Who We Are

The Public Policy Institute works to promote and implement evidence-based policies that will prevent and reduce poverty and improve the quality of life for individuals and families in Milwaukee and throughout Wisconsin. Our varied programs and projects are united in their view that poverty is Milwaukee’s biggest problem. In addition to our Milwaukee work, many of our programs are also regional, statewide and national in scope.

The Public Policy Institute (PPI), a division of Community Advocates, Inc., was founded in 2008 to ensure that the overall agency worked to prevent and end poverty at the same time as Community Advocates’ direct service programming in its other divisions served people in poverty. PPI is sometimes also referred to as the Community Advocates Public Policy Institute.

PPI targets poverty in a number of ways – we try to reduce it through changes to relevant public policies and laws; we try to prevent its effects through public health efforts; and we work to increase opportunity and wellness for low-income people by fostering factors related to success, resilience and well-being. 

We pursue our goals in a few different ways. We analyze and advocate for policy changes. We convene and coordinate coalitions that align with our mission. We also distribute funds to community-based programs while offering them training and technical assistance to increase impact. 

Please click here to learn about our programming approach, and we welcome the opportunity to connect on the Public Policy Institute’s Facebook page and Twitter feed.

About Community Advocates

The Public Policy Institute is part of one of Wisconsin’s largest human services nonprofits, Community Advocates, one of the few organizations still welcoming walk-in clients five days a week. For over 35 years, Community Advocates, Inc. (CA) has provided results-focused client advocacy combined with more than 40 basic needs programs. Each year, CA provides direct services to 50,000 individuals, representing a sizable portion of all Milwaukee residents living at or below the poverty level.

Community Advocates’ mission is to provide individuals and families with advocacy and services to meet their basic needs so they may live in dignity.

Community Advocates’ four divisions are: Basic Needs Division (housing, utilities, healthcare, disabilities benefits), Milwaukee Women’s Center Division (domestic violence shelter, addiction services, batterer’s treatment, fatherhood), Behavioral Health Division (services for people experiencing homelessness and mental illness), and the Public Policy Institute Division.

To learn more about Community Advocates, please visit CA’s website, Facebook page, and Twitter feed. Click here to sign up for the Community Advocates e-newsletter.