Annual Leadership Breakfast Raises More Than $80,000 for Best Buddies Wisconsin
On September 15, 2016, Best Buddies Wisconsin hosted Annual Leadership Breakfast at The Pfister Hotel Grand Ballroom. Thanks to our supporters, sponsors, students, schools and parents – we had a full room looking to learn more about and support Best Buddies Wisconsin raising more than $80,000 to continue our mission.
Thank you to our sponsors and table hosts!
- Presenting Sponsor – ManpowerGroup
- Platinum Sponsor – Waterstone Bank
- Gold Sponsors – Associated Bank, Marcus Hotels & Restaurants and Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin
- Silver Sponsors – Godfrey & Kahn, Moore Oil, BMO Harris Bank, Deloitte Services, Goldman Sachs, RSM and Fiduciary Management, Northwestern Mutual
- And table hosts, The Institute for Corporate Productivity, The Van Handel Family, The Dowsett Family, Crescent Grove Advisors, QPS, New Resources Consulting, GE Healthcare’s People with Disabilities Network and Quarles & Brady
Throughout the morning, Zoey Mercado, Ambassador and Advisory Board Member, along with his Peer Buddy, Steve Sturm spoke on behalf of the ManpowerGroup Corporate Citizen’s Chapter. From there, ManpowerGroup was honored with the Best Buddies Wisconsin Legacy Award for their early and ongoing commitment to Best Buddies Wisconsin, and specifically their work with the Citizens program.
We also presented our Spirit of Inclusion Awards. Dan Eggers, of Eggers Imprints, was presented with the Van Handel Family Spirit of Inclusion – Community Leader Award. Dan has been a member of the Best Buddies Board since 2013 – since then, he has spearheaded the Eggers Imprints Golf Outing benefitting Best Buddies Wisconsin. In just four years, this outing has raised nearly $150,000 to support Best Buddies chapters in our local schools. He also provides substantial support, financially and programmatically, to Best Buddies chapters in the north shore – like Brown Deer High School. If this isn’t enough to show you Dan’s commitment to the cause, he also lives the mission every single day. At Eggers Imprints in Brown Deer, Dan employs eight individuals with disabilities – he provides the opportunity for these individuals to do meaningful work every day, build relationships within the community and strengthen their leadership and self-advocacy skills.
The Spirit of Inclusion – Participant Award is presented annually to a student or Best Buddies alum who exemplifies leadership qualities and dedicated their youth to the disabilities rights movement. This year, it was presented to the Knodl Family. Their story started when Ryon Knodl first began participating in the Best Buddies in the high school chapter at Nathan Hale. After high school, Ryon was first matched Manpower Group Corporate Citizens Chapter with Brian in 2013. Brian and Ryon were matched for a year and a half before Brian moved. In 2015, Ryon was rematched with his current buddy, Jake. Both pairs enjoyed sporting events, car shows, karate matches, and Best Buddies group outings.
In addition to his participation in our friendship programs, Ryon has represented Best Buddies Wisconsin at the Miss Wisconsin/Teen pageant as an escort for the past 3 years. The pageant has become a family affair, where the entire Knodl family attends in support of Ryon and Best Buddies. Ryon has escorted the winner the last two years, so we think he is a lucky charm! The Knodl family has also assembled a community walk team, Ryon’s Roadhouse, for our Best Buddies Friendship Walk for the last 5 years. The Knodl family never shies away from a Best Buddies event and they usually bring a few friends along with them. The Knodl’s truly embraced Best Buddies – their belief and enthusiasm towards the organization is unmatched by most.
Finally, Peg Grafwallner, offered the key note speech. Peg’s speech was highlighted in the November issue of Exceptional Parent e-magazine. Take a look at the attached!
We’re thankful for the continued commitment of our program participants and community members! The 2017 Leadership Breakfast will be on October 26th, 2017 – save the date!