Friday, August 28, 2015
Kahler Slater supports Hunger Task Force through two-year partnership
August 21, 2015 10:27 AM
Milwaukee-based Kahler Slater is donating the time and talents of its employee base to Hunger Task Force through a partnership it has established with the nonprofit organization.

The partnership, to extend for two years, aligns with Kahler Slater’s company-wide focus on corporate philanthropy and its value in community investment.

“One of Kahler Slater’s core values is community; we strive to enrich life by serving our communities,” said Alison Buczek, senior marketing coordinator and associate at Kahler Slater.

The design firm’s partnership with Hunger Task Force, which provides food to individuals and families in need, was effective in February, when Kahler Slater launched a peanut butter drive that collected more than 120 jars of peanut butter for the organization.

Since then, Kahler Slater employees have taken time to give back to the organization through company-organized events. Earlier this month, the firm held a “Day of Caring,” during which Milwaukee office staff members helped harvest crops and wash produce, among other volunteer tasks, at the Hunger Task Force Farm in Franklin.

“Without the help of businesses like Kahler Slater who realize the importance of feeding local families, Hunger Task Force would not be able to operate a farm and replace canned fruits and vegetables with healthy, fresh produce,” Sherrie Tussler, executive director of Hunger Task Force, said in a statement.

In June, company volunteers participated in a Stockbox build, and in May they sorted 13,000 pounds of food for the organization.

“Hunger Task Force is an organization that impacts our entire community,” said George Meyer, chief executive officer of Kahler Slater. “Through volunteerism and charitable giving on a longer term basis, our office can make a measurable impact and raise awareness to generate much needed support.”

Among the philanthropic highlights of the partnership ahead, Kahler Slater plans to facilitate a holiday food drive starting in November to help stock the nonprofit’s warehouse. In a similar approach to past events, the company will extend an invitation to its staff members’ families and friends, vendors, contractors, consultants and community partners.

“It’s beyond just the staff here,” Buczek said.

Parallel to the Milwaukee office’s civic efforts, Kahler Slater’s Madison and Singapore offices have selected hunger-focused organizations to back with their workforces. In Madison, Kahler Slater employees are devoting time, talent and funds to Hunger Task Force’s sister organization, the Community Action Coalition.

As a whole, Kahler Slater sought to focus on one core community need across the three markets where it has a presence. The firm pinpointed hunger as a key need in its communities after an evaluation process led by its Community Committee and then designated specific organizations to serve with input from staff.

Kahler Slater previously partnered with Habitat for Humanity. The firm also contributes regularly to the United Performing Arts Fund’s campaign and United Way’s campaign.

comment »

Philanthropic Impact & Insight: Has fundraising failed?
August 21, 2015 10:31 AM

Why can’t nonprofits retain donors? That question was raised recently at the AFP’s Fundraising Day in Wisconsin by a panel of national experts. A panel comprised of Laura Fredricks, Adrian Sargent, Karen Osborne and Stacy Wedding were chiefly concerned how nonprofits can’t keep donors.

Laura Fredricks says both nationally and internationally, “We are churning donors…we need to find out where we’re loosing them.”  The real issue is not just stewarding donors; but also taking care of new donors to who fall off at alarming rates after a first gift.

Adrian Sargent put it this way, “As a sector, we have honed our skills at very successfully recruiting people who will never support our organization again.” Sargent says nonprofits loose about 70% of donors between the first and second year, according to the fundraising effectiveness project. We’re driving donors away!

Having worked in the nonprofit sector for over 30 years, this seems like a lingering problem. In public radio in the 1980’s we certainly paid more attention to acquiring new donors than keeping the old ones.  

In direct mail school (which I attended in the 90’s) we were taught to set aside a portion of our budget every year for new acquisitions to compensate for the donor fall out. Once a donor gives they usually won’t hear from us again until we send another ask. In fact, we often bombard them with messages about our need—not their interest or connection to the organization.

Sargent suggested that, “We need to think in a smarter way about the kinds of people we bring into our organizations. We need to bring in the right kind of people who care passionately about the work we do.”

Karen Osborne echoed, “I’m worried about donor retention.”  Osborne points out seven-figure donors start with small gifts and you have to pay attention. “As that $10, $25, $100 donor walks out the door, there is that possibility they’re the next $10-million donor that we just let go.”  Osborne adds, that donor hasn’t stopped giving they’re just giving down the road.

Both Osborne and Stacy Wedding underscored that building donor retention and loyalty lead to planned gifts.  Wedding reminded us we’re on the verge of an intergenerational transfer of wealth of “…about $41 trillion, and that $6-25 trillion of that will be given to charity, according to a Boston College Report released in June. “

In this environment, the panel stressed it’s more important than ever to treat donors well. Fundraisers need to increase retention by paying better attention to donors interests, passions and needs and treating everyone as a major donor.

If fundraisers have failed at retention over the years, the incentive now is greater than ever. With the transfer of wealth from baby boomers, cultivating donors who give even small gifts has the potential to land that seven-figure transformational gift.

With so much at stake, retention is something fundraisers can no longer afford to fail at.

Peter Zehren is vice president of communications for the AFP SEWI and chief development officer at the Alma Center, Inc.

comment »

Milwaukee Succeeds reaps $5M from community organizations
August 21, 2015 10:34 AM
Five cornerstone community organizations are sewing their dollars together to support Milwaukee Succeeds' vision of improving educational outcomes for every student in Milwaukee.

The organizations – Bader Philanthropies, Greater Milwaukee Foundation, Herb Kohl Charities, Northwestern Mutual Foundation, and United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County – have formed a funding collaborative with a promise to gift $5 million to Milwaukee Succeeds over the next four years.

Now almost 4 years old, the “cradle-to-career” community education initiative works to allocate resources to high-impact strategies that will enhance the education kids receive. Milwaukee Succeeds, steered by the Greater Milwaukee Foundation, is anchored by four broad goals that touch key stages of childhood development. Those goals cover kindergarten readiness, school readiness, career readiness, and social and emotional health.

Since its inception, the community initiative has made advancements in 10 of 11 educational benchmarks, including increasing the number of kids who are properly immunized, boosting proficiency rates in reading and math, improving students’ ACT composite scores, and upping the number of young adults who complete associate’s degrees and bachelor’s degrees.

That progress is detailed in Milwaukee Succeeds' 2015 Milestone Report.

The initiative is now eyeing a set of goals to accomplish by 2020, which dollars from the new funding collaborative will aid.

The commitment shown by the new funding collaborative is an “unprecedented” one, Danae Davis, executive director of Milwaukee Succeeds, said in a press release.

“It validates what more than 400 volunteer leaders, coordinators, mentors and tutors are working toward – changing our children’s future and putting them first,” Davis said.

Among its future objectives, Milwaukee Succeeds aims to rank among the top cities for 3rd grade reading. With collaborative funds, Milwaukee Succeeds organizers will largely focus on rolling out pilot strategies that address systemic change.

“Milwaukee Succeeds and our partners are implementing strategies that are making impressive gains in reading skills in pilot programs at schools across sectors,” Davis said. “With a better understanding of what is working and what is holding us back, we are building the support needed to embed these strategies in our education delivery system and scale them community-wide.”

Year-after-year commitments will be made by the collaborative following annual reviews that assess performance metrics.

Milwaukee Succeeds is co-chaired by Jackie Herd-Barber, a board member of the Greater Milwaukee Foundation;  Michael Lovell, Ph.D., president of Marquette University; and John Schlifske, chairman and chief executive officer of Milwaukee-based Northwestern Mutual.

comment »

New awards program recognizes workers who have overcome employment barriers
August 21, 2015 10:36 AM
With a vision to honor Wisconsin employees who have persevered through significant employment barriers, the first annual Wisconsin Job Honor Awards is calling for award nominations.

The inaugural awards program will also recognize Wisconsin employers who have invested in individuals facing challenges to employment.

Wisconsin’s Job Honor Awards are part of a growing national program backed by Milwaukee-based ManpowerGroup. The program took flight last year in Iowa, saluting employees with physical and mental disabilities, criminal backgrounds, language struggles, long-term unemployment and other employment difficulties.

“Our society celebrates lottery winners, movie starts and professional athletes,” Kyle Horn, founder and director of America’s Job Honor Awards, said in a press release. “We rarely hear inspiring stories of individuals whose lives are transformed through the hard work and perseverance that leads to meaningful employment. It’s time for a new kind of hero.”

Wisconsin awards will be presented to winners during a Feb. 23 ceremony at Monona Terrace Community & Convention Center in Madison. The event, hosted by Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, will be held on the night before its annual Business Day in Madison.

Employee honorees will be given $500 each while winners in both the employee and employer categories will be recognized with engraved awards.

Nominations, due by Oct. 15, can be submitted at

comment »

Nominate business leaders, nonprofits for Excellence Awards
August 21, 2015 10:38 AM
BizTimes Media is accepting nominations for its second annual Nonprofit Excellence Awards program, which applauds 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 to 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, (under 40 year-old) executive who 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 in 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 for creativity and innovation in building a sustainable organization excellence in teamwork and an outstanding dedication to the organization’s mission in the community 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 and have leveraged these relationships to make and 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

comment »

BizTimes Media 2015 Giving Guide
August 21, 2015 10:42 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

comment »

Nonprofit Calendar
August 21, 2015 10:43 AM

*Thursday, Aug. 27, East Town Association will bring live music to downtown Milwaukee through its “Jazz in the Park” concert series. The free outdoor concert series, presented by Boston Store and Columbia St. Mary’s, is held in Cathedral Square each Thursday. Concerts run from 5 to 9 p.m. The music kicks off at 6 p.m. with a happy hour scheduled for 5 p.m. The next event will feature “Altered Five” blues band, renowned for blues and soul. “Jazz in the Park” runs through Thursday, Sept. 3. For more information on the series, visit

*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. 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.

comment »

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

Current Issue