Best Buddies Leadership Breakfast Raises More Than $94,000 in Wisconsin
On Thursday, November 1st, 2018, Best Buddies in Wisconsin hosted our annual Leadership Breakfast at The Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee. It was an incredible and inspiring morning where more than 300 of our friends and supporters joined us in celebration of the abilities and uniqueness within us all. The event raised more than $94,000, which will be used to grow Best Buddies programs throughout Wisconsin dedicated to one-to-one friendships, leadership development, and integrated job opportunities for individuals with IDD.
Thank you to our sponsors and table hosts!
Presenting Sponsor – ManpowerGroup
Gold Sponsors – WaterStone Bank and Marcus Hotels & Resorts
Silver Sponsors – Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, Judy & Mike Van Handel, Bader Philanthropies, Godfrey & Kahn, Deloitte, Goldman Sachs, Froedtert & Medical College of Wisconsin, Northwestern Mutual, BMO Harris Bank, Madeleine and David Lubar, New Resources Consulting, and Fiduciary Management
Table hosts: Crescent Grove Advisors, Milwaukee Bucks, Generac, Old National Bank, Notre Dame Global Partnerships, Goodwill, The Dowsett Family, Briggs & Stratton, Staples Business Advantage , RSM, Rangam, the Topp Family, Bader Philanthropies, and Mary Wisniewski.
Laura Brackett, State Director, kicked off the program as she shared some of the highlights and successes of the past year for Best Buddies in Wisconsin.
Following the opening remarks, Best Buddies presented The Van Handel Family Spirit of Inclusion Award recipients.
The Van Handel Family Spirit of Inclusion Award – Community Leader Award is presented to an individual who embraces the mission of Best Buddies and has been a longtime supporter of Best Buddies Wisconsin and their community. This year, Best Buddies honored Linda Price-Topp. Linda has been a valuable member of our advisory board with the endless energy, vision and commitment. During her time on the board Linda served out on several sub-committees, worked as a co-chair of the Leadership Breakfast, attended the Best Buddies International Leadership Conference and participated in the Best Buddies Challenge: Hyannis Port bike ride. She was also instrumental in forming a community partnership with the Marcus Corporation. As a parent, she tied in her personal connection and understood the need for inclusive programs like Best Buddies. Linda is the true definition of selflessness and a champion of inclusion.
The Spirit of Inclusion – Participant Award is presented to a participant or Best Buddies alumni who exemplifies leadership qualities and has dedicated their time to supporting the disability rights movement and our local programs. This year, we honored the Powers/Kirsch Family. Their story started in 2012, when Brianna Powers joined the Best Buddies college program at Carroll University. In 2014, Brianna transitioned to Citizens, our adult friendship program, where she is matched with her buddy Shannon.
Motivated by Brianna’s participation in Best Buddies, her father Bill Kirsch joined Citizens in 2016 as a peer participant. Bill has been matched with his buddy Allen for over two years. The Kirsch/Powers family truly embraces Best Buddies and never shies away from a Best Buddies event. Their belief and enthusiasm towards our organization and our mission is unmatched by most.
Finally, we welcomed Novy, Jared, and Katy as our keynote speakers to share “What Best Buddies Means to Them”. Novy and Jared, student leaders at Germantown High School, have been involved in Best Buddies since their freshman year. Novy is currently the Chapter President and Jared is the Buddy Director. This past summer, they attended the Best Buddies International Leadership Conference where their chapter received national recognition for “Outstanding Chapter of the Year.”
Jared’s mom Katy, spoke about her perspective as a parent and how Best Buddies has impacted not only her son but their entire family. Katy shared “Best Buddies is the group our family has longed for, for virtually Jared’s entire life. Best Buddies is pushing for changes not just in schools but in the work force. Helping mold the culture and environment at businesses across the country and across the world. So that moms (and dads) like me can relax on the advocacy role, even if only just a little. Because of Best Buddies I can envision a future where we won’t have to advocate, because everyone will just “get it” and what Best Buddies is striving or will just simply be the norm.”
Many thanks to all of those who joined us on November 1st! Be on the lookout for more information regarding the 2019 Best Buddies Leadership Breakfast!