Growing roots in the Milwaukee community.

Community is at our core.

During 35 years of being in business, I have been often faced with the question of what is the “right” thing to do versus sacrificing purpose for profit. When it comes to this topic, there is no question in my mind that successful organizations must support the communities and industries in which they work, live and play.

As an organization, we at Bader Rutter have made this a higher priority in recent years. Over the years, we’ve supported groups like United Way, United Performing Arts Fund, and the Boys & Girls Club. But, in the past, we’ve supported more with dollars than with time and passion. We’ve changed that, particularly since our move to downtown Milwaukee. That move acted as a catalyst for BR’s increased engagement in the community. In some ways, we were introduced to the nonprofit world, and the opportunities have only grown since then. As you will see in this issue of The Download, we support many organizations with our talent, time and money.

Let me share a bit of my personal journey.

As a farm kid from Iowa, my eyes have been opened to the importance of giving back with every year that has passed by. You really can’t appreciate how important it is to volunteer your time and talent until you dive in. One of the groups BR has supported is MKE Fellows, which provides internships and mentorship to young Black men. I have had the privilege of mentoring four fellows over the last four years. It’s important to hear their stories of growing up in impoverished areas and the enormous family challenges of a single-parent upbringing. Stories like these are eye-opening, to put it lightly. But, despite all that, they are on the cusp of success that is defined in ways that are different than what I was taught. All I am doing is providing one more nudge toward getting them over that tipping point.

Make time to get personally involved.

We at BR support that, and it is needed. I can attest to how it has transformed me as a person. Giving is so much more fulfilling than getting.

About the Author

As chairman, Greg Nickerson splits his time between business development, financial oversight and serving on several non-profit boards representing Bader Rutter.  During his three decades at the agency, he has seen it more than triple in size and diversify its client base into many different industries. Greg counts among his accomplishments orchestrating an employee buy-out of the company from its founder in 2008 as well as leading the effort to locate and build a new headquarters in downtown Milwaukee.

Greg has long taken an active role in the Milwaukee community, from industry and trade groups to philanthropic community service. A long-time board member of the Betty Brinn Children’s Museum, he was recently elected President of their Board of Directors. Much to his chagrin, he has not been called down to the floor to help his beloved Milwaukee Bucks.