Zilber, West Bend Mutual among AFP award winners

The Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) has announced the recipients of the 2008 Partners in Philanthropy awards. The award recipients include: The Evan P. Helfaer Donor Award – Joseph Zilber; the Todd Wehr Volunteer Award – Judy Jorgensen; the Wisconsin Organizational Philanthropy Award – West Bend Mutual Insurance Co.; and the Scott M. Cutlip Professional Fundraiser Award – Jim Clark. The Leave-A-Legacy Award has not yet been determined.

The annual Partners in Philanthropy Luncheon will take place Wednesday, Nov. 12, at the Midwest Airlines Center in downtown Milwaukee. The event celebrates the donors and colleagues who have helped philanthropy thrive in Greater Milwaukee by presenting five awards to top individual, corporate and planned gift donors in the area. The luncheon also gives AFP members an opportunity to honor partners that have been involved with their nonprofit organizations, including donors, volunteers and staff members.

Zilber has given his hometown a great deal of financial support over the last few years. The 90-year-old founder and chairman of Zilber Ltd. and Towne Realty Inc. has pledged to donate $50 million to “revitalize Milwaukee’s neighborhoods and reconnect all of her citizens to social and economic opportunity.”

The AFP will present Zilber with the Evan P. Helfaer Donor Award in recognition of his distinguished donations to charitable organizations in the Greater Milwaukee area. The announcement of the $50 million donation comes in addition to Zilber’s announcement last August that he would donate $30 million to the Marquette University Law School and $10 million to UW-Milwaukee to create a School of Public Health. Past donations also include a $3 million gift to the Milwaukee Jewish Federation and a $1.5 million gift to the United Way of Greater Milwaukee.

“We are not the city we were,” Zilber said when he announced those donations. “It is time for us to rebuild Milwaukee. In the time I have left, with all the energy and resources that I possess, I will do what I can.”

Zilber is in the process of redeveloping the former Pabst Brewery complex in downtown Milwaukee into a mixed-use urban neighborhood.

“I felt it was my duty and my responsibility, as a citizen of this community, to take this piece of our history and do everything I can to preserve, protect and return it to economic viability,” Zilber said.

Jorgensen will receive the Todd Wehr Volunteer Award. Named in honor of Todd Wehr, “a philanthropist of the first order, and a tireless volunteer” the award recognizes an individual’s dedication to raising philanthropic funds. Among her many philanthropic accomplishments, Jorgensen chaired the first annual Milwaukee Art Museum campaign that raised over $1 million. She was also a founding board member of the Waukesha County Action Network, a civic organization of community and business leaders who evaluate and recommend improvements to broad public policy issues in Waukesha County.

Jorgensen volunteers for organizations in Milwaukee, Madison and Waukesha. She is currently a board member on the Greater Milwaukee Foundation, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, the Milwaukee Art Museum, the UW-Madison Women’s Philanthropic Council and the WCTC Foundation among others.

Jorgensen worked for WCTC for 24 years, retiring as the Dean of Academic Support.

“This is a woman who raised four sons, worked full-time as a college dean, and in her retirement decided to continue and expand her community service rather than just resting on her well-deserved laurels,” said Jean Gurney, who nominated Jorgensen for the award.

“Judy would be an outstanding recipient of the Todd Wehr Award,” said Ellen Phillips, president of WCTC foundation. “Like Mr. Wehr, Judy is a philanthropist of the first order, and a tireless volunteer.”

The Scott M. Cutlip Professional Fundraiser Award recognizes a professional fundraising executive who has served the Greater Milwaukee area with distinction. Clark is president and chief executive officer of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee.

Since Clark joined the clubs in 2004 he has nearly doubled the organization’s budget, increasing it from $10.6 million to $19 million. During that time, club membership has grown by over 5,000 children.

“This success is due in large part to Jim’s stewardship of donors,” said Terri Isabell, who nominated Clark. “He is well-respected and trusted in the community, and people contribute to the clubs knowing that their support will be utilized effectively and efficiently.”

Each year since Clark became president the clubs have exceeded their annual fundraising goals. Moreover, Clark has implanted a Decade of Hope 10-year strategic plan, with a fundraising goal of $90 million. To date, the clubs have raised nearly $20 million of this goal.

On top of fundraising initiatives, Clark has implanted programs such as the SPARK Early Literacy Initiative (which helps struggling K-third graders improve their reading skills), Sista Pride (designed to serve female Club members), and the Stein Scholars Initiative (which provides an academic and social support system, in addition to financial assistance for club members).

Clark is also actively involved with charity work outside of the Boys and Girls Clubs, serving on the boards for Lombardi Charitable Funds, Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, Junior Achievement of Wisconsin and Boy Scouts of America.

West Bend Mutual Insurance Co. will receive the Wisconsin Organizational Philanthropy Award for its record of philanthropic leadership in the Greater Milwaukee area.

West Bend Mutual contributed just over $1 million to charities and other deserving organizations in 2007 through three funds: the West Bend Mutual Charitable fund, the West Bend Mutual Independent Agency Fund and the West Bend Mutual Company Corporate Gifts.

The majority of the company’s contributions came from the Charitable Fund, totaling $740,000 in competitive and expedited grants to 501(c)3 organizations.

On top of offering financial support, the company encourages non-profits to make use of its facilities to hold fundraising events. In 2007, the company hosted the West Bend Sunrise Rotary’s major fundraiser.

Recently the company donated $75,000 to The Threshold Inc. to accomplish a major renovation of its facility. West Bend Mutual has also offered its facilities to The Threshold to hold a major donor recognition event.

“Since its beginning the West Bend Mutual Insurance Co. has proven itself to be a true community citizen,” said Tom Meisenheimer, director of external relations for The Threshold. “Their culture of generosity embraces associates’ volunteerism and supports substantial corporate charitable contributions.”

The company donates its time as well as its money. Every year, West Bend Mutual dedicates two weeks to the Habitat for Humanity’s Blitz Build. During that time, more than 100 West Bend Mutual associates spend a day or more of work time building or renovating homes for local families in need.

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