Monthly Archives: July 2015

meet the mcginnitys: laying a strong foundation for milwaukee’s future

A few weeks ago, I was very excited to read in The Atlantic how a person can make a great difference in the world. This area of study assesses “effective altruism.”

Effective altruism: a philosophy and social movement which applies evidence and reason to determining the most effective ways to improve the world

Betsy, Annie and Megan

The McGinnitys use a systems approach to their foundation and would love to incubate newer, smaller nonprofits, and then help them along a pipeline to midrange and eventually larger foundations for funding. They’re on a quest for the answers: “What difference does this make? How do we know?”

My heart broke a teeny bit when I read what these scientists believe about how to make the biggest difference. Work for a nonprofit that aligns with your life goals? Nah. Instead, they say to get a job that makes great money and donate (a significant percentage) to possibly even fund an entire salary. That’s how you do it. Well, shoot.

I looked into a bit of what I’ll call “actual altruism”: 95.4 percent of Americans donated to nonprofits in 2014, a 7.1 percent increase from 2013. The average person donates about 2-3ish percent of their income to nonprofits, depending on how much money they make. That is generous, kind and necessary, and it makes me think of Jazz when she said how nonprofits and other organizations create the infrastructure and resources that enable policies to actually get boots on the ground. These organizations and their donors are vital.

Some people have a little extra panache when it comes to making the biggest difference in their community. The McGinnity family of Milwaukee—grown daughters Megan, Betsy, Annie and Katie, and parents Tom and Maggie—launched the McGinnity Family Foundation in winter 2014. Continue reading

piequest pilgrimage

I just got home from a journey so intense, so grueling and so challenging, I’m not sure I can share the full extent of it with just words.

That’s why I’m glad we have pictures. (And taste buds and imaginations!)

My mom and I just got back from the First Annual PieQuest Pilgrimage! And it was deeee-licious.

We decided to take three days to explore and locate some of the Midwest’s best pie. And we didn’t forget the rest of the family: fruit pies, cream pies, quiches and tarts! Potpies, pasties, and even a cobbler made the docket. We ranked them by crust, filling and overall experience.

We deviated quite a bit from our original plan (pictured), and instead went Madison >> Viroqua, Wis. >> Red Wing, Minn. >> Stockholm, Wis. >> Minneapolis >> Pepin, Wis.

We deviated quite a bit from our original plan (pictured), and instead went Madison >> Viroqua, Wis. >> Red Wing, Minn. >> Stockholm, Wis. >> Minneapolis >> Pepin, Wis.

Continue reading

meet kate: chicago improv teacher and performer

Kate Cohen, People with Panache

Kate’s favorite play is Metamorphoses by Mary Zimmerman. Her favorite musicals are The Music Man or Little Shop of Horrors. Her favorite characters to play right now are stressed out moms or angsty teenagers.

You know those times when you feel like you’ve never been busier and your to-do list keeps getting longer and then you meet someone who somehow does even MORE?!

Yeah, it kind of makes you feel a little bit better.

That’s how I felt when I spent an afternoon with Kate Cohen, a spunky improv comedian/grad student/education administrator. Her passion for all three oozes through in conversation and you can tell she loves the role each one plays in her life. Over fancy teacups of decadent, gourmet drinkable chocolate (Editor’s Note: Alysse is very upset she was not at the “drinkable chocolate” party and is boycotting this post from here on out.), Kate and I discussed what it’s like to work 9-to-5 in education administration at Northwestern, teach improv at Second City Training Center, perform improv on nights and weekends for four different theaters, and attend school part-time (also at Northwestern) earning a Master’s of Science in Learning and Organizational Change (MSLOC). Continue reading

meet missy: milwaukee photographer and artist

Missy + Pepper are Milwaukee

“When I was stationed in San Diego, besides being away from my family, I missed Milwaukee,” Missy says. “It’s authentic and real—not this uniform, plastic-surgery look and way of life.”

Missy Ziebart and Pepper

From 2003-2007, Missy was in the Navy!

It’s kind of funny photographing a photographer.

Missy Ziebart is an artist, a creative soul, an intriguing Milwaukeean. She was always a painter and illustrator—but she fell in love with photography and ceramics during college. Kate and I found her on Facebook through her Brightmoor Portrait Project, a “community art project aiming to celebrate the residents of Detroit through portraiture, written word and interaction.” It’s a gorgeous endeavor to burst through preconceived notions about one of the Midwest’s most talked-about cities. Continue reading