Mardak, Vandenberg to receive Lifetime Achievement Award at Nonprofit Excellence Awards program

Finalists for other award categories announced

Keith Mardak and Mary Vandenberg

Last updated on October 28th, 2021 at 12:49 pm

Former Hal Leonard Corp. executives Keith Mardak and Mary Vandenberg, who have supported many nonprofit and educational initiatives in the Milwaukee area, will be honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 8th annual BizTimes Media Nonprofit Excellence Awards program.

This year the Nonprofit Excellence Awards program will be held from 7-9:30 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 5 at the Italian Community Center in Milwaukee.

Most recently, Mardak and Vandenberg donated $5 million to help fund the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center’s expansion project. The couple were charitable donors to the original MYAC and have been principal program partners since its inception. They are also longtime supporters of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee, having established the Mardak Center for Administration and Training, the Daniels/Mardak Boys & Girls Club, the Vandenberg Center for the Arts at the Fitzsimmons Boys & Girls Club, and MarVan Scholars. They also provide funding for college scholarships to Boys & Girls Clubs members through All-In Milwaukee.

Mardak retired last year as chairman and chief executive officer of Milwaukee-based sheet music publisher Hal Leonard LLC; Vandenberg was formerly vice president of business affairs for the company.

In addition to supporting youth programs, Mardak and Vandengberg have supported various health care initiatives, including endowing a chair at Children’s Wisconsin with a $1.5 million gift. The donation stemmed from the philanthropists’ personal connection to the hospital. When their granddaughter was four years old, she received care at Children’s Hospital for a brain condition that ultimately required surgery.

Mardak also made a $2 million challenge grant in 2018 to Glendale-based nonprofit ABCD: After Breast Cancer Diagnosis, which provides peer-to-peer support for people with breast cancer. Mardak’s ties to the organization trace back to his decades-long friendship with its founder, the late Melodie Wilson Oldenburg, and her husband, Wayne Oldenburg.

The finalists for the other Nonprofit Excellence Awards categories are (winners will be announced at the Nov. 5 event):

Nonprofit Collaboration of the Year

  • Archdiocese of Milwaukee
  • College Possible
  • Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design and TRUE Skool
  • Latino Chamber of Commerce of Southeastern Wisconsin, North Shore Bank, Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. and Milwaukee Economic Development Corp.

Nonprofit Executive of the Year

  • Mark Niehaus, president and executive director of Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra
  • Eduardo Garza Jr., president and CEO of The Center for Veterans Issues

Large Nonprofit Organization of the Year

  • Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin
  • SaintA
  • St. Augustine Preparatory Academy

Small Nonprofit of the Year

  • HEAR Wisconsin
  • African American Chamber of Commerce of Wisconsin
  • Silver Spring Neighborhood Center

Social Enterprise

  • CannedWater4Kids
  • i.c. stars
  • Franciscan Peacemakers

Corporate Citizen of the Year 

  • Kohl’s
  • The Yabuki Family Foundation
  • Milwaukee Bucks Foundation

Corporate Volunteer of the Year

  • Michael Levey, partner/attorney, Quarles & Brady
  • Joseph Scala, sales representative, Metalcraft Automation Group

In-Kind Supporter of the Year

  • Great Lakes Roofing Corp.

Next Generation Leadership

  • Wes Warne, director of ticket sales and career advancement, Milwaukee Bucks
  • Karthik Palaniappan, lead engineer, Milwaukee Tool
  • Sorrina Beecher, owner at The White Agency & Write MKE Ink

The awards program will follow a panel discussion on “Workforce Development that Works,” featuring for-profit business leaders who are partnering with nonprofit organizations to address the region’s labor challenges across various industries, including construction, manufacturing, technology and health care.

Click here to register for the Nonprofit Excellence Awards program, which is sponsored by Wegner CPAs.

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