July 19, 2016
Each year, United Way's Emerging Leaders
honor five community leaders and one Philanthropic Youth winner for their commitment to the community through the Philanthropic Five awards
The Philanthropic Five awards recognize five community leaders in their 20s, 30s and 40s who give, advocate and volunteer for change. The Philanthropic Youth award recognizes a youth community leader under 21 years old. Meet the 2016 Award Winners: Grady Crosby, Catherine Draeger-Pederson, Molly Hogan, Katie Maloney Perhach, Matt Walker and Philanthropic Youth Winner Megan Dogra.
"His professional and personal commitment to this community is fueled by his advocacy, desire and quest to achieve equality for all citizens in Milwaukee, regardless of race, gender or sexual orientation."
Grady is elevating our community through his passion for diversity and inclusion. As Vice President, Public Affairs and Chief Diversity Officer at Johnson Controls, Grady is responsible for leading Johnson Controls’ government relations strategies, sustainability efforts and its philanthropic initiatives in order to maintain the company’s commitment to social responsibility, community involvement and the environment. He continues to drive Johnson Controls’ commitment to creating a diverse and inclusive workforce as well as partnering with a diverse vendor/supplier base aligned with company values. Grady also serves as president of the Johnson Controls Foundation. He serves on numerous boards, including Schools That Can Milwaukee, Public Policy Forum, Marcus Center for the Performing Arts, VISIT Milwaukee, and the Greater Milwaukee Committee. He is co-chair for the Diversity Leadership Society at United Way, and is a voice for diverse students enrolled at Marquette University’s Law School, as well as students enrolled in the MKE Fellows Initiative. Through his leadership, he’s elevated their experience by offering job shadow programs, access to internships, and mentoring opportunities within Johnson Controls.
"Catherine embodies the criteria of this award with her energy, entrepreneurial spirit and extraordinary commitment to volunteerism."
Catherine is a great leader who helps empower individuals and organizations to use their time and talents to give back and help others in need. As Executive Director of the nonprofit Friedens Community Ministries, a network of food pantries, bringing a dependable food supply to residents living in some of Milwaukee’s poorest neighborhoods. Catherine is also the founder of Shielded Hearts, a national organization that supports the families of law enforcement. Volunteering has also been an integral part of her life since youth and today she continues to instill those important values into the lives of her three children.
"Molly’s kind and generous heart paired with her strong work ethic and determination have benefited many throughout Milwaukee and beyond."
Molly’s commitment to volunteerism makes her an inspiration to those whose lives she’s personally touched within the veteran community. She has been a volunteer at almost every Stars and Stripes Honor Flight since the inception of the program and is a current board member. She is also a member of the Fisher House Wisconsin finance committee, whose mission is to provide a “home away from home” for Military and veteran families while their loved ones are treated at the Milwaukee VA. Molly also has a passion for mentoring youth and has served as a Corporate Work Study Mentor with Cristo Rey Jesuit High School, a “Big” with Big Brothers & Big Sisters and a classroom volunteer for Junior Achievement of Wisconsin. As part of her role as VP of Customer Experience at BMO Harris Bank she also helps mentor emerging talent within the organization about the importance of giving back throughout their professional career.
Katie Maloney Perhach
"Katie’s conviction to making a difference in the lives of those less fortunate is an inspiration."
Katie is a great example of an advocate who works tirelessly to help others in our community. In her 16 years practicing law, Katie’s passion to serve others has been witnessed by the clients she fought for in a multitude of pro bono legal matters because they couldn’t afford legal representation. As a member of the Wisconsin Board for People with Developmental Disabilities, she helped draft a five-year plan for the federal government that focused on improving the quality of life for people with developmental disabilities. As the Managing Partner of the Milwaukee office of Quarles & Brady LLP, Katie's passion for service extends even further through her support of education, hunger, disability rights, and non-profit organizations in the greater Milwaukee community.
"Matt has inspired and educated his colleagues, friends and others in the community on the importance of giving back and making sure to engage others in the conversation and process."
Matt is mobilizing and motivating the next generation to start giving back. Matt is one of the founding members of Echelon, a young professionals group at the Salvation Army that provides young adults’ opportunities to network, fundraise and volunteer. To date, the group of 50 members has raised over $10,000 and contributed over 1,100 hours of volunteer service to our community. In addition to his work with Salvation Army, Matt has volunteered for Habitat for Humanity, Hunger Task Force, Boys and Girls Club and Big Brothers, Big Sisters. Matt has also encouraged his colleagues at Thrivent Financial to support The Salvation Army and WISN’s “Class Act” Back to School drive which has helped generate 2,500 school supplies for students in need.
Philanthropic Youth Winner
Megan Sai Dogra
"When you meet Megan, she comes across as a typical teenager, full of energy, but behind that carefree face is also a dedicated young woman determined to help those impacted by the world’s worst industrial disaster."
Megan is making her mark helping children here at home and across the world. The 12th grade high school student from Milwaukee has put in 718 hours of service in just three years. In 2013, she was a student volunteer with WCAIO (Wisconsin Coalition of Asian Indian Organizations) a 501 (c) 3. Along with other team members she helped raise money for Back to School Bash, school supplies were distributed to underprivileged children at the event at Miller Park. In 2014, she helped organize a fundraiser, Students Supporting Students with WCAIO members and all proceeds were donated to Milwaukee Police Department's STOP program. In 2015, she was the lead student volunteer and organized the fundraiser Students Supporting Students II, talent show by students from the metro Milwaukee area. All proceeds benefited the children at Prevent Blindness Wisconsin. Globally, Megan has made it her mission to improve the quality of life for children affected by the Bhopal disaster in India. After visiting the Chingari Rehabilitation Center, she started her own charity Assist Bhopal to raise awareness and funds for the children served at the center. To date, Megan has raised $24,761 to benefit disabled children of Bhopal. She also served as a youth volunteer at United Community Center, tutored for Operation DREAM and a camp instructor with Thiensville Police Department.
Join us in celebrating the winners on August 18, 2016 at the Philanthropic 5 Awards.