"As a child, I dreamed of becoming a Catholic priest, because I wanted to make the world a more just and a more loving place. Unfortunately, the Catholic Church doesn't allow married clergy and I realized that I didn't want to live a life alone." - Leo J. Ries

Leo J. Ries

Board Co-Chair

Leo Ries has been an active participant in the development of Milwaukee’s neighborhoods for over 40 years. He is currently serving as the Interim Executive Director of the Martin Luther King Economic Development Corporation in Milwaukee’s Harambee neighborhood. He previously served for 15 years as Executive Director the Milwaukee office of the Local Initiative Support Corporation (LISC). Prior to his position with LISC, Leo worked for the City of Milwaukee for over ten years as Director of Housing and Neighborhood Development in the Department of City Development and as Director of the Community Block Grant Administration.

Leo currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago (FHLBC) and is the vice-chair of the Bank’s Affordable Housing Committee.

Leo Ries serves in a voluntary capacity with the following organizations:

Up Close and Personal

What accomplishment are you most proud of?

I’m most proud of the work that I did during my 15 years as head of the Milwaukee LISC office. In particular, I’m proud to have played a role in reviving the ACRE program which introduces minority individuals to careers in the commercial real estate industry and in developing the MANDI (Milwaukee Awards for Neighborhood Development Innovation) program into a major community event that celebrates and acknowledges the individuals and groups that are working to rebuild Milwaukee’s neighborhoods.

As a child, what did you dream of becoming when you grew up?

As a child, I dreamed of becoming a Catholic priest, because I wanted to make the world a more just and a more loving place. Unfortunately, the Catholic Church doesn't allow married clergy and I realized that I didn't want to live a life alone.

What’s the most courageous thing you’ve ever done?

I walked the Camino de Santiago in October 2015. This 500 mile pilgrimage route, across northern Spain, has been around for centuries When I set off on this 5 week journey, by myself, I didn’t know anyone, I didn’t know what I would experience and I didn’t know if I could make it. I was completely removed from all my familiar surroundings and support systems. But it ended up being a wonderful experience, where I learned a lot about myself and I learned to be resourceful, resilient and more open to others.

735 N. Water Street, Suite 1600, Milwaukee, WI 53202 | 414.226.2410
© Copyright 2017 | Lead2Change is a registered 501c3.