Chris Harris-Wimsatt: Creating a Community Gathering Space

Chris Harris-Wimsatt went through a lot of hardship in his childhood. He went on to become an Air Force officer, an ROTC educator and worked for several major companies. He’s also a foster and adoptive parent to 20 children.  

Through it all, he’s been dedicated to serving others, particularly in response to the ways that he himself has been served. For example, as a young person, he was part of the Boys and Girls Club which was a guiding force in his life, and as an adult, he wanted to give back so he joined the board of the Boys and Girls Club where he lived and later became its CEO.  

In this interview, Chris talks about the ways that community supported him during hard times, which is what led him to his current project, creating an indoor market and food hall in his neighborhood in Milwaukee, WI—a space where he hopes neighbors can connect, find community and spend time together.

Chris typifies a strong community-builder who looks at the skills he has and asks how he can put them to work to strengthen his neighborhood from the bottom-up—empowering residents and business owners, transforming an underutilized space into a community gathering place, and all in a manner that is focused at the neighborhood-level.

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