University of Wisconsin–Madison

DreamUp WI Winner Ruth Schmidt Receives Community Change-Maker Award

Contact: Hilary Shager,, (608) 262-7990

MADSION—The DreamUp Wisconsin team congratulates Ruth Schmidt, executive director of the Wisconsin Early Childhood Association (WECA), for receiving the 2019 Community Shares Sally Sunde Family Advocate Award for her 30 years of dedication to serving others through executive nonprofit leadership, board development, and influencing government policy at the local, state, and national levels.

Schmidt is a member of the We Care for Dane Kids team that was awarded funding in the first round of the DreamUp Wisconsin challenge. We Care for Dane Kids seeks to transform early childhood and out-of-school time care by addressing child care problems that inhibit parents’ ability to work through partnership with Wisconsin Early Childhood Association, Reach Dane, Satellite Family Child Care Systems, the UW Schools of Social Work and Education, the City of Madison, Madison Out-of-School Time, and TASC.

In nominating Schmidt, WECA and its Board of Directors noted her leadership and commitment to supporting the state’s early childhood education workforce; her vision as co-chair of Wisconsin Partners for building relationships among multi-sector partners in order to solve complex community challenges; and her many state and national partnerships that inform and advance early care and education work throughout Wisconsin.

“DreamUp Wisconsin is happy to see Ruth receive this much-deserved recognition for her decades of tireless work on behalf of children and families in Wisconsin,” noted Hilary Shager, Associate Director of Programs and Management for the Institute for Research on Poverty at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. “The Change-Maker Awards honor innovative leaders in our community, a role Ruth has fulfilled over 30 years of service and dedication.”