Friday, August 28, 2015
'Ramp Up MKE' to make Milwaukee landmarks more accessible
August 28, 2015 11:10 AM
A cross-sector effort is pushing to make key landmarks in Milwaukee more accessible for individuals with disabilities.

In partnership with Milwaukee County Parks and Kelly’s Greenscapes, of Sussex, The Ability Center has launched a campaign to purchase equipment and outfit area venues with amenities that will make them more open to community members with disabilities.

The campaign, dubbed “Ramp Up MKE,” falls directly in line with TAC’s mission to give individuals with disabilities more opportunities to boost their fitness and health.

The regional nonprofit kicked off the campaign in July, first setting its sights on enhancing accessibility at Bradford Beach along Milwaukee’s lakefront. Largely through an online fundraiser, facilitated through GoFundMe, the campaign has generated close to $10,000. The campaign sits $1,500 away from a $2,500 match that would elevate the campaign total to $10,000, according to TAC founder Damian Buchman.

Funds are first supporting the purchase of Eagle Monster Beach Chairs, beach equipment that allows people in wheelchairs to more easily make their way across sand. Each chair costs about $2,500.

To date, campaign organizers have purchased two beach chairs and are on their way to buying a third with broader hopes to purchase at least five heavy duty chairs.

It is not year clear how individuals will be able to access the chairs. Logistics are still being coordinated with potential for a renting system to be implemented.

What is clear, however, is that steps need to be taken to more the beach more accessible to those with disabilities.

“There is no accessibility down there right now,” Buchman said.

“That’s why this is so important and valuable,” he added.

Support for the campaign since its July launch – which coincided with the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act – has been “amazing,” according to Buchman.

“The donations have been very meaningful,” he said, noting that individual contributions have averaged $55.

A second phase of “Ramp Up MKE” will focus on installing three ramps at Bradford Beach – at the south end, north end and near the central beach house – to open up better gateways to the beach. The ramps will be permanent and will be extended with seasonal matting stretching all the way to the water, according to Buchman.

Phase two will likely be completed in two to three years, he said.

Beyond Bradford Beach, “Ramp Up MKE” will target city hotspots like Red Arrow Park, the Pettit National Ice Center and Veterans Park.

In Red Arrow Park and at the Pettit, the initiative will focus on making ice skating and ice sports more accessible to people with disabilities. Buchman hopes to be able to purchase ice sleds, $1,500 pieces of equipment that give people with disabilities an easier way to glide across the ice. And in Veterans Park, “Ramp UP MKE” will plant specialized kayaks and bikes for individuals with disabilities.

“We’ll continue to make Milwaukee a more accessible recreational place to live,” Buchman said.

“Ramp Up MKE” rallied support during a beach party at the waterfront on Aug. 22 and will continue to collect online donations at

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Giveaway event to feature 27,000 pounds of design materials
August 28, 2015 11:13 AM
After racking up 27,000 pounds of design materials, the Green Design Center and the American Society of Interior Designers Wisconsin chapter hope to give it all away this weekend.

Together, the center and society are hosting “Re_Purposeful,” a second annual giveaway of materials like fabrics, tiles, carpet squares and laminate chips that are no longer needed by their original owners.

The giveaway event is free and open to the general public. Organizers of the event have been reaching out to area nonprofit organizations, schools and teachers to spread awareness of the event and encourage anyone to stop by and rummage through their collection.

Attendees can take as much as they want from the collection of used materials – at no cost.

The Green Design Center, based in Waukesha, and ASID’s Wisconsin chapter created the event to help give used materials a second life, one outside landfills.

“As the design community as a whole (has started) to look further and further into our environmental impact, it became very clear that we could make a difference, even on such a small local level, to eliminate some of the waste that we produce,” said Kelsey Holtz, an interior designer at the Green Design Center and chair of the sustainability committee for ASID’s state chapter.  

One of the most significant sources of waste that the design community produces are design samples and trend materials that fade in and out of style, Holtz said.

Since March, Re_Purposeful organizers have been taking in donations of materials from regional design showrooms and product representatives – anyone with extra materials in their design libraries.

Materials have been stored in extra warehouse space at the Green Design Center.

Last year’s event featured a giveaway worth 11,000 pounds of materials.

The 2015 event will run today from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Green Design Center, located at 2201 Badger Court in Waukesha.

Admission is free. Organizers recommend attendees make a donation toward event costs.

In addition to the giveaway, Re_Purposeful will feature raffles and booths of other green-focused organizations, including Habitat for Humanity’s Waukesha ReStore and the Victory Garden Initiative.

Holtz said the center and ASID aim to distribute all 27,000 pounds of materials. Anything left over, however, will be stored for the year until the next giveaway event.

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United Way campaign goal ticks up to $60M
August 28, 2015 11:14 AM
United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County on Tuesday revealed a $60 million goal for its community campaign – the first campaign the organization will embark upon since it merged two United Way branches earlier this year.

The goal was announced during a campaign kickoff event held at the Milwaukee County Zoo.

The organization’s 2015 campaign will run through Dec. 15 and will add to its support of more than 220 programs managed by more than 110 partner agencies throughout Milwaukee, Waukesha, Washington and Ozaukee counties. United Way’s core focus areas include education, income and health – what the nonprofit refers to as “the building blocks for a good quality life.”

“We believe the merger of the United Way of Greater Milwaukee and United Way in Waukesha County will help us to better address challenges facing our communities that do not recognize city boundaries or county lines,” Mary Lou Young, president and chief executive officer of United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County, said in a statement. “People throughout the region rely on United Way services and our team is poised to offer the maximum level of customer service and increased efficiencies.”

The 2015 campaign will be chaired by four area executives – Cory Nettles, partner at Milwaukee-based Quarles & Brady LLP; Suzanne Kelley, president of the Waukesha County Business Alliance; Cathy Jacobson, president and CEO of Froedtert Health; and Alex Molinaroli, chairman, president and CEO of Glendale-based Johnson Controls, Inc.

As in past years, funds will be generated through community fundraising, workplace giving campaigns, corporate donations and grants.

The organization will also operate a Community Impact Fund within the campaign. Donors can indicate that they would like their dollars to flow into the fund, which backs programs that are proven effective, address current community needs and are financially sustainable, according to Rebecca Schimke, communications specialist of the nonprofit.

United Way of Greater Milwaukee merged with United Way in Waukesha County in February after announcing their plans to become one last December, largely for efficiency purposes. The organizations completed separate campaigns last year and allocated their dollars independent of one another.

While United Way of Greater Milwaukee raised more than $54 million, the Waukesha County chapter pulled in $4.3 million.

United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County plans to announce its 2015 fundraising total during a December celebration hosted by Johnson Controls.

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St. Ann Center to open second campus on Tuesday
August 28, 2015 11:17 AM
St. Ann Center for Intergenerational Care is scheduled to open a second campus on Tuesday. Located in a new 80,000-square-foot, two-story building at 2450 W. North Ave. in Milwaukee, it will be called the Bucyrus Campus.

St. Ann Center currently operates a 60,000-square-foot campus, known as the Stein Campus, at 2801 E. Morgan Ave. The campus sits on a 7.5-acre lot at 24th and 25th avenues that was previously vacant, according to spokeswoman Cathy Feldkamp.

“Basically it’s an answer to a call,” said Diane Beckley, chief operating officer of the Bucyrus Campus. “There’s so much interest in the intergenerational model. We want to bring it to other communities, serve the underserved, and be where there’s a need.”

The mission of St. Ann Center for Intergenerational Care is to provide community-based health and educational services for children and frail adults and to serve as a resource and support for caregivers.

Feldkamp said the overall cost of the Bucyrus Campus, including the purchase of the land and construction of the building, is approximately $20 million.

St. Ann raised $17.5 million to complete the first phase of the project, which consists of child care and some adult units. The organization is fundraising about $5 million for the remainder of the project, which will complete the second level of the building. That part of the building will be dedicated to Alzheimer’s and dementia care, as well as overnight respite care.
Child care services will begin on Tuesday, with 20 to 25 children expected to attend. Fifty to 60 adults are anticipated when the adult services starts Oct. 1.

When the facility is complete, it is expected to serve 220 children and 100 adults. The first campus, the Stein Campus, serves around 120 children and 100 adults.

About 50 employees were hired for the new campus, and Feldkamp said another 200-plus jobs could be filled as the center grows. More than 600 people came to a job fair St. Ann Center held in June.

“That shows the need in the area for this type of employment and the excitement for something new coming in,” Feldkamp said.

A grand opening celebration for the new campus is scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 15 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
St. Ann Center broke ground on the Bucyrus Campus on Nov. 18, 2014.

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Goodwill to move to new West Allis location
August 28, 2015 11:19 AM
Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Wisconsin will move from its current West Allis location to a former Big Lots store across the street.

The new location will provide Goodwill with more operational efficiencies, have a larger parking lot and has enough space to build a loading dock, said Pat Boelter, chief marketing officer.

“We will be doing some remodeling at the Big Lots location and when it is finished we will open on day one and close our current store on the second day for a seamless transition,” Boelter said. “This new location will really be much better for our customers.”

Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Wisconsin has almost 100 locations in 23 counties in Wisconsin and suburban Chicago.

The new Goodwill store and donation center at 10909 W. Oklahoma Ave., was purchased by Goodwill Industries for $1.5 million Aug. 19. Goodwill has not yet finalized a timeline for the move or made a decision for the future of its current building at 11000 W. Oklahoma Ave.

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Cover story: Workforce developers
August 28, 2015 11:20 AM
Gus Ramirez, executive chairman at Waukesha-based HUSCO International Inc., embarked on one of the most ambitious projects of his philanthropic career earlier this year when he pledged to make a $60 million investment in improving education in Milwaukee with the development of a new K-12 school on the city's south side.

Businesses today need to be far more demanding in the push for better schools to retain their ability to compete globally, Ramirez said. While many businesspeople prefer to sidestep the politics of education, the cost of not confronting education system problems in the U.S. will place the country at a disadvantage relative to international competitors, he says.

Read more in the cover story of the new issue of BizTimes Milwaukee.

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Submit Nonprofit Excellence Awards nominations by August 31
August 28, 2015 11:22 AM
BizTimes Media is collecting nominations for its second annual Nonprofit Excellence Awards program, which applaud the philanthropic accomplishments of area business leaders and the effective work of nonprofits.

Last year’s awards program recognized honorees during a November breakfast held at Potawatomi Hotel and Casino. The event drew more than 400 attendees from the region’s business and nonprofit communities.

The 2015 awards program, presented in partnership with the Nonprofit Center of Milwaukee, the Association of Fundraising Professionals Southeastern Wisconsin Chapter and the Wisconsin Philanthropy Network, features nine award categories.

Corporate Citizen Award categories are:

Corporate Citizen of the Year, given to a for-profit organization in recognition of its impact on a single or multiple nonprofit organizations through financial contributions, collective efforts to promote, encourage and organize fundraising efforts, and company-sponsored programs and/or events engaging employees to participate in volunteerism.

Next Generation Leadership, given to for-profit executive who is younger than 40 and demonstrates leadership and significant contributions to single or multiple nonprofit organizations through active leadership on a board and/or strategic management/guidance.

In-Kind Supporter, given to a professional or company that provides in-kind support to single or multiple nonprofit organizations through any type of non-financial contributions.

Corporate Volunteer of the Year, given to a for-profit non-executive volunteer who demonstrates outstanding dedication to a nonprofit or multiple nonprofit organizations. Active volunteerism can be ongoing or linked to a specific single project or cause.

Lifetime Achievement, given to an individual who over his/her lifetime has made significant contributions of time, treasure and talent to helping improve our community through his/her work in the nonprofit community.

Nonprofit Award categories are:

Nonprofit Organization of the Year, given to a nonprofit organization (not an individual) in recognition of creativity and innovation in building a sustainable organization, excellence in teamwork, an outstanding dedication to the organization’s mission in the community, and organizational excellence in management and operations. The award is given to both a small and large organization.

Nonprofit Collaboration of the Year, which recognizes a collaborative project that encompasses developed collaborative relationships with other nonprofit organizations, engagement of multiple stakeholders, within the community being served and innovation in approaching a community problem or issue. The winner will have leveraged these relationships to make even more meaningful impact in the community. Note: since this award recognizes a project that may involve multiple organizations or individuals, it may be “awarded” to more than one part of the project in recognition of their contributions.

• Nonprofit Executive of the Year, given to a nonprofit leader who demonstrates vision and innovation in advancing the mission of the nonprofit, extensive involvement in a nonprofit and/or creativity in bringing new resources and opportunities to the nonprofit.

• Social Enterprise, which recognizes a nonprofit organization that demonstrates creative application of the principles of social enterprise in the operation and funding of the organization.

Nominations can be completed online and are due by Monday, Aug. 31. Self-nominations will also be accepted.

Nominations will be vetted by a committee composed of BizTimes editorial team members and nonprofit advisors.

This year’s award winners will be saluted during a Nov. 5 breakfast at Potawatomi Hotel & Casino. More information on the event can be found here.

In addition to Potawatomi Hotel & Casino, award program sponsors include PNC Bank, M3 Insurance and TEC.

To see a list of last year’s award winners, visit

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BizTimes Media 2015 Giving Guide
August 28, 2015 11:25 AM
BizTimes Media’s fifth annual Giving Guide serves the region’s business community as a vehicle to engage with area nonprofit organizations and discover opportunities for philanthropic involvement.

The Giving Guide features the missions, fundraising efforts, and giving opportunities of more than 50 regional nonprofits filling a diversity of needs.

To view BizTimes’ Giving Guide, visit

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Nonprofit Calendar
August 28, 2015 11:27 AM

*Tuesday, Sept. 1, the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network Greater Milwaukee Chapter will hold its bi-monthly Nonprofit Resource Exchange at Teach for America, located at 700 W. Virginia, Suite 610, in Milwaukee. The event presents nonprofit representatives a forum to discuss industry best practices and workplace challenges as well as brainstorm solutions for those challenges. The event will run from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. All attendees are expected to actively participate in the conversation. For more information or to register, click here.

*Wednesday, Sept. 2, the Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation will hold a social and professional development event for women in business. The “Strong Women Strong Coffee” event, part of a quarterly series, allows women entrepreneurs to connect, learn how to refresh their business and tap into the expertise of guest speakers. The next event’s guest speaker will be Ana Lopez, president and owner of Allcon Construction. The event will run from 7:30 to 9 a.m. at WWBIC Milwaukee, located at 1533 N. RiverCenter Drive in Milwaukee. Cost is $10. For more information or to register, click here.

*Thursday, Sept. 3, East Town Association will wrap up its “Jazz in the Park” concert series. The final free outdoor concert, presented by Boston Store and Columbia St. Mary’s, will run from 5 to 9 p.m. in Cathedral Square in downtown Milwaukee. The music will kick off at 6 p.m. with a happy hour scheduled for 5 p.m. The series will close out with “Bill Bonifas & Legends of Milwaukee Jazz.” For more information on “Jazz in the Park,” visit

*Wednesday, Sept. 9, Literacy Services of Wisconsin will hold a volunteer orientation for individuals wanting more information on volunteer opportunities with the organization. Attendees will learn more about the center’s variety of programs and ways they can become involved. The orientation is scheduled to run from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at Literacy Services of Wisconsin, located at 555 N. Plankinton Avenue in downtown Milwaukee. For more information on the orientation, visit

*Saturday, Sept. 12, Habitat for Humanity’s Milwaukee chapter will hold a volunteer orientation for individuals interested in giving their time to the organization. Attendees will learn about volunteer opportunities in construction, ReStores and youth programs. Additional volunteer opportunities are available specifically for young professionals. The orientation will run from 9 to 10 a.m. at Habitat for Humanity’s office, located at 3726 N. Booth Street in Milwaukee. Space is limited, and attendees should register in advance. For more information, click here.

*Thursday, Sept. 17, the Nonprofit Center of Milwaukee will hold a workshop focused on what it takes to launch a nonprofit. The workshop, titled “Starting a Nonprofit: Legal Issues and Documents,” will educate attendees about necessary forms attached to nonprofit organizations and specific bylaws that need to be created. The workshop will be presented by Jacqueline Boynton, an attorney at Boynton Law Offices. The workshop will run from 9 a.m. to noon at the Nonprofit Center, located at 2819 W. Highland Boulevard in Milwaukee. Cost is $70. The Nonprofit Center encourages attendees to first attend a related start-up workshop, “To Be or Not to Be.” For more information, click here.

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Erica Breunlin BizTimes Nonprofit Weekly is compiled by BizTimes Milwaukee reporter Erica Breunlin. This bulletin is published every Friday morning. Send news tips to or call her at (414) 336-7121.

Nonprofit Resource List

» Association of Fundraising Professionals Southeastern Wisconsin Chapter (AFP)
» BizTimes Nonprofit Directory
» BizTimes Nonprofit Giving Guide
» Board Star
» CCB, Inc.
» Donors Forum of Wisconsin
» Leading Transitions, LLC
» MKE 123
» Nonprofit Center of Milwaukee, Inc.
» Nonprofit Management Fund
» Tri-Adathon
» University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Nonprofit Management Center
» The Volunteer Center of Greater Milwaukee
» Wisconsin Nonprofits Association
» Young Nonprofit Professionals Network (YNPN) Milwaukee Chapter


» Greater Milwaukee Foundation
» Helen Bader Foundation
» Northwestern Mutual Foundation
» The Faye McBeath Foundation
» Next Door Foundation
» The Bradley Foundation

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