out ways to bring money to their cause except by way of government or foundation grants.
Today there is a movement underway to offer our socially, artistically, and historically inclined students some hands-on learning that will enhance their prospects to have a job and career pertaining to their intellectual interest and passion.

Creative Class

Another rich new term that coheres with social enterprise is “creative class.” This connects us with the rich theoretical framework of the Marx/Schumpeter/Samuelson theoretical universes, along with the information society theorists most publicly associated with Drucker, at least to this “public intellectual” and “social entrepreneur.”

Student Internships

Finally, the new emphasis on partnerships with the academic, political, economic, and cultural sectors gives rise to the notion of focusing on fostering student internship experiences that connect students with social enterprise and social entrepreneurs, enhance the production of Milwaukee social enterprise, nurture social entrepreneurs among our students, and develop a task force of researchers to document the process. It would be nice to imagine that we might learn things of use to other communities similar to Milwaukee and other Wisconsin cities. It would be nice to work for the prize of making Wisconsin and Miwaukee famous by virtue of the prowess and creativity of its emergent creative class.

Old City Renaissance

A major thesis of this entire project is that it is possible to harness new technologies, e.g. the internet, and new sources of creative labor power, e.g. student interns, retiring boomers, seniors, upgrading workers, to address the challenges facing our cities. Closely related is the notion that it makes sense to document this project, initially on-line, perhaps someday in some papers and in-person meetings and conferences. If someone has the steam, a book editing the best of the essays regarding various projects would be a good one.

The Wisconsin Journal of Social Enterprise Interships

Documenting these collaborations would further develop the rich traditions of the “Wisconsin Idea,” which played so great a role in Wisconsin’s progressive government, its dynamic partnerships among Universities, government, businesses, unions, social groups, farmers, and more. “Grand Alliances” have advanced the public good for a number of generations in Wisconsin’s history.

I propose we begin a series of on-line conversations about developing social enterprise internships for our students and a research journal that guides, documents, and promotes the project. This journal could be constructed first as a web site, later as a hard copy journal.

If you would like to submit a pilot project to be supported by student interns from area colleges and universities, please let me know.

The following are social enterprises of a public, private, and mixed nature, that are interested in participating in a discussion of this concept:

  • the Menomonee Valley Reclamation Project

  • the Lake Michigan and Milwaukee’s Rivers Project;

  • Omar Gagale and Youssouf Kamara’s “Timbuktu,” an African Music and Culture Venue on the Eastside

  • Walter & Judy Backlund’s Acanthus Inn Bed & Breakfast, on Highland, in Historic Concordia

  • Wisconsin African American Women’s Association on the Westside

  • Bay View Neighborhood Association “Harvesting/Welcoming” Thousands of Michigan Ferry Visitors

  • “Riverwest Currents” Expanding as a Spark for Neighborhood Journalism throughout Milwaukee

  • Paul Jakubovich, City Preservation Officer and Architectural Historian/Consultant

  • Blogs and Web Sites for Iconic Professor Emeritii, CEO’s, Unsung Heroes


  • Juanita Ellias developing historic window restoration industry

  • Norman Dunkelberger in advance of architectural artists in copper, lead, brick, stone, & morter

  • Gianfranco Tassara, liturgical artist

  • Restoration Roofers & Contractors James Godsil, Josh Fraundorf, Karl Ramirez, and Dan Mickelson

  • Restoration Carpenter Eric Lindberg

  • Landscape Design and Builder, Michael Marek

  • Concrete and Masony Contractor John Ferrante

  • Slate, Tile, and Copper Roofer David North

  • Knowledge Worker/Internet Mentor James Spice & Jeanie Dean

  • St. Thomas VI Tour Project for Misha Tyler

  • David White’ Documenting the Milwaukee Renaissance Film Project

Others I hope/think will be participating(I’m soon to seek their approval) are:

  • Dan Folkman, social enterprise project at Washington High School
  • Barba Wesson, wholistic health and dance therapy
  • Sky Schultz, reading of Sufi poet Rumi
  • Karen Kolberg, performance of Sufi poet Hafiz
  • Nancy Gregory, co-founder Linden Hill Park
  • Virginia Cassell, Milwaukee Preservation Alliance(MPA), an all girls school, & restoration developer
  • Bob Trimmier & Gretchen Doege of Citizens Allied for Sane Highways(CASH)
  • Jelanie Nation and Rodney Bly of Bean Head Cafe
  • A. Gibson Bathrick or Bay View’s Hide House

What say?





Last edited by g. Based on work by Godsil and anonymous users of Milwaukee Renaissance.  Page last modified on January 06, 2005

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