The Evolution of the Zeidler Group


The Zeidler Group was created in 2005 as a volunteer organization started by Mayor Frank Zeidler and members of Frank Zeidler's home parish, Redeemer Lutheran Church, centered in the heart of Milwaukee.  The organization's original name was the Frank P. Zeidler Center for Public Discussion. 

The organization's first Executive Director was Rev. Dr. Lisa Bates-Froiland who served part-time until moving to full-time employment as pastor of Redeemer. In 2013, Dr. Katherine Wilson became Executive Director. After substantial growth, the Center gained non-profit status in 2015. 


Since our inception, we have offered trainings, hosted workshops, and led conversations on public issues for Milwaukee community members and local groups, such as the Milwaukee Police Department, Safe & Sound, Habitat for Humanity, the Boys and Girls Clubs, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Marquette University & many more.


We have facilitated dialogues on guns, racial reconciliation, interfaith dialogues, war, immigration, and segregation in Milwaukee to name a few. We thank all those who participated in finding a better way to talk about challenging and exciting aspects of living in Milwaukee!


In 2014, we expanded our programming internationally, forming partnerships and hosting facilitator trainings in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and El Salvador. 

In 2020, the organization rebranded as the Zeidler Group, Inc. as a way to highlight our work as a group of caring facilitators who serve both regionally and nationally. 

Frank Zeidler


Frank Zeidler served three terms as the mayor of Milwaukee, from 1948 to 1960.  He remained active in public life throughout his lifetime and our work is anchored in his commitment to seek the public good through community dialogue, strategic planning, issue analysis, and action.


We seek to continue honoring the Frank Zeidler spirit, his approach to public life, his intellectual curiosity, his commitment to family, neighborhood, personal responsibility as a citizen, and his participation in constructive discussion.

The Zeidler Legacy -- Milwaukee Historian John Gurda on the Life and Legacy of Frank Zeidler

Watch John Gurda speak on Frank Zeidler's legacy and the connection between his legacy on the the Zeidler Group's mission. Presentation given at the Zeidler Group's spring fundraiser in May 2017 with introduction by Adam Carr, Zeidler Group board member. 

Frank P. Zeidler Memorial Lecture -- Jeanne Zeidler

Watch as Jeanne Zeidler, the youngest daughter of Frank and Agnes Zeidler, shares an engaging account of the life and legacy of Milwaukee's last Socialist Mayor. Jeanne Zeidler, former mayor of Williamsburg, Virginia, honors her father's legacy on the 100th Anniversary of his birth at Milwaukee Public Library's Centennial Hall. Introduction by Paula A. Kiely, the director of the library. Kathleen Dunn of Wisconsin Public Radio moderates. Source: Milwaukee Public Television [Original Airdate: October 21, 2012]

"I Remember" A Tribute to Frank P. Zeidler -- Historian John Gurda

Historian John Gurda joins host Jim Peck for a special tribute to the late Frank P. Zeidler, the 1948-1960 Socialist Mayor of Milwaukee. The program includes recent comments by his daughter, Anita Zeidler, and footage of previous interviews with Frank P. Zeidler and others. September 20, 2012 was the 100th anniversary of the birth of Frank P. Zeidler, who died in 2006. Source: Milwaukee Public Television Episode #1901 [Original Airdate: September 24, 2012]


Anita Zeidler

The daughter of Frank Zeidler, Anita served as Treasurer of the Zeidler Group from 2012-2018 until she passed away in September. We honor her service and memory, inviting you to read an essay by Jim Casey, J.D. based on an interview with her for his 2010 manuscript titled The Milwaukee County Expressway and Transportation Commission: Democracy and Infrastructure Development. 

WISDOT Conference March 30 2000.jpg

WISDOT Transportation Conference in Waukesha, WI, March 30, 2000. From left to right: Ron Sonntag, retired WISDOT freeway engineer;

David Kuemmel, former Commissioner of Public Works, City of Milwaukee; James Casey, Attorney and Team Leader, Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, Northwestern University;

Kurt Bauer, Executive Director Emeritus, Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission; Frank Zeidler, former Mayor of Milwaukee