The Ziegler roots run deep in West Bend; Doug Ziegler’s grandfather was Washington County treasurer at the turn of the last century. Doug and Sharon Ziegler’s passion for giving runs deep as well. For more than 30 years their charitable partnership has benefited dozens of nonprofits in the West Bend area and their scholarships have helped hundreds of students fulfill their dreams.
"This is our 60th year of scholarships through The Ziegler Family Foundation, and during that time we’ve had 250 scholars," Doug explains. "Education is our biggest area of interest, especially scholarships. We’ve provided more than $12 million in scholarships to students over the years. It’s important to keep up those scholarships. Unless students have a good education, they won’t be the kind of leaders they could be."
"When you see the success of projects you’ve helped with serving the needs of the community, it’s wonderful. Giving is such a great reward."
The Ziegler Family Foundation Fund, affiliated with the West Bend Community Foundation, grew from the Ziegler Foundation which Doug’s father established in 1944. It was the family’s way to give back to the community where the businesses started by the family – BC Ziegler & Company and the West Bend Company – were thriving.
Sharon grew up in Iowa where her own family’s principled tradition of giving whatever you had to give was honored. It continued when she married Doug 31 years ago and moved to West Bend.
"Having the opportunity to give and serve is what I really enjoy," Sharon explained. "When you see the success of projects you’ve helped with serving the needs of the community, it’s wonderful. Giving is such a great reward."
The couple’s giving extends beyond their own foundation. Doug, along with his friend the late Cliff Nelson, was one of the cofounders and first president of the West Bend Community Foundation in 1999. Doug’s generous $1 million gift, matched by Nelson, provided seed money for the foundation. Sharon is the foundation board’s current president. The couple both remain actively involved on many community boards in West Bend and the greater Milwaukee area. And now the next generation of Zieglers is also becoming actively engaged in the family foundation as well as their own giving.
"We feel lucky and blessed," Sharon said with a smile. "We do count our blessings."
When many people in West Bend count their blessings, they count Sharon and Doug Ziegler.
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