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ReDonna Rodgers work spanned over thirty years, in which she endowed hundreds of youth and young entrepreneurs the opportunity for a bright future.

“If you can’t get a job, make a job.”


This fiery, self-sufficient motto was just one of the many empowering phrases Rodgers used to instill success in the youth she mentored. During her early years as a child mentor, she focused her efforts on keeping youth on the right path towards success through advocacy and prevention programs. Having grown up learning to focus on a child’s assets rather than their deficits from her father, Rodgers co-founded Milwaukee‘s Center for Teaching Entrepreneurship (CTE) along with Franklin Buchta in 1991. Franklin Buchta died three years after the organization was started.

CTE was built on Rodger’s desire to teach youth the connection between education and business. The Center’s mission was created to expose youth ages 9-24 to personal and professional growth through programs and coaching in financial literacy and entrepreneurship. Since its creation, CTE has assisted more than 60 businesses run by owners under 24-years-old and served over 14,000 youth through various programs and initiatives.

Rodgers has been noted for her efforts as she was one of the recipients of the 2010 Fellowship Open Community Leader Award. The award is given to outstanding leaders focused on improving children’s lives in their community.

Whether she won awards or not, Rodgers made it her mission to help the youth hone their skills, hobbies and interests to use them and create a positive path for their future and their community. After years of pointing youth in the right direction and setting them on the path for success, Rodgers passed away at the age of 58-years-old on August 31, 2017.

Though Rodgers may have passed on, her legacy will live on through the thousands of youth she has inspired in her community and across the City of Milwaukee. She will be dearly missed.

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