BrightStar Wisconsin Foundation opens headquarters

The BrightStar Wisconsin Foundation, a groundbreaking philanthropic approach to supporting job creation and economic growth statewide through investment in early-stage companies, on Tuesday announced the opening of a Milwaukee office that will serve as its headquarters.


Zilber Property Group, a supporter of BrightStar’s approach, has provided the space in its Empire Building at the corner of Plankinton and Wisconsin Avenues in Milwaukee.

The foundation also announced the hiring of its first two employees. Todd Sobotka will serve as the foundation’s portfolio manager. He is the co-founder and owner of multiple companies and served most recently as venture track program director at BizStarts Milwaukee. Fred Raasch will serve as business manager. Raasch was most recently a self-employed marketing consultant.

The foundation’s two new hires will join chief executive officer Tom Shannon at BrightStar’s new headquarters.

The foundation anticipates hiring additional staff when it receives a determination letter from the Internal Revenue Service formally recognizing its tax-exempt status.

“We asked the BrightStar team how we could help ensure their success and providing them office space in our Empire Building seemed to be the first easy step for us,” said Jim Borris, president of Zilber Ltd. “Zilber Ltd. is committed to advancing our economy both in Milwaukee and statewide. We see BrightStar Wisconsin as an innovative approach that will have a significant impact on those efforts.”

“This contribution by the Zilber Property Group will allow us to direct an even higher percentage of donor dollars to our mission of investing in early-stage companies to fuel job creation,” said Jeff Harris, BrightStar Wisconsin’s co-founder and chairman. “With the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.’s grant commitment to us for staffing and Zilber’s contribution of significant office space, the BrightStar Wisconsin Foundation will be able to invest nearly all of our assets in job creation across Wisconsin.”

The nonprofit BrightStar Wisconsin Foundation is using a philanthropic approach to support job creation and economic growth across Wisconsin through investment in early-stage companies.

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