$1 million gift will help 40 Boys & Girls Club students through college

Will provide financial aid, advising, career development support

Keith Mardak, Credit: Hal Leonard Corp.

Last updated on February 10th, 2020 at 11:48 am

Philanthropists Keith Mardak and Mary Vandenberg recently made a $1 million gift to support youth from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee during their high school and college careers.

Mardak, chairman of Hal Leonard Corp., and his wife, Vandenberg,  a former Hal Leonard vice president and current shareholder, are longtime supporters of the Boys & Girls Club. 

The gift will support 40 BGCGM students through four years of high school via the organization’s Graduation Plus program, and through their full college career via All-In Milwaukee’s college completion program.

All-In Milwaukee, which launched in September 2018, combines financial aid, advising and career development support to help Milwaukee students navigate the financial, academic and social challenges of college. All-In Milwaukee will utilize 80% of the gift to support BGCGM students through college.

Since its launch, All-In Milwaukee has received more than $4.5 million in signed commitments from donor partners for scholar support, including this gift of $1 million from Mardak and Vandenberg.

“With record low unemployment in Milwaukee, we recognize the need to invest and grow a pipeline of talent to support the economic boom in southeastern Wisconsin,” Mardak said. “We need a talented, diverse workforce with a post-secondary education, and we need them to feel a connection to our community, so they want to live and work here.  If this is the kind of Milwaukee we want, then we must do things differently. All-In Milwaukee is an innovative and proven model. We can come together to scale this results-driven effort to serve more Clubs students through college and into the Milwaukee workforce.”

As part of the program, All-In Milwaukee identifies BGCGM students that have financial need, high academic achievement and a history of community service and leadership. More than 50 eligible students were identified in the first year through the organization’s Graduation Plus program.

“This new partnership harnesses the combined strengths of both Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee and All-In Milwaukee to achieve a level of impact that could not be accomplished independently,” said Kathy Thornton-Bias, president and chief executive officer of Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee. “Keith and Mary embrace the importance of this collaboration and we could not be more grateful that they have chosen to make a significant investment in our partnership. Their generosity is a game changer for our collective efforts and underscores the value of working together to better position Milwaukee’s youth for great futures.”


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