Tag Archives: benefit

Trump conflict plan woefully inadequate 

President-elect Donald Trump’s planned arrangement with the Trump Organization falls far short of what’s necessary to avoid conflicts of interest and Emoluments Clause violations that will dog his administration and severely undermine the public’s faith in government.

Common Cause has called on President-elect Trump to divest from the Trump Organization and put his wealth into a blind trust managed independently from him.

Instead, he’s decided to retain full ownership of the Trump Organization and have two of his sons run it—no divestment and no independence.

These are the same two sons who recently had their name attached to an inauguration fundraiser that promised access to their father for those willing to pay $1 million dollars. The event was cancelled but the precedent was troubling.

The American public must now demand complete transparency of the Trump Organization and President-elect Trump’s finances.

Such transparency is America’s only hope for protecting itself against conflicts of interest and Emoluments Clause violations — and holding President-elect Trump accountable for his promises to avoid conflicts and violations of the constitution.

The president-elect must take additional steps immediately to safeguard the integrity of the office of the president.

To begin with, Trump must release his taxes and quit hiding the facts and the potential conflicts from the American people.

At today’s press conference, when asked to release his tax returns, the president-elect rejected the request and claimed that the “only one that cares about my tax returns are the reporters.”

Common Cause’s more than 700,000 members and supporters care about the president-elect’s tax returns and additional financial disclosure.

We demand it.

Common Cause is a nonpartisan, nonprofit advocacy organization founded in 1970 by John Gardner as a vehicle for citizens to make their voices heard in the political process and to hold their elected leaders accountable to the public interest.

Birding for bigger budgets: Wisconsin birdathon benefits conservation programs

Those who venture into the woods on a weekend in May might spot an “Old Coot” or a “Lower Chippewa River Titmouseketeer.” These are not new species to add to the Sibley Guide to Birds, but rather team players in the Great Wisconsin Birdathon, an annual event that brings hundreds of birders outdoors for spring scoping and raises money for conservation programs in the state.

The slogan: see a bird, save a bird.

The goal is to raise $70,000, according to the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative.

Birders — there are no restrictions on experience levels — join a team or create a team online and then find sponsors to pledge to donate for each species a team sees during a 24-hour period.

“It’s like a walkathon but with birds instead of miles,” says Diane Packett, whose role as birdathon coordinator is to manage the website, recruit participants and help as many as 100 teams get set up to raise money and count birds.

Some teams got out as early as April 15, but the event continues through June 15.

Among the participants are eight teams of hotshot birders with a goal of raising $30,000:

  • Lake Superior eBirders in Ashland and Bayfield counties, who last year counted 161 species.
  • Madison Green Team of Dane County, who travel by bike, foot and kayak in search of birds at the UW Arboretum, Dunn’s Marsh, along the Capital City Bike Trail, in the Nine-Springs Wetlands and elsewhere.
  • Cutright’s Old Coots, whose territory includes Ozaukee, Sheboygan, Fond du Lac and Dodge counties and who participate in honor of Wisconsin Conservation Hall of Fame member Noel Cutright.

Other celebrated teams include Curlew & Screech representing Columbia, Dane, Iowa, Sauk, Richland, Grant and Crawford counties; Secretary Birds of Door County and Green Bay; WSO Tessen Team of the Green Lake region; MotMotley Crew of Dodge County and the Titmouseketeers of Eau Claire, Dunn and Buffalo counties.

“The signature teams include the state’s most serious birders, but the Great Wisconsin Birdathon can be great fun for everyone, no matter what skill level,” says Ruth Oppedahl, executive director of the NRFW. “Birding in your backyard for just a few hours is a wonderful way to learn about Wisconsin’s birds, while also taking action to help conserve them.”

Packett says, “You can make the birdathon whatever you went. We have someone who does the birdathon from his backyard. Some people spend half a day. Some people start at midnight and drive around the state.”

Students also get involved, including a grade-school class that identifies species on a neighborhood walk.

“A lot of people think it is a great big species competition,” said Packett. “It can be. But it doesn’t have to be.”

The birdathon benefits the Bird Protection Fund, which supports the Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas II, Osa Conservation and the recovery of whooping cranes and the Kirtland’s warbler.

Get involved

The Great Wisconsin Birdathon continues through June 15, a partnership between the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative. To create or join a team or pledge to a team, visit wibirdathon.org.

Nick Anich of the Lake Superior eBirders team celebrates seeing a white-breasted nuthatch. — PHOTO: Ryan Brady
Nick Anich of the Lake Superior eBirders team celebrates seeing a white-breasted nuthatch.
— PHOTO: Ryan Brady

Big Share campaign to benefit 70 nonprofits in Wisconsin

Today is a super Tuesday in Wisconsin. Community Shares of Wisconsin is hosting the  2016 Big Share on March 1 to benefit 70 local nonprofits “that are building a fair, just community and protecting our environment.”

The Big Share is a 24-hour online fundraising event in support of Community Shares’ nonprofit groups.

Now in its second year,  The Big Share is an easy way to donate to and learn more about community groups. From one page, donors can direct their gifts to the causes they care most about.

Community Shares launched The Big Share in 2015,  raising more than $232,000 from 1,750 donors.  An announcement said, “CSW member nonprofits raised much-needed funds to support their missions, while also increasing their skills and knowledge of online fundraising and social media outreach.”

To advance the campaign, organizers partnered this year with businesses offering incentive prizes or hosting special events throughout the day, including Mini of Madison, ZenDesk, Home Savings Bank, Delta Properties, National Guardian Life, MG&E, Sprinkman Real Estate, Madison Community Foundation, Supranet, Plan B, Java Cat, Yelp and others.

“The results of the 2015 Big Share show that donations of any size can have a collective impact,” CSW executive director Crystel Anders said. “Beyond the funds raised, The Big Share engaged new individuals in the work of our members. Participating organizations  were able to connect with new supporters and reconnect with past donors—all thanks to the viral nature of this online giving day.”

The Madison Community Foundation again will serve as partnering sponsor of The Big Share.

“In its inaugural year the Big Share raised significantly more than planned,” stated Bob Sorge, Madison Community Foundation president. “That’s a great testament to all the partners who participated in the day – and particularly to Community Shares. We have March 1 highlighted on the calendar. We will participate. We will give. And we invite the community to join us.”

A key reason for the success of  The Big Share is the training and technical assistance offered by CSW to its member nonprofits in the areas of online fundraising and social media campaigns. CSW can provide this because of sponsorship from MG&E and a grant from The Evjue Foundation, which supports CSW’s long-standing partnership with the UW-Madison School of Journalism and Mass Communications. Student interns from that department, as well as UW staff, provide additional expertise and support to CSW and its members. Furthermore, UW-Madison students receive real-world experience in strategic communications and project evaluation.

To find out more about The Big Share, visit www.thebigshare.org.


Bundle up for a good cause, great tunes at Mitten Fest

Why wait until the temperatures warm to enjoy an outdoor music festival? On Feb. 7, Bay View bar Burnhearts will present its third annual Mitten Fest — a free, one-day music festival benefiting the Hunger Task Force.

Burnhearts owner William Seidel says the idea came as a result of an annual summer block party, a giant bash that takes over more than a block of Potter Avenue at the end of June. Two years ago, Seidel and the Burnhearts team got tired of waiting a whole year to host another event and realized there was nothing more Wisconsin than holding a music festival in the middle of a February afternoon.

Seidel said there were some doubts. He and the bar were inundated with comments like, “‘This is not going to work, and nobody’s gonna show up.’”

But the first two years proved the doubters wrong. Both concerts featured strong attendance and last year, Mitten Fest collected more than $2,500 for the Hunger Task Force, along with a ton of food and 36 giant bags of winter clothing.

“(The winter placement) gives people a little bit of light before the end of a dark tunnel,” Seidel said. “Going on its third year, it has become quite a big event.”

This year’s concert will feature Canopies, Greatest Lakes, Towers and Sin Bad. DJ Chris Schulist, a co–founder of local hip hop rarities record label Dope Folks Records, will provide music between sets.

Seidel said deciding who to select “boils down to who hasn’t played at the festival yet,” in part, but he also likes to pick acts that are on the upswing.

This year’s bands certainly qualify.

Synthpop quintet Canopies was recently featured on college radio tracker CMJ, thanks to promotion from WMSE. Greatest Lakes’ dreamy single “Looking In” was listed as one of the 10 best Milwaukee songs of 2014 by the Journal Sentinel’s Piet Levy. And both Towers and Sin Bad made waves when they debuted in the garage rock scene this year.

Seidel said playing in the cold can be daunting for bands, but he’s able to convince them to sign on by reminding them that “people who come don’t forget that show.”

In addition to the music and a craft fair, Mitten Fest will feature specialty drinks provided by the event’s sponsors: Central Waters Brewery, in Amherst, Wisconsin, and Founders Brewing Company, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Seidel said Founders was invited because you can’t have a Mitten Fest without inviting a brewery from the “Mitten State.”

The tastiest beverage might be Burnhearts’ own concoction: a specialty brandy old-fashioned. “We take old used bourbon barrels and fill them with Korbel brandy,” Seidel says. “In one of them we put 40 pounds of fresh ginger and simple syrup, and then we age it for quite a few months. The other one we put in all the fixings for a traditional Wisconsin old-fashioned.” The cocktails are sold at Mitten Fest and then the empty barrels are turned over to Central Waters, which will age beer in them for a year and sell the result at next year’s Mitten Fest.

It’s a tantalizing treat that Seidel said always draws attendees into Burnhearts — but they’re not the only local beneficiaries. “There are lots of other bars and restaurants in the neighborhood, and they love it when people show up to get warm, have something to eat or drink, and then head back,” Seidel said.

First-timers, take heed of Seidel’s parting suggestion: “Bring three pairs of socks, and make sure you have nice warm boots.”


Burnhearts’ third annual Mitten Fest is noon–8 p.m. on Feb. 7, at 2599 S. Logan Ave. Attendance is free, but food, clothing and cash donations for Hunger Task Force are encouraged. Visit facebook.com/burnheartsbar for more details.

Second Hand Purrs hosts fundraisers

Second Hand Purrs, a no-kill cat shelter in Milwaukee, is conducting two fundraising campaigns this fall.

The shelter, 4300 S. Howell Ave., is offering Boston Store Community Day coupon books for a $5 donation. The shelter partners with the retailer and will have representatives at the Mayfair store for two hours on Nov. 3.

Additionally, the shelter is holding a fundraiser to cover medical bills for new several new kittens that exceed the organization’s usual medical expenses. 

The shelter’s website is http://secondhandpurrs.org. 

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Fondy Farm Feast serves as fundraiser

Milwaukee farm-to-table chefs prepare a multi-course meal with ingredients from the Fondy Farmers Market, Fondy Farm and other local producers for the Fondy Farm Feast.

The event is set for 4 p.m. on Aug. 26 at Fondy Farm, 850 County Highway P, Port Washington. Tickets are $100.

Guests mingle with farmers and take a tour, then feast and then savor dessert while musicians entertain.

Proceeds benefit the Fondy Farmers Market, 2200 W. Fond du Lac Ave., and the Fondy Farm Project in Port Washington.

“We thought a farm dinner would be a fun way to show our supporters where some of the food at the market is grown and to share our other projects with the community,” said Fondy Food Center executive director Young Kim.

Benefit sponsors include the Brewers Community Foundation, BMO Harris Bank and Gorman & Company, with donations also from Digital Edge Copy & Print Centers in Milwaukee and Tony and Lori Koch. 

For more, go to www.fondymarket.org.

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Target celebrating Pride with T-shirts

Target Corporation is celebrating LGBT Pride Month with the launch of a line of Pride-themed T-shirts.

The T-shirts, being sold on the company’s Website, debuted this week, just as Christian right groups were organizing a boycott of Gap for a billboard ad featuring two men in a Gap T-shirt.

Sales of Target’s Pride T-shirts benefit the Family Equality Council, which is based in Boston and “connects, supports, and represents the one million lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender parents in this country and the two million children they are raising.”

Some shirts display the slogan “Love is Love,” some repeat “Harmony” in a rainbow of colors, one has a rainbow wave and another a rainbow Rayban-like sunglasses.

Target, according to its Website, will contribute up to $120,000 in sales of Pride merchandise to FEC.

The company also supports Pride events in Minnesota and rates highly with the Human Rights Campaign for its LGBT employment policies.

But two years ago, Target was the focus of a boycott by LGBT activists opposed to $150,000 in donations to the anti-gay Minnesota Forward.

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Camp Bingo benefits AIDS Network

Tickets are on sale for Summer Camp Bingo, which is set for June 16 at Fruit Fest and planned to benefit AIDS Network.

Campers will play four games of bingo for cash prizes – all the while being entertained and visited upon by special guests.

There also will be a raffle that weekend at Plan B, 924 Williamson St., Madison.

Camp Bingo tickets are $12 in advance.

For more, go to campbingo.kintera.org.

Benefit to help deported gay Milwaukeean

A benefit to raise money for Helaman Iquique’s immigration battle will be held from 4 to 10 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 24, at The Wherehouse in Walker’s Point.

Iquique was deported to Guatemala in January 2009 an hour before a judge granted a stay in his immigration case. He hasn’t seen his partner of 10 years nor his extended family in Milwaukee since then.

Iquique escaped to the United States with his mother as a child. He was given a Social Security number and work permits for more than 22 years before INS officials suddenly arrested him at his job.

Money raised from the Oct. 24 benefit will help pay the substantial legal bills Iquique’s partner Wade Twamley has incurred in his fight to bring Iquique home. Sponsors of the event include U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, Milwaukee LGBT Community Center, BESTD Clinic, WiG and the Milwaukee Gay Arts Center.

The fundraiser will feature guest speakers and information booths in addition to lighter entertainment such as music, raffles, a silent auction and a free buffet. A $10 donation is suggested at the door.

For more information, call 414-217-0766.

From WiG and AP reports.