Great things happen in our communities because of people who want to see something accomplished that will benefit their community and are willing to take the lead. The Greater Milwaukee Foundation’s various awards celebrate that passion and commitment.
William C. Frye was a community leader who, at the time of his death in 1954, was chairman of the Foundation Board. Frye retired at age 46 as president of Rex Chainbelt Company to devote more time to community activities. For the next 31 years he made volunteering his full-time occupation and served virtually every charitable cause in town by raising funds, serving on boards and leading commissions. The award was first given out in 1956 and it honors individuals who, through their volunteer work, have made Milwaukee a better place.
Frank Kirkpatrick was a prominent real estate developer and radio commentator who did not hesitate to share his passion for Milwaukee or his opinion about how to improve it. The award, first given in 1988, recognizes individuals who have brought about significant physical improvement to the community.
Doug Jansson served at the helm of the Foundation for 17 years. Under his leadership, the Foundation tripled in asset size, awarded more than $300 million in grants and became a philanthropic force in the community. The award was created in his honor upon his retirement and recognizes local nonprofit leaders, particularly those serving underserved communities. It provides support for them to strengthen their leadership skills.
Working with a panel of leading researchers and scientists, the Foundation developed the award to fulfill the wish of Dorothy Shaw. Shaw left the bulk of her estate, a $4.2 million gift, to the Foundation with this challenge: find a way to support emerging scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee engaged in research in the fields of biochemistry, biological science or cancer research. Each year young scientists from UWM or UW-Madison can be nominated for this award, which provides $200,000 in unrestricted funding.
The Greater Milwaukee Foundation Centennial Awards recognize the highest achievement in philanthropy. The funds honored through these awards are characterized by their longstanding commitment to creating a vibrant and thriving community through charitable giving.