Backed by support from Green Bay Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb, SHARP Literacy’s annual fundraiser on Monday brought in more than $300,000 for the Milwaukee-based nonprofit.
Cobb delivered the keynote at the organization’s “A Novel Event” at the Pfister Hotel in downtown Milwaukee, and announced he and his wife Aiyda were giving $20,000 to the cause.
Cobb stressed the importance of education in his address. Growing up, Cobb said, he did just enough to get by in school, viewing education as simply a vehicle for him to achieve his dream of becoming a professional athlete.
“I didn’t know then that education would have such an impact on my life, but I do now,” he said.
Cobb attended the University of Kentucky, where he played football for five semesters before being drafted by the Packers. He returned to his alma mater to complete his degree last summer and became the first member of his family to graduate from college.
Funds raised at the event will support SHARP Literacy’s educational programming, which serves nearly 9,000 elementary students in 38 schools in Milwaukee and Waukesha counties. Student enrollment in the program has grown 42 percent over the past four years.
Event co-chair Omar Shaikh, president and co-owner of SURG Restaurant Group, presented Jim Mueller, president of Mueller QAAS, with a Literacy Champion Award for his support of the organization. Co-chair Linda Gorens-Levey, partner at General Capital Group, presented Cecelia Gore, executive director of Brewers Community Foundation, with SHARP Literacy’s EDGE Award.