After six years as executive director of Milwaukee’s Cream City Foundation, Maria Cadenas is moving to California to become philanthropy manager for Driscoll’s, a global corporation based in the Santa Cruz area.
Cadenas is a native Californian who moved to Milwaukee in 2000 after attending college in Beloit. She served as associate director of the ACLU of Wisconsin before joining Cream City, where she oversaw a new vision of philanthropy.
“We were bold enough to dare to dream of another way to be a catalyst for change, to shake expectations, to redefine what a foundation is – one accountable to and built by community,” Cadenas said in a statement announcing her move.
Among her other achievements at Cream City, Cadenas coordinated a landmark study of LGBT youth homelessness in the Milwaukee area and created the “gay neighbors” campaign, which featured pictures of gay and lesbian families on billboards and posters.
“The best part has been working with the community, with the donors and individuals who live and breathe equality – people like my volunteers and board members,” Cadenas told WiG. “Having been the ED has been the opportunity to think strategically and nationally about how we fit into the movement for equality and how I can open doors for people who are willing to do the hard work.”
“We would like to extend our sincere gratitude to Maria for her extraordinary contributions to Cream City Foundation,” the organization’s board said in a statement. “Maria has taken our ‘baby’ and nurtured and grown the foundation, while putting us on an unprecedented, national, cutting-edge programmatic path. Her efforts in executing the organization’s bold and daring mission, being a partner to community leaders and donors in their philanthropy, guiding new grant-making models, launching a groundbreaking visibility campaign, and increasing LGBT philanthropy to new levels are a tribute not only to her talents but to her dedication to our community.”
Griselda Aldrete is stepping down from Cream City Foundation’s board of directors to serve as its interim executive director.