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. Through this initiative, Mission Fuel will support the skill development of nonprofit leaders to address a variety of complex challenges in an economically sustainable and holistic manner. See what our alumni are saying about Mission Fuel.


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Location: Cardinal Stritch University | 6801 N. Yates Road | Milwaukee, WI 53217


  • Education and training focused on entrepreneurship, innovation, and business development
  • Consulting and Technical Support
  • Entrepreneur mentors
  • Leadership coaching

  • Adult Learning Seminars
  • Opportunity for prior learning assessment and matriculation into Stritch degree programs 
  • Student Interns


Mission Fuel is an intensive program utilizing the best practices of business accelerator models. The goal is to provide exceptional training and professional development for nonprofit leaders so that they in turn can effectively diversify their revenue streams, and sustain and grow the organizations they lead. The components of the program include the following:

  • Three (3) 5-week experiential learning courses about social entrepreneurism, innovation, business development and design. The courses take place on Monday evenings from 6-9 p.m. on the Cardinal Stritch University main campus in Milwaukee and in locations throughout Milwaukee. There is also online instruction and interactions each week, as well as additional applied learning assignments. 
  • 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.

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.

You will be notified when your application has been received, and the Mission Fuel team will schedule your program interview.
Please note that Mission Fuel has a limited number of scholarships available. Participants are encouraged to seek organizational support and sponsorships to supplement their own personal investment in the program.

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

Mission Fuel is supported by the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families and the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority.  Applications are encouraged from nonprofit leaders whose organizations are located in the Transform Milwaukee area (see for more information). 

What Mission Fuel Alumni Say About Their Mission Fuel Experiences


Artists Working in Education

Reanna Ottoson - Program Director 
LaShawndra Vernon - Executive Director 


CannedWater4kids Inc.

Peter Gorman - Chief Brand Officer/ Board Member 
Gregory Stromberg - CEO/Founder 


Just Listen, Inc.

Tina Barson - President/Founder 
Megan Johnson - Office Manager, Recovery Coach 
Brittany Rupert - Board Member, PR and Special Events Coordinator 


Metcalfe Park Community Bridges

Danell Cross - Executive Director 
Melody McCurtis - Site Coordinator/Community Organizer 


Milwaukee Area Health Education Center

Curtis Marshall - Board Member 
Azure'De M Williams - Executive Director 


Walnut Way Conservation Corp

Erica Heisdorf Bisquerra  - Marketing and Communications Manager 
Angela Smith - Wellness Coach 
Tyler Weber - Associate Director 


Wisconsin Black Historical Society/Museum

Clayborn Benson - Founder

African American Chamber of Commerce of Wisconsin

Ossie Kendrix - President & CEO
Gabrielle Rabon - Board Member


Carmen Schools of Science & Technology

Bevin Christie - Director-Student Internship Program & Career Readiness
Vanessa Vasquez - College and Career Readiness Coordinator


Community First

Brenda Barton - Board Member
Lamont Davis - Program Director
Rafael Garcia - Executive Director
Brandon Methu - Board Member


Hmong Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce

Ger Thao - Project Manager
May yer Thao - Executive Director
Reona Vang - Board Member


Journey House

Chantawn Jackson - Controller
Cherise Myers - Director of Community Partnerships
Kevin Turner - Special Assistant to the CEO


Literacy Services of Wisconsin

Ginger Duiven - Executive Director
Holly McCoy - Senior Director of Programs


Safe & Sound

Cacy Masters - Associate Director
William Olivier - Program Manager


Wisconsin Community Services

Jim Bartos - Project Manager, Community Building Milwaukee
Clarence Johnson - Executive Director
Kimberly Miller - Project Specialist, Community Building Milwaukee



Meet The Mission Fuel Team-Advisory Board and Staff

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

Mikal Wesley
Mission Fuel Program Coordinator
Cardinal Stritch University

Advisory Board Members

Jamie Elder, Managing Director, Forty53 Advisors LLC
Michael Hostad, Executive Director, Innovation in Milwaukee, Greater Milwaukee Council
Gene Manzanet, Vice President Community Lending Sales Manager (Milwaukee-Madison), US Bank (Board Chair)
Holly McCoy, Executive Director, Literacy Services of Wisconsin
Sarah McGraw Greenberg, Regional Director, Forward Community Investments
Jeanette Mitchell, Ed.D., CEO, Leadership by Dr. Jeanette
Tony Shields, President & CEO, Wisconsin Philanthropy Network
Matt Wagner, Ph.D., Vice President of Revitalization Programs, National Main Street Programs