Friday, July 24, 2015
BizTimes seeks nominations for Nonprofit Excellence Awards
July 24, 2015 11:07 AM
BizTimes Media has opened the call for nominations for its second annual Nonprofit Excellence Awards program, which celebrates both the philanthropic accomplishments of area business leaders and strides made by nonprofits.

The awards applaud excellence in philanthropy and nonprofit leadership. Last year’s inaugural 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 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

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Milwaukee Institute to expand offerings with $750,000 WEDC grant
July 24, 2015 11:10 AM
The Milwaukee Institute, a nonprofit computational research center, will add to its computing offerings and facilitate more training courses with a $750,000 grant it has received from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.

Grant funds will support the center’s resources related to advanced modeling, simulation, visualization and data analytics software along with training courses relevant to technical software engineering.

Funds will benefit engineers, entrepreneurs and researchers wanting to sharpen their applied technical software engineering skills, boost their innovation efforts, become better versed in applied data science and contribute to the engineering of new products and services.

The Milwaukee Institute largely functions to support the region’s technology-focused industrial clusters, including the Global Water Center, Midwest Energy Research Consortium, BioForward, Food and Beverage Wisconsin, and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Innovation Accelerator. The center also coaches incubators and accelerators, such as The Commons, WARD4, BREW, GlobalECollective, VETransfer, WERCBench Labs and BizStarts.

“Supporting key clusters such as water technology, energy, food and beverage, and bioscience is a key part of WEDC’s long-term strategy of helping businesses grow and create new jobs,” Reed Hall, secretary and chief executive officer of WEDC, said in an announcement. “The enabling technologies, digital expertise and software engineering expertise of the Milwaukee Institute are considered critical to successful execution of that strategy.”

The recent grant is the second that the Milwaukee Institute has garnered from WEDC. The economic development organization previously pledged $250,000 toward a challenge grant program that gave $50,000 to five Wisconsin companies to help them accelerate their commercial research and development programs.

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Kohl extends Boys & Girls Clubs summer programs with $500,000 gift
July 24, 2015 11:13 AM
Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee will extend its summer programming for thousands of area youth after receiving a $500,000 donation from former Senator Herb Kohl.

The donation, announced during a press conference on Tuesday, will allow the nonprofit organization to keep 36 of its clubs operating through August, according to Vincent Lyles, president and chief executive officer.

Of those clubs, 30 sites will remain open through Friday, Aug. 14, and six will operate through Friday, Aug. 28.

This summer is the first that the organization has been able to elongate its youth programming, Lyles said.

When Boys & Girls Clubs kicked off summer programming, it had 40 clubs open. Without Kohl’s donation, the organization would have been able to continue running 14 clubs through the end of summer.

Kohl has been a “longtime supporter” of Boys & Girls Clubs, according to Lyles. In addition to supporting the organization’s focus on education during his term as senator, he was also active with the nonprofit when he owned the Milwaukee Bucks, donating game tickets to Boys & Girls Clubs students.

“I think Senator Kohl appreciates our rich history and our commitment to excellence around supporting kids,” Lyles said.

“I think he saw us as a logical partner for this,” Lyles said of Kohl’s support for the nonprofit’s summer programming.

The $500,000 gift will back the organization’s full-day activities for more than 5,000 kids age 5 through 18, activities including visual arts programming, music lessons, sports, college preparation, career exploration and community fieldtrips.

“We want to make sure that kids are safe and healthy and being academically enriched throughout the entire summer,” Lyles said.

Kids benefiting from Boys & Girls Clubs summer programming also receive meals through the organization with help from partners Hunger Task Force and Milwaukee Public Schools. More than 70,000 meals will be served to students during the summer extension period.

“I believe Boys & Girls Clubs are a valuable resource for our city, and I am happy to be able to contribute to the enrichment and safety of local youth for the entire summer,” Kohl said in a statement.

Earlier this year, Kohl was recognized at the Boys & Girls Clubs’ MVP Salute to Youth event for his continued support of the organization and advocacy work on its behalf.

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Milwaukee Art Museum will make offer to buy O’Donnell Park
July 24, 2015 11:15 AM
Milwaukee Art Museum director Dan Keegan on Tuesday told members of the Milwaukee County Board’s Parks, Energy and Environment Committee that the museum plans to submit an offer to purchase the O’Donnell Park parking structure and park, located just west of the museum.

Keegan said the museum hopes to have a deal in place by September to purchase the property from Milwaukee County.

County Board Chairwoman Marina Dimitrijevic and Supervisor Gerry Broderick, chairman of the Parks, Energy and Environment Committee, said that they were encouraged by the Milwaukee Art Museum’s plans.

“This public-to-public partnership is an idea that greatly benefits the public and the Milwaukee Art Museum,” Dimitrijevic said. “I am highly encouraged by the testimony of MAM officials regarding their continued interest and the feasibility of an agreement. The residents of Milwaukee County want to see this proposal move forward to preserve valuable open park space while proposing the kind of visual enhancements that only the MAM can offer.”

Last year the County Board rejected an offer by Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co. to buy the O’Donnell Park property for $12.7 million. The company had pledged to make more than $6 million in immediate repairs and make additional improvements to the park space.

Some supervisors, including Broderick, opposed selling a park property to a private business. Opponents of the sale said selling the park property would set a bad precedent for the county. Some said the proposed sale price was too low and that the lack of a deed restriction for the southern portion of the property meant that portion of the park lacks adequate protection from future development.

In March, County Board members announced that they would consider selling the O’Donnell Park parking structure and park to the art museum. O’Donnell Park is important to the Art Museum because about 60 percent of its visitors park there and the museum’s pedestrian bridge connects to the park.

Broderick said that linking the Art Museum and the park was a matter of common sense.

“Many people who visit the Milwaukee Art Museum park at the O’Donnell Park garage,” Broderick said. “One can only imagine how the park would look with the vision of the Art Museum fully engaged in creating a beautiful new public space. The park could truly become the gateway to Milwaukee’s lakefront.”

Dimitrijevic said creating a public-to-public partnership would guarantee the public will have access to O’Donnell Park’s open space for years to come.

“This proposed agreement would bring real value to the community by enhancing open space and creating new beauty in the park,” she said. “I am encouraged by the progress made so far. This is a bold and necessary conversation on the lakefront’s future, and these talks are moving forward. Because the Milwaukee Art Museum is our community partner, we look forward to creating a public-to-public partnership that creates a spectacular new vista that will enhance the lakefront for decades.”

The county still owes about $6 million on the 1,332-square-foot space O’Donnell parking structure, which was built in 1993. The structure needs $1.3 million in repairs to its roof. County officials have been debating how to improve and best utilize the facility going forward.

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Bublr Bikes to add 36 more stations by mid-2016
July 24, 2015 11:18 AM
Bublr Bikes, the City of Milwaukee and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee on Monday announced plans to add 36 new bike sharing station locations, that are proposed to be added to the existing 11-station Bublr network, by mid-2016.

The proposed new locations include at least 15 scheduled for installation this fall. Locations for the first 15 stations proposed for this year include S. 2nd and W. Washington Streets near Rockwell Automation’s corporate headquarters, a station serving Hillside Terrace (the Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee development) and a second Third Ward station.

The 2015 sites also include six stations scheduled for installation that will serve UWM’s main campus and UWM’s North Avenue Residence Halls.

In addition to the at least 15 stations slated for 2015, the City of Milwaukee and Bublr Bikes are working to secure approvals and funding for 21 stations to be added to the Bublr network beginning in early spring 2016. These 2016 sites include Bradford Beach, N. Martin Luther King Drive and W. Brown Street, Cesar Chavez Drive, the Central Library and the Milwaukee Public Museum.

A map of all of the stations can be found by clicking here.

“This is an exciting time for Milwaukee as we move forward with bike share station expansion,” said Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. “Since the Bublr Bikes launch in 2014, we are steadily reaching out to more Milwaukee neighborhoods so more residents and visitors have the opportunity to bicycle around our city for work, school and play.”

Funding for identified stations comes from a $1.6 million federal Congestion Mitigation Air Quality (CMAQ) grant secured by the City of Milwaukee and nearly $2 million raised privately by Bublr Bikes.

The six University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee stations are being funded by a $300,000 investment from student segregated fees. This funding was approved by UWM’s student senate to provide an easy travel option for the school’s more than 28,000 students.

"The UWM students' effort to bring Bublr to campus is not only one of community investment, but also one of great personal choice for a healthier, more sustainable lifestyle," said Kate Nelson, UWM’s chief sustainability officer.

Bublr Bikes, a Milwaukee-based not-for-profit, plans to eventually expand to more than 100 stations and 1,000 Bublr Bikes in the Milwaukee area.

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Volunteers needed to staff USA Triathlon
July 24, 2015 11:20 AM
With approximately 6,500 athletes set to compete in the 2015 USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships this August, VISIT Milwaukee is calling for volunteers to cover 400 of 800 event shifts.

The national event will run on Saturday, Aug. 8, and Sunday, Aug. 9, as volunteers assist with bag checks, transition supports, bike check-ins and check-outs, course supports and other stations critical to competing athletes’ success.

The triathlon, which Milwaukee has hosted the last two years, is broken down into two competitions. On Saturday, the Olympic Distance National Championship will dominate Milwaukee’s lakefront as athletes complete a 1,500-meter swim, 40-kilometer bike ride and 10-kilometer run. On Sunday, the Sprint National Championship will be held as athletes aim for top speed in a 750-meter swim, 20-kilometer bike ride and 5-kilometer run.

Event volunteers will be trained prior to the weekend. Volunteers are also guaranteed a t-shirt and food during their shifts.

This is the final year Milwaukee will host the USA Triathlon for the foreseeable future. Having a single city host the event for three consecutive years has been "unheard of," said VISIT Milwaukee spokesperson Kristin Settle.

Milwaukee has continuously been selected as the event destination through the "aggressive" efforts of VISIT Milwaukee's sales team, who touted the city's amenities and hotels to USA Triathlon, Settle said.

Along with bringing the event to Milwaukee, VISIT Milwaukee, which acts as the city's tourism bureau, has helped coordinate triathlon locations, media, hotel rooms, restaurants, activities for participants and visitors, course requirements and more.

VISIT Milwaukee anticipates the USA Triathlon will inspire an economic impact of $5.3 million.

It is not clear where the 2016 triathlon will take place.

For more information on volunteer opportunities, click here.

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Northwestern Mutual Foundation donates $1.7 million to literacy programs
July 24, 2015 11:23 AM
Milwaukee-based Northwestern Mutual is pouring $1.7 million into education programs in Milwaukee with a goal of preparing students to read proficiently.

Northwestern Mutual aims to help students hit third grade reading proficiency as more than 84 percent of Milwaukee third-graders struggle to be proficient in reading, according to a statistic the company cited from a 2014 “Milwaukee Succeeds Milestone Report.”

Northwestern Mutual last year honed an education strategy by looking to national research, sponsoring research on evidence-based programs, taking part in pilot programs and consulting advisory councils among others. The company, which is distributing the funds through its foundation, works with area community groups and nonprofit organizations to create effective and scalable education and training models to improve literacy. About half of the $1.7 million will back community collaborations and programs, such as Transformative Reading Instruction, which is conducted in partnership with Milwaukee Succeeds and coaches teachers on reading instruction strategies.

“We want to help the community come together to ensure the success of our future leaders,” John Schlifske, chairman and chief executive officer of Northwestern Mutual and co-chair of Milwaukee Succeeds, said in a press release. “We believe our commitment to education, both through time and financial support, will build measurable results that will improve education in Milwaukee.”

Grant funding will primarily benefit organizations working in Amani, Metcalfe Park and Muskego Way neighborhoods in Milwaukee – the three neighborhoods at the center of Northwestern Mutual’s focus. The areas are also part of the federal Building Neighborhood Capacity Program.

Additionally, grant dollars will support mentoring programs that help students living and studying in Amani, Metcalfe Park and Muskego Way neighborhoods. Northwestern Mutual employees often volunteer to mentor students as part of the company’s philanthropic focus on education.

Grant recipients, who will need to demonstrate the effectiveness of their programming, include: Arts@Large, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee, City Year, COA Youth & Family Centers, First Stage Milwaukee, Marquette University, Milwaukee College Preparatory School, Milwaukee Public Library Foundation, Next Door Foundation, PAVE, Penfield Children’s Center, Schools That Can Milwaukee Inc., SHARP Literacy Inc., St. Marcus Lutheran School, Teach for America, Urban Day School, Milwaukee Succeeds, Carver 5-in-1 Collaborative, Teachtown, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Milwaukee, Notre Dame Middle School, and Unity in Motion.

Funding is divided into a set of categories – program support, community collaboration and mentoring.

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Greater Milwaukee Foundation to help zoo acquire snow leopards
July 24, 2015 11:26 AM
As the Greater Milwaukee Foundation continues to celebrate its centennial year, the foundation will help the Milwaukee County Zoo adopt two snow leopards from Europe.

The zoo will use funding from the foundation to add a male and a female snow leopard to its exhibit in the Florence Mila Borchert Big Cat Country area. The two new animals will join Tomiris, an adult female snow leopard, whose 1-year-old snow leopard cub, Sossy, died unexpectedly in June.

Snow leopards are endangered species, and acquiring two snow leopards with the foundation’s support will help the zoo “continue to play a meaningful part in snow leopard conservation,” zoo director Chuck Wikenhauser said in a statement.

By taking in snow leopards from Europe, the zoo will introduce new genetics to the American population, which helps with the species’ long-term survival.

It is not yet clear when the felines will arrive at their new home as the zoo figures out how to secure necessary permits, determine transportation and fulfill health requirements. The processes will likely take six to 12 months, according to estimates from zoo officials.

“While the impact of this ‘Gift to the Community’ may not be immediate, these two snow leopards will bring joy when they arrive and for many years to come,” said Ellen Gillian, president and chief executive officer of the Greater Milwaukee Foundation.

Over the last three decades, the foundation and its pool of donors have backed the Zoological Society of Milwaukee, the nonprofit that supports the zoo, with more than $1.3 million in grants.

The gift to the zoo is the latest in a series of gifts the foundation has bestowed upon the community in honor of its 100th year. The foundation previously backed a free transit service day for the region and also offered area residents free admission to the Mitchell Park Conservatory.

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BizTimes Media 2015 Giving Guide
July 24, 2015 11:28 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
July 24, 2015 11:29 AM

*Friday, July 24, Capuchins’ Run/Walk for the Hungry will raise funds and collect food for Capuchin Community Services toward its efforts to help poor and homeless residents in Milwaukee. The event features a 2-mile walk through Lakeshore State Park and a 5K run that is chip timed. The event will also include an awards presentation, free admission to German Fest for participants, a $5 food and drink coupon and a two-for-one coupon for addition admission into German Fest. The run/walk is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the south gate of German Fest grounds, 100 N. Harbor Drive in Milwaukee. Registration opens at 5 p.m. Cost varies among the walk and run. Cost is $30 for adult 5K runners and $20 for children. Cost is $25 for adult walkers and $15 for children. For more information, visit

*Thursday, July 30, the Nonprofit Center of Milwaukee will hold a workshop on crowdfunding. The workshop, titled “Crowdfunding: Fundraising Hijacked!” will feature a roundtable discussion on how fundraising has been impacted by online campaigns for causes other than nonprofits. The conversation will also touch on how nonprofits can work to change the context of fundraising’s meaning today. The workshop will be led by Peter Zehren, Zehren Consulting, professional fundraiser and vice president of communications at the Association of Fundraising Professionals Southeastern Wisconsin chapter. The event will run from 9 to 10:30 a.m. at the Nonprofit Center, located at 2819 W. Highland Boulevard in Milwaukee. Cost is $20 for Nonprofit Center members and CDBG and $40 for the general public. For more information or to register, click here.

*Thursday, July 30, East Town Association will continue its “Jazz in the Park” concert series. The free outdoor music series, presented by Boston Store and Columbia St. Mary’s, brings live jazz to Cathedral Square in downtown Milwaukee. Concerts are held each Thursday 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 bring Davina & The Vagabonds to the stage. The group is known for its blues style among other jazz varieties. “Jazz in the Park” runs through Thursday, Sept. 3. For more information on the series, visit

*Tuesday, Aug. 4, the Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation will hold a course that will brief attendees on its menu of resources and services. The free event – titled “What Can WWBIC Do for You?” – will cover the organization’s business education courses and business loans among its other offerings. The event will run from noon to 1 p.m. at WWBIC Racine, located at 245 Main Street in Racine. For more information or to register, 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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