Friday, July 18, 2014
Milwaukee nonprofit formation exceeds aggregate revenue growth
July 18, 2014 09:38 AM
The number of nonprofit organizations in the Greater Milwaukee area has grown over the past two decades, but each now has a smaller piece of the revenue pie, according to a new report from the Milwaukee-based Public Policy Forum.

The report, “Give and You Will Receive: An analysis of nonprofit revenue trends and charitable giving in Greater Milwaukee,” analyzed revenues and contributions at public charities in the four-county Milwaukee Metropolitan Statistical Area from 1989 to 2011 (the most recent data available).

“On the whole, it is reassuring to find that the nonprofit sector has expanded considerably in the past 25 years and that the philanthropic contributions that support it have similarly increased,” said Phillip Laper, the Forum’s 2013-14 Norman N. Gill Fellow and lead author of the report. “At the same time, policymakers and civic leaders should heed the concerns raised by our analysis regarding the ability of individual nonprofit organizations to maintain an appropriate scale in the face of growing competition for funding.”

The report found that total revenue for public charities in the area was $3.68 billion in 2011, up 134 percent from 1989. Contributions were up 193 percent to $1.86 billion during that span. At the same time, the number of public charities increased from 824 to 2,333, a 183 percent jump.

Meanwhile, the size of the average organization in terms of revenue has decreased by 17 percent since 1989. According to the report, this is because new organizations have formed faster than the total revenue has grown.

“As more organizations compete for funding, the amount received by each organization falls,” the report said. “Whereas in 1989 the average nonprofit had revenues of $1.9 million, that figure declined steadily to $1.57 million by 2011.”

The report found that increasing contributions can be linked to rising incomes and growing asset prices. According to the PPF’s model, a 1 percent increase in the value of the S&P 500 drives a 0.51 percent increase in charitable contributions.

On the other hand, income tax hikes decrease the rate of charitable contributions. A 1 percent higher income tax means local public charities can expect 0.38 percent fewer contributions.

The diminished per-organization revenues demonstrated in the report could have a detrimental effect on the administration of large-scale nonprofit programs, the report said.

“The downward trend in per-organization revenues also raises questions about nonprofit capacity,” says Laper. “As organizations experience falling revenues and scale back the scope of their services, some programs may be eliminated, leaving portions of the population who are unable to secure those services in the for-profit sector with limited options.”

The full report is available here.

comment »

LeVar Burton to keynote SHARP Literacy fundraiser
July 18, 2014 09:18 AM
Taking the podium at SHARP Literacy, Inc.’s 2014 “A Novel Event” will be LeVar Burton, an Emmy Award-winning actor, producer, director and author who shares the nonprofit’s drive to engage urban children in reading.

The fundraising event, in its 13th year, is scheduled for Monday, Sept. 22, from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at The Pfister Hotel in downtown Milwaukee. Proceeds collected will help fund the delivery of SHARP Literacy’s foundational literacy program to elementary school students in 38 struggling schools in Milwaukee.

Keynote speaker Burton gained fame as host and executive producer of PBS’s Reading Rainbow, an educational TV program for kids that was recognized with more than 200 broadcast awards over its run.

“Each year, we try to choose a keynote speaker that really has had an impact on literacy and reading on a national level,” said Lynda Kohler, president and CEO of SHARP Literacy.

To continue his passion of teaching kids how to read, Burton has created RRKidz, a reading and exploration platform and company that piques kids’ interest in reading through their digital devices. He has also created a “Reading Rainbow” application for children ages 3-9 as well as a Kickstarter campaign. Through the campaign, Burton hopes to be able to develop a new “Reading Rainbow” program that functions on all platforms as well as raise enough funds to donate the program’s educational materials to schools in need.

According to Kohler, Burton’s new programming falls in line with the theme of the 2014 “A Novel Event”: “The age of 21st century learning is upon us.”

“Digital learning, such as RRKidtz and the new ‘Reading Rainbow’ program is another pathway to literacy, and we support LeVar’s efforts to bring ‘Reading Rainbow’ to every classroom,” she said. “At SHARP Literacy, our program focuses on integrating visual arts and hands-on learning into the classroom, inspiring a lifelong love of reading. Together, our literacy programs provide new avenues for learning and encourage more children to become better readers.”

Last year’s keynote speaker was retired Green Bay Packer Donald Driver, who has authored a collection of children’s book.

Individual tickets for “A Novel Event” cost $100. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit

BizTimes Media is serving as the media sponsor of the event.

comment »

Zachariah’s Acres breaks ground on barn
July 18, 2014 09:40 AM
Zachariah’s Acres celebrated the groundbreaking of Zachariah’s Acres Barn on Thursday while also celebrating progress made on Phase I-A of its capital campaign.

The Oconomowoc-based nonprofit serves children with special needs and their families by hosting events, activities and recreation on its acres of natural land.

The organization’s barn, located on its Oconomowoc grounds, will act as a multi-purpose building, housing space for workshops, crafts and learning opportunities. The barn will hold up to 50 individuals at once.

Outdoors, the barn will feature an attached, open-air pavilion that can accommodate 90 people. The pavilion will primarily serve as a setting for special events designed for children with special needs and their families.

The barn represents the last element of Phase I-A of the nonprofit organization’s capital campaign, which so far has collected $550,000. A portion of the funds have gone toward improvements to the nonprofit’s site, including attention to public road utilities, well, septic, private drive and parking lot.

The barn is expected to be ready for use this fall and will complete Phase I-A. An additional fundraising push will propel the overall capital campaign to $1 million.

“We at Zachariah’s Acres are excited to serve our special needs constituents more frequently because of our Phase 1-A development,” said Terry Bartowitz, president of the nonprofit. “Our multi-purpose barn will also allow us to further engage the community. On behalf of Zachariah’s Acres, thank you to the volunteers, businesses, nonprofit partners, churches and foundations who have helped provide accessibility, inclusion, recreation and learning opportunities for our very special guests.”

comment »

Selig family donates $2.5 million to Sojourner Family Peace Center
July 18, 2014 09:43 AM
The Selig family has gifted $2.5 million to Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, to be used toward the Sojourner Family Peace Center in Milwaukee.

The Peace Center, a 78,000-square foot facility that will cost about $21.2 million, is scheduled to open in 2016. It will offer services aimed at domestic abuse victims through both a child advocacy center and a family justice center.

The center, at 619 W. Walnut St. in Milwaukee, will include a shelter for victims, a law enforcement services space, medical and social services, legal services, district attorney services, mental health and AODA counseling, job training and faith-based services.

"The new center will end the splintered approach that has made it difficult for battered women and abused children to receive needed care and bring their abuser to justice," said Carmen Pitre, executive director, Sojourner Family Peace Center.

A state grant of $10.6 million was awarded to the project in June 2013, and the private sector will fund the remaining amount.

Bud Selig co-founded the Child Abuse Prevention Fund in 1987, which offers financial support for primary child abuse prevention projects across the state. The Seligs' gift to the Sojourner Family Peace Center will be used to expand prevention, identification and treatment of child abuse; professional and community education; child trauma therapy; foster children health screenings; and Project Ujima, which focuses on youth abuse victims' needs. It will also incorporate the Child Abuse Prevention Fund and a Child Abuse Pediatrics Fellowship Program.

"The Selig family has made a profound impact by providing a voice for many of Milwaukee's most vulnerable children and families in our community," said Peggy Troy, chief executive officer, Children's Hospital of Wisconsin. "We are so grateful for the Seligs' long-standing dedication, which allows us to ensure children in Milwaukee and other parts of the state receive the best care possible and gives hope to families and children who are victims of domestic abuse."

"Children and families for generations will benefit from the work done by Children's Hospital and Sojourner to prevent and treat domestic abuse,” said Gov. Scott Walker. “We are committed to helping our most vulnerable citizens, which is why we included over $10 million in the most recent budget to partner with Children's Hospital and Sojourner on this project. The Selig family's generosity brings further attention and funding to this issue and is a wonderful gift to our community."

comment »

Milwaukee College Prep buys Northside YMCA for $5 million
July 18, 2014 09:45 AM
M.C. Preparatory School of Wisconsin Inc., an affiliate of Milwaukee College Prep, a K-8 public charter school, recently purchased the Northside YMCA at 1350 W. North Ave., Milwaukee, for $5 million, according to state records.

Milwaukee College Prep will take over the school at the Northside YMCA.

It will lease the fitness and recreation portion of the facility back to the YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee Inc., which is selling the facility to Milwaukee College Prep. The YMCA will continue to operate the fitness and recreation portion of the facility.

The YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee recently filed for bankruptcy and plans to sell most of its real estate assets to eliminate nearly $30 million in debt.

This will be the fourth campus for Milwaukee College Prep. The others are at: 2449 N. 36th St., 2623 N. 38th St. and 1228 W. Lloyd St. Milwaukee College Prep has an enrollment of more than 1,400 students.

comment »

Kessenich is interim CEO of WRTP
July 18, 2014 09:46 AM
The Wisconsin Regional Training Partnership (WRTP/Big Step) recently announced that Mark Kessenich has been named interim president and chief executive officer.

Kessenich has held the position of vice president at WRTP/Big Step since 2012 and succeeds Earl Buford after more than 15 years of service to the organization. Buford was recently appointed president and CEO of the Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment Board by Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.
"We are grateful to Earl for his leadership, vision, and his ability to help us navigate through the many changes in workforce development over the past decade," said Mike Fabishak, co-chair of the WRTP/Big Step board of directors. "Earl is a leader in the truest sense of the term, and because of that he is leaving the organization in very capable hands."
The board is beginning a national search for Bufford’s permanent replacement.
In 2013, WRTP/Big Step exceeded its workforce goals by serving 1862 people, placing 743 into careers with an average hourly wage of $17.

"I'm honored to be named WRTP/Big Step’s interim president and CEO, and to continue working toward our mission," Kessenich said. "We have tremendous industry partners who are committed to building the most skilled, qualified, and diverse workforce in the world. Through their support and leadership, we are able to connect our new workforce to family-supporting careers, and position our current workforce to help our industries compete and grow."

comment »

Gifts propel Marquette to build new Jesuit Residence
July 18, 2014 09:54 AM
Marquette University has received two new $1 million gifts, which marks the completion of a nine-month, $15 million fundraising effort to build a new 40,000 square-foot on-campus residence for its community of Jesuit priests.

The Bernice Shanke Greiveldinger Charitable Trust made one major gift, and another came from an anonymous Marquette alumnus and his wife.

On Monday, Marquette President Michael Lovell announced plans to break ground on the new Jesuit Residence with a celebration for the Marquette community on Friday, Aug. 15.

“In my short time on campus, I’ve already been amazed at the generosity and passion of our Marquette University alumni base,” Lovell said. “Our Catholic, Jesuit priests have been instrumental in educating so many generations of students, and this important residence will ensure they remain at the center of our campus and educational experience well into the future.”   

Shanke Greiveldinger, who died on March 27, 2008, in Milwaukee, was born to a train engineer and a German immigrant in a blue-collar Milwaukee neighborhood less than two miles from Marquette University’s campus. She graduated from Marquette’s School of Journalism in 1942. She worked for 43 years at the then Milwaukee Journal in the advertising department.

“We have always been impressed by the remarkable effect the Jesuits have had upon our country, and in particular in ethnic, blue-collar communities,” said Geoffrey Greiveldinger, trustee of the Greiveldinger Charitable Trust. “Jesuit priests are at the heart of a Catholic, Jesuit education, so having a Jesuit Residence in the heart of the Marquette campus is as symbolic as it is fitting. The Bernice Shanke Greiveldinger Charitable Trust is honored to be able to help create a new home for Marquette’s Jesuit community.”

The anonymous alumnus noted that Marquette has been a part of his family since the late 1940s.

“The Jesuits have done a wonderful job fostering an environment that combines furthering each individual’s Christian faith with an excellent education and the development of character,” the alumnus benefactor said. “As a family, we are happy to make this gift to help Marquette and the Jesuits’ future, which may include many of our great-grandchildren.”

The new Jesuit Residence will be flanked by the Alumni Memorial Union and Schroeder Hall, and will be located on the 1400 block of West Wells Street. The five-story building, which will be designed by Kubala Washatko Architects, will feature 25 resident rooms and five guest rooms, as well as a chapel and garden space. The current Jesuit Residence will eventually be torn down to increase green space on campus.

Marquette’s Jesuit community is engaged in public works of service to the university and additional ministries in Milwaukee, including teaching, research and administration.

In March, alumni couple Ray and Kay Eckstein donated $5 million for the Jesuit Residence through their charitable trust, and in January an anonymous benefactor earmarked $7.5 million of a $10 million gift for the project.

comment »

BizTimes Media 2014 Giving Guide
July 18, 2014 09:57 AM
BizTimes Media’s fourth annual Giving Guide offers southeastern Wisconsin’s business community an outlet to connect with area nonprofit organizations for philanthropic involvement.

The Giving Guide features the missions, volunteer opportunities and giving opportunities of more than 30 regional nonprofits providing a spectrum of services and resources to residents in need.

Explore BizTimes’ Giving Guide at

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