Campus Spotlight: Cardinal Stritch University

May 1, 2018

Cardinal Stritch University launches Mission Fuel to support leaders of Wisconsin nonprofits

Cardinal Stritch University was awarded a state contract funded by the Wisconsin Department of Children & Families and the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority to launch a program designed to help nonprofit leaders enhance skills that will make their organizations more entrepreneurial and self-sustainable.

Mission Fuel applies a business accelerator model to assist leadership teams develop and implement strategies to diversify revenue streams and ultimately realize a more stable, mission-driven future.  Participants complete a four-month program that includes continuing education coursework, technical assistance, leadership coaching, entrepreneurial mentoring, and community based learning support.

The first cohort began meeting in January and is comprised of 21 leaders from eight Milwaukee-area organizations. The organizations are of varied sizes and scopes, and exemplify the wide array of nonprofits working to support and strengthen the greater Milwaukee community fabric.

According to Dr. Mark Gesner, Executive Director of The Stritch Hub for Innovation and Community Engaged Learning, the need for Mission Fuel became increasingly apparent after many conversations with community partners as well as media reports and evidence-based research.  “Every time we discussed this idea with leaders from nonprofits, business, and government, the reaction was always the same.  They all recognized the compelling community need for more self-sustainable nonprofits and the value of the model we designed in response,” Gesner said.

Mission Fuel didn’t only make sense with community leaders, but also aligned with the Stritch Value Proposition. “Mission Fuel is precisely the type of strategic, entrepreneurial work that has made Stritch a leader in higher education since our founding by the Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi in 1937,” said Kathleen A. Rinehart, J.D., Stritch President. “It also speaks to our value proposition which puts a primacy on transformational education programs that prepare the whole person for achievement in the communities in which they live, work, and lead.”  Both Rinehart and Gesner recently joined the Wisconsin Campus Compact Advisory Board and are actively working to operationalize Stritch’s new Civic Action Plan that was sparked by the Campus Compact 30th Anniversary Action Statement of Presidents and Chancellors.

Stritch is currently accepting applications for the second Mission Fuel cohort, which will start on September 5, 2018. For more information, visit or contact Program Coordinator Mikal Wesley at 414 410-4149 or mwwesley {at} stritch(.)edu.