Jeramey Jannene

DNC Team Pitches Civic Leaders

Host committee needs volunteers and venues, wants double the volunteers of 2016 convention.

By - Oct 15th, 2019 10:02 am
The Fiserv forum during the Milwaukee Bucks annual party block party. Photo by Jack Fennimore.

The Fiserv forum during the Milwaukee Bucks annual party block party. Photo by Jack Fennimore.

Milwaukee’s Democratic National Convention host committee — called The Good Land — spent almost an hour briefing business and civic leaders on the potential impact of the convention Monday afternoon.

Led by Liz Gilbert, the non-profit committee is seeking to raise $70 million to host the convention which the convention fundraising veteran said will have a $200 million impact. The timeline to get that done is getting shorter as the July 2020 convention is only 39 weeks away.

Throughout her presentation and a panel discussion with other committee leaders, representatives of The Good Land stressed that the convention would have a lasting economic impact and be a model of diversity and inclusion.

“Our work as the host committee will ensure that the effects of this convention spread across the entire city,” said Gilbert to members of the Greater Milwaukee Committee. “We want to be sure that months and years after the balloons have fallen that our legacy is felt.”

The host committee is planning three summits to build capacity and a shared vision for Milwaukee’s convention effort. The first summit will focus on diversity in contracting. The second, planned for February in partnership with startup accelerator gener8t0r, will center around establishing a shared vision for growth. The third will focus on establishing a culture of volunteerism.

Gilbert also detailed the schedule for the convention. Saturday, July 11th, will consist of a committee-hosted welcome party for the up-to 15,000 media members expected to descend upon the city. On Sunday, July 12th, the committee will host a welcome party for the voting delegates. The convention itself will run from July 13th through the 17th, with the nominee planned to speak on the evening of Thursday, July 17th. Closing the host committee’s planned events is a Friday, July 18th volunteer thank you event.

But Gilbert and vice president of event production Kelly Gleeson warned that far more than that will be going on. Over 2,000 individual events are expected to take place in the run-up to and during the convention. “I think the opportunities are endless,” said Gleeson of anyone with a space to host an event.

The committee is preparing a searchable online database for venues so that potential event hosts can easily assess their options. Gleason said much of her work today is connecting different hosts with prospective venues, but that many will find spaces on their own. To register for the database, venue operators are encouraged to visit


Gilbert told the audience that no business has ever had to close because of the security perimeter of the DNC, and that she didn’t expect Milwaukee to be the first.

“The security team has about 28 subcommittees. Their work is expansive and they’re considering every issue,” said Gilbert. She told the audience that she has worked on three conventions and that the relationship with the Secret Service has never been better.

An announcement on the security perimeter is expected to come early next year.


The committee anticipates it will need 15,000 volunteers to support the convention.

Neisha Blandin, vice president of engagement and opportunity, is in charge of the recruitment effort and pitched the leaders in the room on signing up their organizations.

“If you only have a few hours to give, I’ll take it,” said Blandin. “If you have a whole week to give, I’ll love it.” She said she would welcome organizations that could enlist up to 1,000 volunteers for non-partisan positions.

The host committee is also launching the Building Our Future Program to subsidize the costs of lost wages, transportation, housing and wages for volunteers.

“Civic engagement should not be a privilege based on wealth,” said Gilbert.

Gilbert said 20 percent would fund the inclusion efforts as well as the welcome and thank you events.

Want a Job or Internship with the Committee?

Paid internships with the committee have been posted online. All jobs, including internships, will be paid a minimum of $15 per hour said Gilbert.

The committee expects to have a significant staff. “We have already doubled the size of the Philadelphia host committee and our staff continues to grow,” said Gilbert of the 2016 convention host.

Maricruz Sanchez, director of vendor growth, said requests for proposals for various vendor services would come out as early as this week.

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More about the DNC

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Categories: Politics

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