You can ask any First Weber Foundation Participant what they think about the Foundation and it is immediately clear that the participants are proud and grateful to have the Foundation to use in their communities. We find that agents and staff are passionate about so many different things, and the Foundation allows them to focus on the causes that are most meaningful to them. We asked a few agents and managers at First Weber how and why they depend on the Foundation, and the answers were surprisingly similar, coming back to what deep personal meaning it has for them.
Sharon Milliken, a long-time agent in First Weber's Middleton office, remembers when the Foundation was created in 2006 and how excited she was to get up to $1,000 a year in Matching Gifts. Sharon makes it a habit to use her $1,000 each year on things that are important to her, like the nature conservancy, public radio and television, Habitat for Humanity and UNICEF.
When her office held a Group Giving event for MOM (Middleton Outreach Ministries), Sharon even involved her bookclub, raising $1,900 for the event. Sharon is a true giver and enthusiastically shared that she would give more, if she could.
It's great to know there are agents like Sharon who recognize the value of paying it forward through the First Weber Foundation.
Steve Petersen is the office manager and an agent at First Weber's Minocqua-Park Falls offices. One of the agents in his office, Derek Larson, has friends in Ukraine and in Russia, and Derek has shared stories of his friends' suffering following the invasion of Ukraine. Steve said he thought that the recent company-wide Group Giving event for UNICEF's Ukraine Emergency Response team was "a powerful way to help people who were less than 6 degrees of separation from them."
Steve's office runs many events such as canned food drives, collections for food pantries and more. And, Steve has a deep appreciation for the Matching Gifts program, which allows him to focus on organizations that have personal meaning to him.
Steve said he and his office are grateful to have the Foundation to give back to their community in places where they can see the good from their giving does.
Steve and the members of his office are just one more great example of Foundation Participants who are caretakers of their community.
Suzanne Head is the manager of First Weber's North Shore office, and has been with the Foundation since it was created in 2006. Suzanne said she was one of the first Foundation Participants, and she immediately implemented a history of Matching Gifts donations for charities that had personal meaning for her.
As a manager, Suzanne likes to use Group Giving to highlight things that her agents are concerned about and that they have used the Foundation in the past to support the American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, Habitat for Humanity, the Hunger Task Force and Riverwest Food Pantry.
In fact, all you have to do at the North Shore office is talk about a cause that you think deserves support, and it's become a habit for them to find a way for the Foundation to help.
During the CoVid pandemic, the North Shore folks reached out to see which agencies needed financial assistance, then used the Foundation to show love and appreciation to those agencies in a confusing, scary time.
The Foundation is particularly thankful for Suzanne's and her office's support of their community, and how they feel compelled to use the Foundation to make an impact on their local friends and neighbors however possible.
For more information on how the Foundation is making a difference in local communities, browse some of the articles in the Foundation Blog.
And, if you would like to make a one-time donation to the First Weber Foundation to ensure that we are able to continue to support our local communities, please click here to go to our PayPal link.