Jim Mueller, this year’s recipient of BizTimes Media’s Nonprofit Excellence Lifetime Achievement Award and founder of the Waukesha-based health benefits firm mueller QAAS, LLC, is well-known in the local nonprofit sector for his record of philanthropy.
However, Mueller, who was previously president of the insurance brokerage and consulting firm Frank F. Haack and Associates and of insurance technology firm Zywave, Inc., doesn’t seek the spotlight, colleagues say.
“He’s one of those unsung heroes,” said Lynda Kohler, president and chief executive officer of SHARP Literacy, one of the many Milwaukee-area nonprofit organizations that Mueller supports. “He has done so much in our community over the last few years.”
Mueller’s exhaustive list of beneficiaries includes the Marcus Performing Arts Center, the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts, the American Cancer Society, the American Lung Association and the Make-A-Wish Foundation, along with educational institutions such as St. Augustine Preparatory Academy, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Marquette University and Marquette University High School.
Mueller is a champion of gender equality in the workplace, with a commitment to hiring women for leadership positions. More than half of the mueller QAAS staff are women, including vice president of business development Sandy Wysocki. He supports many women-led organizations, including the Women of Influence Club, Milwaukee Women, Inc. and TEMPO.
Improving literacy rates among Milwaukee area residents is a high priority for Mueller and Mary Jo, his wife of nearly 40 years. Kohler noted that Mueller’s donations enabled SHARP Literacy to expand to include a K3 program and a program in Waukesha. Mueller’s commitment to the local literacy cause was recognized in 2017, when he received the organization’s Literacy Champion Award.
Mueller’s dedication to SHARP Literacy inspired his son, also named Jim, a sales executive with Anthem, Inc., to join SHARP’s Young Professionals board. The younger Mueller helped organize A Novel Event 2019, the literacy organization’s largest fundraiser.
In addition to his widespread financial support of numerous organizations, Mueller also gives of his time. He serves as a board member for many Milwaukee organizations, including Marquette University High School, the Alzheimer’s Association-Greater Wisconsin Chapter, Greater Milwaukee Committee and Greater Milwaukee Employee Benefits Council.
Suzanne Kelley, president and CEO of the Waukesha County Business Alliance, met Mueller in 2013 when his company joined the alliance.
“His first question to me was, ‘How can I help?’” she said.
Mueller is a member of WCBA’s Policy Board Committee and sponsors programs to motivate and mentor the next generation of leaders.
“Jim is strategic where he invests, always asking where his support is needed most,” Kelley said. “His contributions of time, talent and treasure touch many worthy groups.”
Mary Ellen Stanek, managing director and chief investment officer for financial firm Baird Advisors, said Mueller is eager to share his expertise with entrepreneurs, encouraging young professionals and business executives in their professional endeavors.
“Jim is tireless in his commitment to Milwaukee,” she said. “Generous with his time, energy and support, he continues to invest in Milwaukee’s future. It’s impossible to measure the return from his investment in the community and in others, particularly our future leaders.”