Waukesha couple helps move their community forward by giving back

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Just as their family business, Century Fence Company, has left a distinctive mark on its industry and the community, so too have Andrea and Anthony Bryant in their own back yard. 

In fact, one would be hard-pressed to find a project, program or person that hasn’t been impacted by the Bryants over the past 50 years or so. The couple has been key contributors to the growth of the United Way of Waukesha County, Waukesha Family YMCA, Waukesha Civic Theatre and more through time, talent and civic commitment. The Bryants are still working and giving back, thanks to the Anthony and Andrea Bryant Family Fund, a Greater Milwaukee Foundation donor advised fund they created in 1994.

“We’re most proud of the fact that we can make an impact in our community with the little bit of money we put aside,” Andrea Bryant said. 

We’re most proud of the fact that we can make an impact in our community with the little bit of money we put aside"

Their devotion to Waukesha County runs deep. Tony’s family stretches back four generations and their commercial fencing company is 95 years old. Andrea, a Berkeley, Calif. native, moved to Wisconsin in 1960 after meeting Tony in 1959. Ever since answering an ad from the then Waukesha Symphony Auxiliary looking for volunteers, she hasn’t stopped volunteering. Among many commitments, she serves on the boards of La Casa de Esperanza Foundation and Waukesha County Community Foundation. 

With so many varied interests, the Bryants thought a Foundation fund would be the better vehicle to channel their philanthropy versus a private foundation. Close friends and Foundation donors, Joan and Buzz Hardy, convinced them the Foundation would be a great resource. Tony later served as a Board member and the couple received the Frye Kirkpatrick Award, one of the Foundation’s highest civic honors, for their community work.

Seventy-five percent of their fund is devoted to nonprofits the Bryants recommend. While much of their focus is spent in and around Waukesha, the Bryants also support Milwaukee agencies including the Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee Ballet and Milwaukee Public Museum. The remaining percentage meets the area’s most pressing needs, as designated by the Board.

“We try to just support in small ways all these organizations,” Bryant said. “I’m glad there was a Greater Milwaukee Foundation that we could turn to. It is really making the dollars work.”

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