The Covid-19 pandemic was an all-hands-on-deck moment. As communities were jolted into emergency response on many fronts – health, jobs, housing, education, child care, food, and mental health – collaboration and coordination became essential.

In this new case study, we learn more about Milwaukee’s Civic Response Team and how it united local governments, philanthropy, and nonprofits to collectively manage response and recovery. In just weeks, they housed hundreds of people, delivered tens of thousands of meals, built and promoted a COVID-19 testing system, distributed hundreds of thousands of masks, provided families with technology to connect to school, rescued child care providers, and soothed anxieties and grief.

This new paper studies how the public-private partnerships within the Civic Response worked during their first year, and what we can learn from them to support better partnership and emergency response in the future.

Download a copy of this paper at the link on the left of this page. (Logging into your CIF account will be necessary to download.)

Key findings in this case study include:

  • The response was uneven across government jurisdictions and agencies with the most impact coming from those who had prior relationships or partnerships;
  • Those government employees who participated actively and were authorized to act reported that they achieved impacts and gained community trust they could not have otherwise;
  • Some teams made possible intergovernmental cooperation that reconciled competing priorities, regulations, and funding flows that had impeded providers’ response work;
  • Philanthropic leaders played a key role using their influence and access to resources to support public-private collaboration, and could do more to coordinate initiatives with public leaders, lift up and share credit with public sector partners, and help providers advocate to local government.
  • Nonprofits were able to bring community voice and data to the table, and worked best when they centered their work on innovating around community needs instead of promoting existing program interests.

Related Resources

Thi new case study provides updates on earlier work related to Milwaukee's Civic Response Team during the pandemic. Check out these resources to find out more about their work. .

Click a tag below to see filtered list of resources: