Common Ground

common_ground_logoFirst Church is a member of Common Ground, an organization of more than 50 congregations, small businesses, schools and unions in Southeastern Wisconsin. We are nonpartisan, proactive, everyday citizens dedicated to identifying pressing social problems facing our community and bringing about solutions together. This is done through issue campaigns such as Milwaukee Rising, MKE Neighborhoods Now, the Common Ground Healthcare Coop, Watershed Campaign, Do Not Stand Idly By and the South Side Initiative.

For more information, contact Jerry Fredrickson.

Who is Common Ground?

Common Ground began in Milwaukee in 2004 and is a part of an international network affiliated with the Industrial Areas Foundation,  the oldest and largest community-based organizing network in the United States. Common Ground is made up of more than 50 congregations, small businesses, schools, and unions in the four county area of Southeastern Wisconsin (Milwaukee, Waukesha, Washington and Ozaukee.
First Church became a member of Common Ground in 2012. Our dues, which are 1% of pledged income, do not come out of the church operating budget but instead are paid through tax deductible contributions from First Church members. If you wish to contribute, mail your contribution to Common Ground, 1034 E. Ogden Ave., Milwaukee WI 53202 and note First Unitarian Society in the memo section of your check.


What does Common Ground do?

Common Ground exists to address Greater Milwaukee’s critical social issues in an effective non-partisan way. A Strategy Team elected by the member organizations prioritizes concerns and decides on the issues for the member organizations to take on. We are currently engaging in these major issue campaigns: Healthcare Initiative; Watershed; Milwaukee Rising; MKE Neighborhoods Now. Each Common Ground member is encouraged to participate in the Action or Issue meetings that resonate with them.  Active participation of CG members makes this organization effective.


Current Common Ground initiatives:

CG HealthcareHealthcare Initiative

Small businesses, self-employed individuals and non-profits struggle to provide affordable health insurance for themselves and their employees in Wisconsin. This new, nonprofit, member-controlled health insurance cooperative offers more affordable health insurance to those of us who, until recently, have had no power to negotiate better rates. Members of the co-op now number more than 37,000. To request a quote go here.

Watershed (The Moment Is Now)Watershed

Watershed, our newest initiative, started in 2015. This is an issue campaign with the goal of designing creative solutions to real and present freshwater problems, big and small.  Our team is made up of your neighbors who live, work and play in Greater Milwaukee – all fighting to protect our precious freshwater resources. And here is how you can help. To get involved in Watershed, contact Larry Krolikowski: LarryK[at]iit-sourcetech[dot]com

Milwaukee Rising (Faces of Foreclosure Campaign)

Common Ground developed a strategy for five national banks bearing the greatest responsibility for Milwaukee’s housing foreclosure crisis to take the necessary actions to admit their culpability and redress the situation. Through persistent effort, Milwaukee Rising has achieved some amazing results! Thus far, more than 60 homes in the Sherman Park neighborhood have been rehabilitated and sold by Common Ground to responsible  homeowners. To get involved in Milwaukee Rising, contact Allie Gardner: allie.gardner[at]commongroundwi[dot]org

MKE Neighborhoods Now

MKE Neighborhoods Now

MKE Neighborhoods Now is a campaign that centers on investing in our city’s future. As citizens, we have a say and the power to change our community for the better. Our goal is to leverage up to $100M in new capital improvements for the neighborhoods of Milwaukee. We’re setting our sights on the Spring 2016 Milwaukee Common Council elections to get candidates on board with Common Ground’s vision. No matter who is on the Common Council after the election, we intend to remain actively involved to see our vision through. We are creating a powerful process that invites Milwaukee’s citizens to dream and imagine with us. Contact Keisha Krumm to learn more or get involved: keisha.krumm[at]commongroundwi[dot]org.

Also, be sure to sign up for the Common Ground newsletter, “Building On Common Ground.”


Your First Church Common Ground Core Team Leaders:
Rod DePue
Mary Ann Fisher
Jerry Fredrickson
Larry Krolikowski
Nancy Pajewski
Cathy Startt
Tom Thaney