Our Story

Changing the way people connect

Founded in 2009, by a group of friends fresh out college and brand new to Milwaukee. Those kids quickly realized that there had to be a way to socialize and explore the city with their peers that did not entail hauling a stack of business cards to a stuffy networking event. And they also believed in building genuine, long-lasting relationships – people need to meet on a common ground, doing something that they truly love together.

Gathering a gaggle of friends together, the founders challenged each original member with the task of bringing ten of their friends to the first NEWaukee event. From that point, the group expanded rapidly as Milwaukee whippersnappers found an unconventional way to travel throughout the city, break out of their comfort zones and meet other like-minded people.

The group started with biweekly meet ups called Socials that changed locations and always included live, local music and sense of frivolity. Due to the public’s great reception of the concept, NEWaukee expanded its programming and offerings to include arts, culture, sports, adventures, large-scale festivals and intimate networking opportunities.

Not long after the programming began to expand and members of NEWaukee explored the city – Milwaukee’s accessibility and all-is-possible tendencies inspired folks to leave a lasting mark on the place they called home.

Sometimes that mark would be a work of public art, a temporary exhibition, or turning an old vacant lot into a destination.  Sometimes the mark was longer lasting – like advocating for sustainable artist funding, new public policies, and issues that affect members’ day-to-day lives.

Through NEWaukee, people (young and old) find a sense of place and a charge to take action to make Milwaukee the best city it can possibly be.

To hear more about the founding of NEWaukee, check out this podcast recorded by Angela Damiani and Osher Gunsberg.