Felice Green – 35th Annual Black Excellence Awards Honoree


Felice Green
Community Volunteer

Lifelong Milwaukee resident Felice Green has always had a passion for servanthood. Over the years she has found many causes that have allowed her to pursue this passion— professionally and through volunteering.

Felice was raised by a single mom and grew up in the Sherman Park area that was considered a working-class neighborhood during her youth.

“My mom instilled in me a work ethic and strong values and self-worth. After college I started working in the nonprofit arena and volunteering with different organizations as a way to get acquainted with people and become familiar with other neighborhoods. Volunteering is my way of giving back to the community and serving others,” said Felice.

A graduate of John Marshall High School, Felice attended the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM), where she earned a bachelor of arts degree in mass communications. Growing up, she recalls watching her grandmother read the newspapers, so she started reading them; it’s what got her interested in journalism.

Felice credits her grandmother with piquing her interest in a career in journalism, but she also looks to her as a role model. She admires and respects the fact that her grandmother returned to school later in life to earn a teaching degree from UWM.

“My mother and grandmother are definitely pioneers in my life who influenced me to become the person that I am today. My grandmother passed away during my senior year in high school. I’m so proud of the fact that she had the courage and determination to pursue her passion to teach as a way to make a difference.

“Throughout my professional career, it’s been important to me to mentor other African American women pursuing careers in media or public relations. It’s my way of paying it forward because I received support, guidance and advice from other African American women who paved the way before me in the field of communications. I understand many of the challenges, such as being the only African American woman in the workplace; so being a mentor for young women gives me joy. I love seeing them develop and pursue their professional careers. I’m still in contact with many of them today. It’s also important for me to note that I wouldn’t be where I am without Christ in my life. I’d be completely lost. The Bible has truly been my foundation,” she said.

Volunteerism is not just a matter of giving back, Felice quickly points out; it’s also a way to identify potential employers and get your foot in the door for job opportunities. In the beginning of her career, she interned in the development/ PR office at an all-girls high school, worked at the daily newspaper and volunteered for organizations such as the Red Cross and the Share Program, a program where people get a break on their grocery bills by exchanging volunteer time for the opportunity to buy affordable food.

“I started doing pro bono work with various organizations to explore other interests and gain a different kind of work experience. I was our neighborhood Community Site Coordinator for my church. I enjoyed helping our congregation and neighbors save on their food. An unexpected benefit is that I ended up being offered employment by two of the organizations for which I volunteered,” she said.

Volunteering does not come without its challenges. There’s a balancing act required and boundaries that must be set and respected.

“Some of the same challenges overlap in the professional and volunteer worlds. I’m an advocate for quality education for all children regardless of their zip codes, environmental, and social justice issues that have a high negative impact in minority communities. I serve on public task forces, committees and boards to be a part of the solution and bring insights and experiences that many may not have.

“Milwaukee’s negatives are known nationwide— high Black male unemployment, high poverty rates, racism, health disparities, and so on. We cannot become desensitized to these and other problems. We have to find workable, better solutions.”

Felice also believes that it’s critical that children see people of color engaged as volunteers, just as it’s important to see them represented in various professions.

“It’s important for them to see us represented not just as recipients of services, but as providers and givers. I love books and one of my favorite volunteer times is with the United Way My Very Own Library program, where Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) students can select free books. Seeing the smiles on their faces and being able to say, ‘I read that when I was in third or fifth grade,’ makes my day,” she said.

Since 2007, Felice has been a volunteer voter registrar for the City of Milwaukee Election Commission, Sherman Park Neighborhood Association site.

“I look forward to registering new 18-year-olds during election season. At the site, we ring the cow bell and people clap. I love it. I still remember the first time I voted and want others to wear their ‘I voted’ sticker with joy,” she said.

Felice’s professional background in media and public relations, community engagement and advocacy— primarily working with education reform and higher education—has come in handy when working with some of these organizations, particularly as it relates to environmental issues that affect public health.

Among the many organizations that Felice volunteers for are the African American Breastfeeding Network, Capuchin Community Services Advisory Ministry Council (House of Peace and St. Ben’s Meal Program), Susan G. Komen WI Chapter, Friends of the Hank Aaron Trail, and the Wisconsin Black Historical Society/Museum. She is also engaged in public and environmental health initiatives, being named an Environmental Leadership Program Fellow in 2018 and serving on the Milwaukee County and City Green Jobs Equity and Economics Task Force. She has been a United Way Campaign cabinet member since 2018 and is a healthy living facilitator with the American Heart Association.

“I serve in my church ministry, Spirit of Christ; however not all ministry is done within the church. There are plenty of opportunities outside the walls of the church to serve in our community. I encourage individuals who are considering volunteering to get involved with organizations and groups that bring them joy or represent issues they are passionate about.

“Volunteering is a way to give back, get involved and pay it forward. The appreciation and satisfaction that I’m helping mission-driven organizations is rewarding. You can always give money to organizations and that’s important; but time is precious and priceless. I’m a servant leader and try to lead by example. I strive to serve others with dignity and integrity so that the Lord will be pleased with my service,” she said.