2020 Philanthropic 5 Awards
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United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County

2020 Philanthropic 5 Awards

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Watch the video from August 8, 2020.



Award Presentor: Michelle Nettles, 2009 Philanthropic 5 Winner

Mary Ferwerda serves as executive director of the Milwaukee Justice Center, the civil legal aid self-help center that provides assistance to over 10,000 self-represented people each year. Mary has been honored by the State Bar of Wisconsin with two Legal Innovator Awards. Mary is a coach for PEARLS for Teen Girls’ Career and College Program, providing guidance and support to a talented and brilliant young woman who graduated in May, with honors, from Marquette University.

Mary holds both bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Creighton University, a J.D. from Marquette University Law School, and a certificate in Dispute Resolution from Marquette Graduate School. In her free time, Mary enjoys spoiling her two dogs and exploring the Urban Ecology Center arboretum.

I have nominated her because she positively impacts every corner of our community. She seeks out those in need, and provides a helping hand. Her ability to marshal volunteers and lead people has meant that she has taken modest resources, and parlayed them into maximum impacts. Put simply, Mary Ferwerda is the physical embodiment of what this award stands for. - Jacob Haller

Award Presentor: Jason Rae, 2019 Philanthropic 5 Winner

Ashley Hines is the diversity and inclusion manager at the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW). With nearly a decade of comprehensive experience at MCW, she is trusted to build and implement institutional inclusion initiatives, inform the organizational brand strategy, manage system-wide goals, influence senior leaders through reciprocal mentorship, and, most recently, lead COVID-19 communications. A native of Milwaukee, Ashley earned her bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Family Studies-Child Development from the University of Wisconsin -- Madison. She has received several distinctions, including the 2015 MCW President’s Award for Diversity and Inclusion and 2017 Milwaukee Business Journal 40 under 40 Award. Ashley lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with her husband and their two children.

Her commitment to equipping communities to create spaces where everyone feels valued, respected and empowered to contribute is a direct example of the characteristic a P5 Awardee should embody. - Jasmine Johnson


Award Presentor: Ranell Washington, 2018 Philanthropic 5 Winner

Sean Lowe, born and raised in Milwaukee, is a planning and product support senior specialist at Northwestern Mutual. He has been a member of the Milwaukee Urban League Young Professionals since 2005 in various leadership positions including a three-year run as a national award-winning chapter president. He is the past National Urban League Young Professionals membership recruitment and retention chair, central region vice president, and current national treasurer. Sean is a Milwaukee Business Journal 40 Under 40 award winner, was featured in Who’s Who in Black Milwaukee, and was named one of the most influential African-Americans in the State of Wisconsin by Madison 365. Sean has also been appointed by the City of Wauwatosa to serve on the Equity & Inclusion Commission where he is chairman.

Sean’s ability to lead in so many different roles throughout the community, locally and nationally, are a testament to his heart for people and his desire for progression on every level. Sean uses his gifts, education and skills to make the Greater Milwaukee community a better place. - Dr. Eve M. Hall


Award Presentor: Kelsey Brenn, 2018 Philanthropic 5 Winner

Lindsey & John Muchka met while attending the University of Wisconsin - Madison. Following graduation, John’s desire to pursue a degree in Pharmacy took them to Georgia where both pursued higher education with John earning his Doctorate in Pharmacy and Lindsey her Master’s in Business Administration. The pull of family and friends brought them back to Wisconsin where they have since settled in Lake Country with their two sons, Noah and Luke.

John currently serves as the PGY-1 residency coordinator and a clinical pharmacist for Froedtert Menomonee Falls Hospital. Lindsey is the sr. marketing manager at Tailored Label Products.

With John’s passion to improve community health and Lindsey’s experience with non-profit organizations, they founded Pharm to Tables Charitable Organization, inspiring health systems across the state of Wisconsin (and Midwest) to raise food and funds for food-insecure individuals in their respective communities.

They have food drives, charity auctions and a host of other efforts including using their own home at times as the food warehouse! They use their small but effective squad to deliver the food and funds raised to a targeted group of pantries in Milwaukee and Waukesha County that they have built some powerful relationships with. - Michael Erwin

Award Presentor: Catherine Pederson, 2016 Philanthropic 5 Winner

Brandon Tschacher is one of Milwaukee’s most visible and respected advocates for the city’s next generation of leaders. Professionally, Brandon is the director of marketing for the Wisconsin and Upper Michigan region of Thrivent Financial. On a volunteer basis, he served on the Salvation Army of Milwaukee’s Advisory Board and was also the co-founder of Echelon Milwaukee, a Salvation Army emerging professionals initiative. Brandon also previously helped launch the emerging professional’s group “HMI 100” with Historic Milwaukee, focused on bringing new voices and talent to the topic of historic preservation. A Milwaukee Business Journal 40 Under 40 award winner also, Brandon lives in Brookfield with wife Samantha, son Charleston, and Coonhound Bradee on a 145-year-old historic property, the Bradee farm.

Brandon is a wonderful, gracious, empathic, and others oriented person. People note him for his kindness and gentleness. He rallies by consensus and persuasion. And he does so with inoffensive tenacity. I suggest it is the key to his effectiveness as a leader. - Eric E. Hobbs

Award Presentor: Dante Houston, Titus Talent Strategies, United Way Emerging Leader Co-chair

Philanthropic Youth 

Britny Helmrich is a sophomore at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee studying early childhood and special education. Britny has been an active volunteer throughout her life, raising thousands of dollars for different charities, including The Wisconsin Autism Society, the Healing Center, Check-ups for Chicks, and American Heart Association. Throughout middle and high school, Britny found her passion for working with children with special needs when she began volunteering at Penfield Children’s Center at the age of seven. She was an active sexual assault prevention advocate, running Denim Day campaigns and educating more than 600 students each year. She continues this work today. Britny is also an active participant in the Black Lives Matter movement both in person and through social media. She thoroughly enjoys giving back to others and hopes to be making a difference in the world every day.

She proudly displays the vision and creativity to inspire others to become more involved in the community, reach out to those who are not as privileged, and share their talents to make a positive change in the community and world. - Kate Easton