Greater Milwaukee Foundation opens new office in Waukesha

Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:28 pm

An increase in activity with donors and nonprofit organizations in Waukesha County has jump-started the Greater Milwaukee Foundation to open a new office in the county.
Karen Rogers, the foundation’s business development officer, and Fred Gutierrez, senior program officer, relocated to the Buffalo Building, N16 W23250 Stoneridge Drive in Waukesha May 1 to better serve the county.
The Greater Milwaukee Foundation awarded $4.7 million to Waukesha County nonprofit organizations between 2000 and December 2003, according to Denise Callaway, director of communications for the organization.
"Currently, we are working with 850 funds, and 121 – that’s 32% – of those are in Waukesha County," Callaway said. "With 32% of our business coming from and going to Waukesha County, it just makes sense to be so close to people’s homes."
In the first quarter of this year, 39 grants totaling $189,000 were awarded to nonprofit organizations serving Waukesha County residents.
"The goal is to achieve more opportunities for face-to-face meetings with donors, potential donors, and grant participants," Rogers said. "We are very concentrating on Waukesha right now because it is unique in its volume of donors and number of grants provided."
The foundation staff chose the Buffalo Building because of its accessibility to the freeway and the unique architectural design of the structure, according to Callaway.
The foundation plans to hold an open house for the public to celebrate the new office in July.
"We wanted to fulfill a combination of convenience for donors, but cost-conscious," Callaway said.
Jim Heuler of Team Buffalo, LLC, designed the 40,000 square-foot Waukesha building similar to the prairie-style creations of Frank Lloyd Wright, simultaneously showcasing marble from his tile company.
Other businesses that reside within the building are Ad-Vantage Media, MPC (formerly Omnitech, Inc.) and Heuler’s three companies, Ceramic Tool, Heuler Tile Company and Stone Dimensions.
The Greater Milwaukee Foundation signed a five-year lease for the 600-square-foot office through Polacheck Company brokers Jennifer Green and Ellen Powers.
"There has been a lot of churn in the market. Companies are extending or moving west for the same reasons as the Greater Milwaukee Foundation," Green said. "Almost every major law firm has added offices out here to accommodate clients, employees and to gain business."
The Greater Milwaukee Foundation was established in 1915 as a community foundation and is currently celebrating its 50th year of service to Waukesha County. The foundation also serves Ozaukee, Milwaukee and Washington counties.
Rogers said the foundation is not currently looking for office space in Ozaukee or Washington counties because the volume of grants and donors is sustainable through affiliate area foundations.
The Waukesha office offers the same services available at the downtown Milwaukee headquarters at 1020 N. Broadway St., but the western office is more easily accessible to some suburban residents, Callaway said.
"We have received and given many grants over the years in Waukesha County, and now we are trying to connect to the smaller grant community that we have not yet connected with," Gutierrez said. "We provide grants in a broad range of areas. Our chief challenge right now is to get the word out, and being closer to the agencies we serve gives us a stronger western presence."
May 14, 2004, Small Business Times, Milwaukee, WI

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