Alder Brian Benford
210 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd
Madison, WI 53703
Phone: (608) 266-4071
Fax: (608) 267-8669
WI Relay Service
About Alder Benford
For the last thirty years, Brian Benford has fought for Madison's most underserved and vulnerable communities as an activist, City Alder, and family advocate. He's spent his career working directly with - and advocating for - at-risk youth, low-income families, and neighborhood organizations. As alderperson for District 6 on the Madison Common Council Brian will continue that fight.
Through his community work, Brian saw the challenges and disparities within the city, and felt called to service. Brian was first elected as District 12 Alder on the Madison Common Council in 2003, running on a people-first platform. In his two terms, Brian served on 15 committees, and as President of the Equal Opportunities Commission. Here, Brian learned how people's daily lives are impacted by laws and regulations created by government bodies. Just like he did during his during his last tenure on Council, Brian will give the people of Madison a voice in the decisions that impact them.
In many ways, Brian's life is not unique. He has faced the same challenges and trials that so many experience in Madison and across the state. He has survived cancer, he has known poverty, and he has raised five children on low-income wages. These struggles have only strengthened Brian's resolve and his commitment to community service.
Brian was born in the inner city of Milwaukee in 1959. His family was firmly entrenched within the civil rights movement. Both his grandmothers were early social justice activists in Milwaukee's Black community. As a child, he attended Saint Boniface School when Father James Groppi was the parish priest. At age five, Brian began marching with Father Groppi and thousands of others for better opportunities for Black people living in Milwaukee. Brian has never stopped fighting for affordable housing, better schools, good-paying jobs, and the ability for all to reach their full potential.
Brian's family left Milwaukee during the riots of 1968, exchanging an afro-centric environment for the all-white, rural farm community of Fort Atkinson. Brian was one of the first Black children to attend school at Fort Atkinson in over 100 years. There, Brian first experienced the profound effect of racism and carries it with him to this day. Despite enduring years of prejudice, Brian walked away with a profound love of diversity in all its beauty and possibilities. He is convinced he might be the only Black man in Wisconsin that can dance the polka while listening to hip hop.
Growing up in such seemingly different communities, Brian experienced first-hand how after looking past the external things that separate individuals - skin color, wealth, religion - it is easy to focus on the commonalities that bind communities together - like the love we have for our children and families, and the desire to live a life with dignity. Those insights molded Brian into an experienced family advocate, educator, and activist in the Madison.
Brian is the father of five children (Lucas, Brianne, Maya, Jacob, and Nick), all of whom have gone through Madison public schools. Currently, Brian is a Success Coach for the UW - Madison Odyssey Project, where he helps underserved and at-risk students overcome barriers to achieve their educational goals. He received his Master's of Social Work from UW Madison in 2020. Brian also serves on the Madison Public Safety Review Committee and was recently elected to the Dane County Homeless Services Consortium Board of Directors.
Alderperson-Elect-City of Madison District 6-April 2021-
Success Coach-UW-Madison Odyssey Project-July 2019-Present
Support Odyssey students and alumni facing obstacles that stand in their way of pursuing higher education.
Prevention Coordinator-Domestic Abuse Intervention Services-October 2018-September 2019
Working within schools and community centers with young men to eliminate rape, intimate partner and domestic violence.
Resource Specialist-Operation Fresh Start-August 2017-October 2018
Provided resources, information and referrals within the WorkSmart Network and with youth aging out of foster care (Independent Living Program).
Childcare Specialist/Parent Educator-Center for Families-August 2011-Present
Worked as the Neighborhood Parent Aide in collaboration with Dane County Human Services. Facilitated Play and Learn groups. Coordinated Parents Place (parent support groups). Staffed the Respite Center (emergency childcare) as a Family Service Worker and Childcare Specialist.
Site Supervisor-Marquette Elementary School-Red Caboose Daycare-November
Supervised and designed elementary after school program and Summer Camp.
Intern-Joining Forces for Families, Darbo/Worthington Drive-August 2010-May 2011
Provided wrap-around services, referrals and resources for familes living within the Darbo-Worthington neighborhood while interning for field placement through UWMadison School of Social Work.
Advisor – UW-Madison's Multi-Cultural Student Coalition - August 2010- May 2011 Advised student members of the UW-Madison M.S.C.
Youth Specialist- Canopy Center- September 2008-February-2010
Provided trauma informed opportunities for children and youth who have experienced trauma.
Coordinator of Community Relations- Community Action Coalition- May 2008September 2008
Supervised volunteers and free clothing center. I coordinated community events such as Coats for Kids.
Program Director- Neighborhood House Community Center-June 2004-May 2008 Planned, supervised and evaluated programming within Madison's oldest community center. Served as interim Executive Director.
Alderman- City of Madison, District 12, - April 2003-April 2007
I served two terms opening up the doors to city hall for all of those without a voice.
Served on over 15 committees and boards including the Board of Estimates, Alcohol License Review Committee and the Equal Opportunities Commission (served as President).
Facilitator/Case Manager- Fatherhood Responsibility Program, Urban League of
Greater Madison- May 2003-June 2004
Directing a program for fathers to promote positive parenting and employment security.
Community Resource Director-O'Keeffe Middle School-May 2000-May 2003 Planning, directing and evaluating youth programming outside of school hours.
Directing summer camps and enrichment opportunities for youth living on the eastside of Madison
Allied Drive Site Director-Boys and Girls Club of Dane County-Help to plan and secure funding for new club in the Allied Drive neighborhood.
Camp Director-MSCR –provided outdoor and cultural connections for youth ages 1115.
Coordinator-Grassroots Leadership College- connecting seasoned leaders with emerging leaders to bring positive change to our communities.
Coordinator-Schools of Hope-linking volunteers with middle school students to improve academic success.
Family Outreach Worker-Head Start-providing wrap around services to families that were part of neighborhoods (Allied and Lakepoint) served by Head Start.
Nutrition and Youth Educator-UW-Extension-presented research based information on nutrition, money management and youth leadership skills to underserved families and youth in Dane County.
Teen Director-Atwood Community Center-planned, directed and evaluated positive opportunities for teens.
Pre-School/After-School Teacher-Atwood Community Center and Red Caboose – served as a teacher for youth ages 2-13
Volunteer Coordinator-Citizen Action of Wisconsin- I recruited, trained and supervised over 300 volunteers to engage voters during the 2004 presidential campaign.
Founder-Madison Fatherhood Alliance (promotes positive parenting)
Commission Member-City of Madison's CDBG, ALRC, Early Childhood, East Wash.
Reconstruction, Warner Park, Affirmative Action, Dane County Gang Task Force, East
Rail, City of Madison Board of Estimates, Dept. of Civil Rights, Platinum Bike, Equal
Opportunities Commission (currently serving as President)
Board Member-Dane County Parent Council-(now ReachDane)
Board Member-Community Coordinated Child Care (4C)
Tutor-MSCR, various schools
Pontoon Boat Driver-MSCR
Board Member-Emerson East Neighborhood Association
Dane County Homeless Services Committee
Fort Atkinson Senior High School-1978
Family Service Credential-Viterbo College-1998
Youth Development Certificate-UW-Milwaukee-1996
Bachelor of Social Work-UW-Madison
Master of Social Work-UW-Madison
Certificate-American Indian Studies- UW-Madison