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Mission Fuel

One-of-a-Kind Training to Build a Self-Sustaining Non-Profit Organization

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Nonprofit leaders receive skill development support to help them address a variety of complex challenges in an economically sustainable and holistic manner. Mission Fuel applies a business accelerator model to assist nonprofit leadership teams with developing and implementing strategies to diversify revenue streams, become more entrepreneurial, and ultimately realize a more stable and self-sustainable future.

How Mission Fuel ignites non-profits

The Mission Fuel program is different because it offers:

  • Education and training focused on entrepreneurship, innovation, and business development
  • Cohort model allows for learning from a dynamic mix of participants
  • Consulting and technical support specific to your organization
  • Entrepreneur mentors
  • Leadership coaching
  • Opportunity to apply learning toward Stritch degree program credits

Who should participate

Calling all nonprofit professionals

Mission Fuel is open to all nonprofit leaders, including professional staff and board members. 

Bevin Christie

Director of Career Readiness and Community Engagement – Carmen Schools of Science and Technology

Mission Fuel taught me the important characteristics of a social entrepreneur and how to conceptualize our unique offerings, identify additional revenue streams, and create an action plan.

Holly McCoy

Executive Director - Literacy Services of Wisconsin

Mission Fuel introduced me to concepts I hadn't thought of connecting to the nonprofit space. I appreciated meeting people from a wide range of community-based organizations that I may not otherwise cross paths with to hear more about their work and think collectively about how we can coordinate our efforts.

May yer Thao

Executive Director – Hmong Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce

Mission Fuel provided our organization with the time, knowledge and resources we needed to develop business ideas to diversify our revenue streams. More significantly, our participation in Mission Fuel pushed us to move out of our "business as usual" mentality. Our participation was a huge time and financial investment, but the gains from the program have been invaluable!

Ossie C. Kendrix, Jr.

President and CEO – African American Chamber of Commerce of Wisconsin

My experience with Mission Fuel was eye-opening! I normally share on the Business Canvas Model and having an opportunity to use it as a planning tool for the nonprofit organization that I lead was refreshing and really encouraged me to see what was possible with diversifying our revenue streams. In addition, the synergy amongst the nonprofit leaders created opportunities to collaborate. I’m excited about the future as we continue to implement Mission Fuel strategies.

Rafael Garcia

Executive Director – Community First

While Community First had been moving forward with revenue diversification prior to the program, Mission Fuel challenged our leadership team to rethink the organization's value proposition. Our assumptions were challenged and we were taught how to better conduct our market research. This allowed us to think about how to fulfill the mission of Community First while also being smart about our true place in the market. In the end, we became more clear about how the work we do can powerfully impact our community and address housing needs that would go unmet if we didn't exist.

Program components

A strong commitment to attending all classes and participating fully in all aspects of the accelerator model is critical to yielding the full impact and benefit of Mission Fuel. Mission Fuel includes:
  • Three (3) 5-week experiential learning courses about social entrepreneurism, innovation, business development and design. 
  • Technical and consulting support is provided as needed for each participating organization.
  • It’s expected that each nonprofit will have 2-3 organizational leaders participating. Additionally, each organizational team receives mentoring from experienced entrepreneurs or business leaders.
  • Individual leadership coaching from a master coach.
  • Adult learning seminars will be offered throughout the program to complement the holistic accelerator experience.

Application information

Now accepting applications

Complete the application form. You will be notified when your application has been received, and the Mission Fuel team will schedule your program interview.

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Staff and advisory team

Mark Gesner, Ph.D.
Executive Director
The Stritch Hub for Innovation and Community Engaged Learning

Mikal Wesley
Mission Fuel Program Coordinator

Advisory Board Members

Jamie Elder, Managing Director, Forty53 Advisors LLC
Michael Hostad, '10, Executive Director and Co-Founder, The Commons, an initiative of the Greater Milwaukee Committee
Gene Manzanet, '14, '16, Executive Director, Scaling Wellness In Milwaukee
Holly McCoy, Executive Director, Literacy Services of Wisconsin
Sarah McGraw Greenberg, Regional Director, Forward Community Investments
Jeanette Mitchell, Ed.D., '01, CEO, Leadership by Dr. Jeanette
Tony Shields, '87, '09. President & CEO, Wisconsin Philanthropy Network
Matt Wagner, Ph.D., Vice President of Revitalization Programs, National Main Street Programs

Mission Fuel funders and sponsors

  • cW4k
  • Forward
  • gBETA
  • iHeart Media
  • Kan-U-Hoop
  • Landmark Credit Union
  • The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation
  • US Bank