Marcus family to receive Lifetime Achievement Award at Nonprofit Excellence Awards program

Finalists for other award categories announced


The Marcus family will be honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 9th annual BizTimes Media Nonprofit Excellence Awards program.

Stephen Marcus

This year the Nonprofit Excellence Awards program will be held on Friday, Nov. 4, from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. at the Italian Community Center. Click here to register.

Milwaukee-based The Marcus Corp. was founded in 1935 by Ben Marcus with the purchase of a single movie theater in Ripon. It has grown to have a significant presence in the lodging and entertainment industries. Marcus Theatres is the fourth largest movie theater circuit in the U.S. and own or operates 1,064 screens at 85 locations in 17 states. The company’s lodging division owns and/or manages 17 hotels, resorts and other properties in nine states.

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The company continues to be led by the Marcus family including president and CEO Greg Marcus (grandson of Ben Marcus), and his father, Stephen Marcus who is chairman of Marcus Corp. and previously served as president and CEO. David Marcus, also Ben’s grandson, is managing director and CEO of Marcus Investments.

The Marcus family has made numerous contributions to the community over many years.

Ben Marcus held leadership roles with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, the Greater Milwaukee Committee, Mount Sinai Medical Center, the Milwaukee Jewish Federation, the United Jewish Appeal and other organizations. He also founded the Variety Club Children’s Charities in Milwaukee.

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The Marcus Performing Arts Center in Milwaukee is named in recognition of a naming rights contribution from The Marcus Corp. Foundation more than 25 years ago, which provided funds to renovate and expand the facility. The family has remained a major supporter for the Marcus Performing Arts Center.

The Marcus family also was the naming rights sponsor for the Marcus Amphitheater at the Summerfest grounds. The facility is now known as the American Family Insurance Amphitheater.

The Marcus family donated the Warner Grand Theatre in downtown Milwaukee to the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, which converted it into the Bradley Symphony Center.

Stephen Marcus was the driving force behind Sculpture Milwaukee, an annual public art display along Wisconsin Avenue in downtown Milwaukee that began in 2017.

Joanie Marcus, who was married to Stephen Marcus and died in 2008, was a longtime board member of the Jewish Federation and helped to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for that organization with multiple campaigns. She was also a longtime docent and member of the Milwaukee Art Museum. There is a wing at the museum named in her honor.

With The Marcus Corp’s Saint Kate-The Arts Hotel in downtown Milwaukee, numerous arts and culture organizations in the community are given the opportunity to utilize space in the hotel to further their artistic work and reach. Linda Marcus, who is married to Greg Marcus, is co-founder of the Saint Kate Arts hotel, helping design it and curated the seed collection of art for the hotel. She creates the “canvas rooms” at the hotel, which are immersive experiences where an artist paints every surface to immerse the guest in their art practice. Part of the proceeds from these rooms goes to arts-based organizations in Milwaukee.

Linda Marcus has been a board member for the Museum of Wisconsin Art for two years. Previously she was a board member for the Milwaukee Rep for 6 years, the MIAD (Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design) board for 11 years, the Mount Mary University board for 2 years and the Milwaukee Jewish Federation board.

Melina Marcus, who is married to David Marcus, has served on boards such as the Women’s Division, Milwaukee Jewish Federation and the SEED Foundation. She is the co-founder of Rebel Green, which has formed partnerships over the years with organizations, including Feeding America.

Janice Marcus, who is married to Stephen Marcus, is actively involved in socially engaged organizations like the Nehemiah Project, the Women’s Coalition of Milwaukee-Women’s division and the Milwaukee Art Museum and the Milwaukee County Historical Society.

Other organizations that have been supported by the Marcus family with financial support, volunteering and/or board service include: Betty Brinn Children’s Museum, Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee, City Year, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, Goodwill Industries of Southeast Wisconsin and Metropolitan Chicago, Greater Milwaukee Committee, Greater Milwaukee Foundation, Jazz at Lincoln Center, MMAC, Milwaukee Jazz Institute, Milwaukee Jewish Foundation, Summerfest, United Way of Greater Milwaukee, UPAF, Wisconsin Center District and others.

The equivalent of $1.2 million of on-air screen time is provided by Marcus Theatres in-kind each year to organizations like United Way to build awareness.

Over the past decade, the Marcus Corporation Foundation has donated more than $10 million to nonprofit organizations.

The finalists for the other Nonprofit Excellence Awards categories are (winners will be announced at the Nov. 4 event):

Corporate Citizen of the Year

  • Catalyst Construction
  • Ellenbecker Investment Group
  • Husco
  • Northwestern Mutual

Corporate Volunteer of the Year

  • Mary Burgoon, Rockwell Automation
  • Brian O’Neill, Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin

In-Kind Supporter

  • Oldenburg Group
  • SMART- Sheet Metal, Air, Rail, Transportation, Local 18
  • Tarantino & Company

Next Generation Leadership

  • Maggie Pinnt, Pepper Construction of Wisconsin
  • Danielle White, Rockwell Automation
  • Matthew Wuest, Godfrey & Kahn, S.C.

Nonprofit Collaboration of the Year

  • FOR-M: MKE Tech Hub Coalition, We Pivot, The Commons, Bader Philanthropies, WEDC
  • Journey House Construction & Design Academy: Journey House Inc., All Hands Boatworks, Teens Grow Greens, Habitat for Humanity, Adams Garden Park
  • Milwaukee Youth Arts Center: The Milwaukee Youth Arts Center, First Stage, Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra
  • United for Waukesha Community Fund: United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County and the Waukesha County Community Foundation

Nonprofit Executive of the Year

  • Stephanie Riesner, GPS Education Partners
  • Marci Boucher, Independence First
  • Mara Duckens, St. Francis Children’s Center
  • Lynnea Katz-Petted, Revitalize Milwaukee

Small Nonprofit Organization of the Year

  • The Ability Center
  • ALIVE Inc. Milwaukee
  • Center for Urban Teaching
  • Kathy’s House

Large Nonprofit Organization of the Year

  • Centers for Independence
  • Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Wisconsin Inc.
  • Junior Achievement of Wisconsin
  • Seeds of Health, Inc.

At the Nov. 4 program, before the presentation of the awards, Jim Kacmarcik and Gretchen Jameson of Kacmarcik Enterprises will also best practices for businesses looking for ways to give back and discuss the vision for the Kacmarcik Center for Human Performance, a new organization aimed at helping people pursue their best life at home, at work and in their community.

Click here to register for the Nonprofit Excellence Awards program is sponsored by Wintrust Commercial Banking at Town Bank and Lauber Business Partners Inc.

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