Last updated on November 23rd, 2022 at 02:34 pm
Every fall and every spring, Samantha Noggle can be found cheering on the sidelines of a 5K.
For Noggle, the biennial race hosted by Girls on the Run is a celebratory culmination of the work she puts in behind the scenes for the Milwaukee nonprofit organization.
Noggle, a controller at Milwaukee-based Hammes Co., has served on the GOTR board of directors since 2017, lending her professional expertise to help the organization in its operations.
For her day job, Noggle is responsible for providing Hammes’ leadership with financial reporting to assist them in their decision-making related to investing and managing risk.
After hearing GOTR was seeking someone with financial know-how to join its board, it was the organization’s mission – to build girls’ confidence and life skills through various physical and emotional health programs – that inspired Noggle to get involved.
“I had just moved back to the area and was wanting to get involved with a nonprofit in some way, and it just kind of aligned,” said Noggle, who remembers the benefits of playing sports when she was growing up. “I met with (executive director Tina Jones) and heard about what they do as an organization. It was just very easy to understand what they do and to get on board with the mission and understand they had a need for this skillset and I can provide that.”
Jones said Noggle made an immediate contribution at the young nonprofit organization, which has grown from serving 1,500 girls in four counties in 2017 to serving a projected 2,200 girls in seven counties by next year.
“When Sam joined our board in 2017, she had not served on a nonprofit board previously but was ready and willing to help in whatever way she could,” Jones said. “With her impressive skillset in the financial world and background as a CPA, I was thrilled when she stepped immediately on to our executive team and filled a critical role as our board treasurer.”
In 2019, she was named chair of the board, assuming the position ahead of the COVID-19 pandemic that disrupted youth programs across the city.
“Sam stepped up and helped us make those tough choices to keep the organization moving forward,” Jones said.
GOTR and Noggle’s partnership illustrates the mutual benefits of for-profit leaders leveraging their acumen to assist charitable organizations that have limited resources.
“In some ways, what I’m doing with Girls on the Run has helped me in my role with Hammes,” Noggle said, noting that the nonprofit’s recent strategic planning process has translated to her professional work. “It’s not just the other way around.”
In some cases, help takes the form of board service; in others, it can look like in-kind donations.
In recent years, Mike Grinker, president of Milwaukee-based commercial property restoration provider Sid Grinker Restoration Inc., has stepped up to meet a specific need at the nonprofit Milwaukee County Historical Society.
After reading an article in 2020 about Milwaukee County’s oldest surviving house – the Kilbourntown House (built in 1844), now located in Estabrook Park – Grinker reached out to the MCHS. He offered Sid Grinker’s services to repair the house’s foundation and basement access. That year, the company completed about $25,000 of pro-bono work.
Each year since, Sid Grinker has continued its work on the house, completing in-kind historic preservation work totaling $75,000.
“This is a time when it is hard to find contractors and other crafts experts, much less coordinated together to accomplish a broader project,” said Mame McCully, president and executive director of the MCHS. “In the case of the oldest remaining home in Milwaukee, it is important that we preserve the home and that work completed on it preserves its history.”
For the historical society, an in-kind donation – rather than cash gift – was just what was needed.
“Sid Grinker’s involvement allows us not only to better care for and preserve the home, but the fact that it isn’t a financial gift and, instead, includes the project coordination and high-level of work that they provide, this in-kind gift is invaluable to the Milwaukee County Historical Society,” McCully said.
Regardless of the position she’s held on the board, Noggle said her goal over the past five years has been to help wherever she sees a need at GOTR, including recruiting new program sites and creating tools and metrics to evaluate the organization’s financial health and forecast ahead.
Noggle is also encouraging other current board members to step into their own skillsets in support of the organization.
“We engaged a third-party consultant early last year with Girls on the Run to create a five-year strategic plan that aligns the interests of our board members in these key strategic areas and helps everybody focus towards a singular mission, be it fundraising, programming or marketing,” she said.
When professionals pitch in in these targeted ways, nonprofits flourish, Jones said.
“The nonprofit community could use more people from the for-profit section, like Sam, who are willing to donate their treasure of time and expertise to help these organizations develop their own best practices so they can do the best job that they can in serving our community,” she said.
Noggle finds a deep sense of fulfillment in seeing the girls in the program achieve their goals, whether it’s improving their test scores, making a new friend, or completing a 5K.
“I usually cheer on the route with my coworkers at Hammes or my family or friends (at the 5K),” she said. “I’ve run races before, and I know what it’s like when you’re feeling discouraged like you can’t make it up that next hill – and when someone cheers for you or gives you a high-five, how that small act compels these young girls to sprint. It’s like they have a fire under them and they’re ready to go. It’s really just the culmination of everything I’m working toward and all the skills they’re learning.”
Noggle encourages other professionals to consider how they might partner with a cause that resonates with them and for which they have something to offer.
“There’s such a wide range of things any nonprofit needs, and you may not think you have a transferrable skillset, but you most likely do. It can move the needle so much for so many of the nonprofits in our community,” she said.