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The Sherman Phoenix Foundation Building

The Sherman Phoenix Mission

To revitalize and uplift Milwaukee’s community of color through cultural celebration, entrepreneurship support,  and wellness resources.

Our Vision

To have a thriving community with increased socio-economic opportunities and wellness for people of color.




In 2016, civil unrest broke out in the Sherman Park neighborhood of Milwaukee after a fatal police shooting rocked the community. In the following weeks, community conversations identified the need for safe, welcoming neighborhood spaces and from those conversations, the idea for the Sherman Phoenix rose out of the ashes.


Today, the Sherman Phoenix is a state-of-the-art space for small businesses of color. It is a popular place to eat, shop, practice self-care, or attend a cultural or entrepreneurial-focused event. We serve over 100 people daily and have been home to nearly 50 businesses since our opening.


The Sherman Phoenix has proven to be a powerful economic hub that lifts Black-owned businesses, embraces talent and innovation, and embodies an inclusive spirit. In the marketplace, we are home to over 25 businesses, of which people of color own 96%, and 63% are women-led. In addition to these businesses, Sherman Phoenix supports over 50 local entrepreneurs by offering a monthly pop-up marketplace to showcase their services, merchandise and culinary items. In total, our small businesses employ over 75 residents.


Once rising from the ashes, the Sherman Phoenix is still rising and is now the heartbeat of Sherman Park and Greater Milwaukee’s neighboring communities, providing much-needed resources and opportunities. We are committed to collaborating with community-based organizations working to build inclusive and just economies for communities of color. At Sherman Phoenix, we are an ecosystem that works together to build communities of dynamic groups and individuals in Milwaukee.


We are also a beacon beyond Milwaukee, serving as a model and inspiration for other cities seeking racially equitable economic impact. The Sherman Phoenix proves that translating conversation into action opens powerful possibilities. We demonstrate that it is possible to repair the harms of our past and lift up the possibilities of our future when we commit to working together and being the change.

Our response to such wide spread community devastation was to respond to our neighbors by advancing a hope filled enterprise now know as the Sherman Phoenix.

The Sherman Phoenix Foundation now host to 27 tenants and a pure reflection of possibility.

Sherman Phoenix Foundation Building
“Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson has highlighted how the Sherman Phoenix is being exported. He expects more people to call for advice on how to replicate it.”
– Milwaukee Business Journal, 12/5/2021

Together, with our partners, we advance three strategies...

Entrepreneurship and Small Business Success

Entrepreneurship and small businesses are the backbone of our Milwaukee neighborhoods and communities. We ensure growth and sustainability of our businesses by connecting them with resources such as mentorship, skills training, technical support, and wellness. We help them scale their businesses, generate jobs, and support the local economy. 


Economic Equity and Empowerment

We know that economic equity and empowerment are critical for individual and family wellness, so we support our surrounding neighborhoods and communities with workforce development and financial literacy. This programming features activities for every member of the family. 


Cultural and Economic Vibrancy

By connecting with others, inspiring and magical things can happen. We create opportunities for people across diverse backgrounds to gather, learn and celebrate. Our organization has had a strong line up of community events, and we continue to create these much-needed opportunities for individuals.

The Sherman Phoenix Foundation interior


Dr. Stacia Thompson,  President and Chief Executive Officer

Dr. Stacia Thompson Sherman Phoenix Foundation Executive Director.  Dr. Thompson is responsible for managing daily operations while building community relationships that support the core areas of the foundation.  Dr. Thompson is known for being a change agent in developing economic empowerment and workforce strategies.  With deep expertise in community development, program development, entrepreneurial services and economic development, she is also an expert speaker and facilitator for diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. 

Stacia Thompson Sherman Phoenix

Romero McCants, Director of Operations & Engagement

Romero is an intrapreneurial, entrepreneurial, and strategic operations professional with over 10+ years of diverse experience in operations, administration and project management. He also brings over 15 years of entrepreneurial experience operating several small businesses. With a passionate and proven ability to provide servant leadership throughout organizations large and small, Romero thrives in a collaborative, goal driven environment. As an adept trainer, he provides patient, thorough and effective training in areas of technology, policy implementation and operational systems.

Romero McCants Sherman Phoenix Headshot

Rachael Bush, Program Manager

Meet Rachael Bush, a visionary Program Manager for Sherman Phoenix. Her expertise empowers companies, business owners, and entrepreneurs to efficiently manage their time and projects. With her outstanding proficiency, she can drive businesses from inception to completion. For over a decade, Rachael has held leadership positions in corporate dining, retail management, and senior living communities in the Greater Milwaukee Area. She is deeply passionate about nurturing and supporting fellow business owners and entrepreneurs and has been leading programs for this community at Sherman Phoenix.

Rachael Bush

Rashidah Butler-Jackson, Engagement Coordinator

Rashidah Butler-Jackson has worked in nonprofit management and direct service for almost 15 years. She is the founder of RBJ Community Consulting where she works to support nonprofits, community organizations, and social entrepreneurs with sustainability, evaluation, facilitation, and staff management. Her primary services include nonprofit startup, strategic planning, and nonprofit Board Member support and restructuring. 


Her primary role with the Sherman Phoenix Foundation includes supporting Sherman Phoenix business owners with monthly coaching and business development opportunities & supporting Foundation Board Members with growth, sustainability, and development for themselves and the Foundation. 

Rashidah Butler-Jackson

Our Board Of Directors

Dr. Damira Grady - Board President

Dr. Damira Grady

Board President, Vice President of College Culture and Climate, Madison Area Technical College

Danielle Bly

Danielle Bly

Vice President of Supplier Diversity, WEC Energy Group

Dina Abercrombie

Dina Abercrombie

Senior Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Northwestern Mutual

Noleta Franz

Noleta Franz

Assistant Director, Legal Process, Northwestern Mutual

Korbey White - Board Vice President

 Korbey White

Board Vice President, Health Program Manager, State of Wisconsin

Ramel Bly

Ramel Bly

Safety Specialist, City of Milwaukee Department of Public Works

Dr. Donald D. Dantzler Jr.

Dr. Donald D. Dantzler Jr

Educational Leadership & Policy, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Stacia Tompson - Chief Executive Officer

Stacia Tompson

President and Chief Executive Officer, Sherman Phoenix Foundation

Leana Nakielski - Officer

Leana Nakielski - Officer

Community & Social Impact Investment Director, American Family Insurance

Sherri Jordan

Sherri Jordan

MBA, ACC,CCA, Founder and Principal Consultant, Envision the Ladder LLC

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