Common Ground / Community Organizing

Who is Common Ground?


Common Ground is a non-partisan organization of 40+ schools, congregations, neighborhood groups, nonprofits, unions and small businesses. We live and work in four counties in Southeast Wisconsin (Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Washington and Waukesha).

We believe that people working together have the power to change their communities and their country for the better.  Political and corporate leaders often don’t embrace change, unless they are pressured by the people they serve. Too many people don’t realize they have the potential to join forces and create change in their neighborhoods and across the region.

We work with the people who want to transform the world— from what it is to what they believe it should be. We challenge people to imagine the change they can accomplish, connect individuals and organizations to multiply their power, and
mobilize people by the thousands to make their voices heard. We set audacious goals, create savvy strategies and take on the powerful interests that stand in the way.

We are part of the Industrial Areas Foundation, the nation’s first and largest coalition of multi-faith organizations which has seven decades of experience winning tough battles across the nation for affordable housing, health care access, school reform and effective job training.

Drawing on the proven power of person-to-person organizing, our work transforms communities and builds the local power necessary to create regional change.



Through neighborhood walks, photograph surveys and interviews with housing foreclosure experts, Common Ground uncovered some astounding findings about the magnitude of the foreclosure crisis, how it is hurting our cities and who is responsible. Believing the crisis to be solvable, Common Ground developed a reasonable way for Bank of America, Deutsche Bank, JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo and US Bank, as the largest owners of foreclosed properties in the state, to take responsibility for their actions, be good neighbors and rectify the situation.

Through persistent effort, the Faces of Foreclosure campaign has achieved some amazing results! On May 23, 2011, Common Ground unveiled the Milwaukee Rising project, a housing revitalization initiative that will rehabilitate 100 foreclosed properties in the Sherman Park area over four years and sell them to responsible homeowners. Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Deutsche Bank, US Bank and Wells Fargo have committed to invest $33.8 million in Milwaukee Rising.

To get involved with the Mke Rising Team, contact:
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



Small businesses, self-employed individuals and non-profits struggle to provide affordable insurance for themselves and their employees.

This new, nonprofit, member controlled, health insurance company is an opportunity to obtain more affordable health insurance for those of us who, until now, have had no power to negotiate better rates.

Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative has received a $56.4 million federal loan to capitalize its new company.

Visit for more information.
Bob Connolly, CG Staff Director: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



In February, 2011 Common Ground kicked off its Education Initiative. Through large gatherings, listening sessions and petition signing, Common Ground has touched over 8,000 people.

These conversations have identified several concerns about the current state of public, choice and charter schools in Milwaukee County, such as the importance of great teachers and consistent access to art, music, and physical education for all of our children.

Common Ground is now beginning a campaign to reform the tutoring program in the Milwaukee Public Schools for students who need to raise their reading and math skills. 

To get involved in the CG’s Education Initiative, contact:
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