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Giving back with Community Collab


By Alan Hathaway, BrownBoots President & Owner

As thoughts turn from ghosts to gratitude, it seems appropriate to reflect on what’s important in life.

I’m also on the verge of wrapping up my third three-year term on the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Fond du Lac County’s Board of Directors, so I admit I’m feeling a bit sentimental about my time with this amazing organization. Sadly, three terms are all the bylaws currently allow.

During my tenure with BBBS, the organization has grown significantly, and I’m pleased to report that it’s in a very stable place. I’m extremely proud of the great leadership, strong staff, and a board that is loaded with talent and expertise. Because of everyone’s efforts, we are serving the youth in our community in a way that is more robust than ever before!

I’ve participated on a few different committees as well as served as the President of the Board for the Executive Committee, helping with transitions, strategic planning, and marketing. But those are only my most recent contributions.

My time with BBBS began much farther back.

The Enduring of an Era

As a young boy in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, I was a Little Brother who got paired up with a Big Brother volunteer. The program had a powerful impact on me.

Here was this other human being who was willing to spend an hour or two with me a couple of times each month. We could go hunting or fishing, build a model airplane (or at least start said model), work on a car, learn carpentry, or just engage in simple day-to-day activities. All of this boosted my self-esteem. I felt valuable and needed.

That experience as a Little Brother stuck with me ever since.

When I moved to Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, in the early 1990s, my first exercise volunteering in my new community was as a Big Brother. I was paired with a Little Brother named Logan. Together, we had a fantastic time creating artwork, hiking, watching movies, and bowling. I fondly remember participating in Rake Relief Day and painting murals on the walls of the BBBS activity room.

Even though my participation as a board member will end as of the November 2023 board meeting, I have no intention of walking away entirely. I will still serve as a member of the Community Engagement Committee and the newly formed Building Committee, which is exploring options for additional space as the organization continues to grow.

A Tradition of Giving Back

In addition to BBBS, I’ve also had the pleasure of volunteering with a variety of organizations that enrich the region I call home, including the Downtown Fond du Lac Partnership, Fond du Lac Association of Commerce, Fond du Lac Family YMCA, Children’s Museum of Fond du Lac and Moraine Park Technical College.

I guess you could say giving back is in my DNA, but it’s only because I believe in the good these — and other — organizations do. There’s no denying that nonprofits play a pivotal role in our cities, towns and neighborhoods. They fill gaps often overlooked by governments and businesses alike. In their core, it’s people helping people.

At BrownBoots, we’ve had the privilege of contributing countless gifts-in-kind to nonprofits, and our staff members have also volunteered their time with local schools, churches, charities, and service organizations. Additionally, the agency has provided reduced-rate website services to a wide variety of nonprofits. Many of those projects resulted from contacts from more mainstream website projects, such as a client who also serves on the board of a particular nonprofit board or committee.

People helping people.

Over the years, the agency has created close to 30 websites for nonprofits. Downtown Fond du Lac Partnership, Friends of Horicon Marsh (closely tied to longtime client Horicon Bank) and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Fond du Lac County endure to this day.

Of course, not every nonprofit has the owner of a website development agency on its board…

Introducing Community Collab

Nonprofit organizations possess expertise in many areas, but website design isn’t typically one of them. As a result, nonprofit websites tend to fall into disrepair, resulting in old-fashioned, outdated and even unfinished sites.

Meanwhile banks and credit unions have a long tradition of supporting nonprofits with their time, talents and donations.

We at BrownBoots seek to bridge the gap by offering affordable websites for nonprofits while giving financials the opportunity to contribute to half (or more!) of the cost. We discount the balance, and the nonprofit you support pays nothing. Think of it as a three-pronged partnership that benefits everyone — especially the people that depend on these local organizations.

We’re thrilled to launch Community Collab at a time of year where thankfulness and giving are top of mind but will champion the program into the new year and, hopefully, beyond. If you’re interested in partnering with BrownBoots to support a nonprofit with the gift of a new website or just want to learn more about Community Collab, please click the link below.

Regardless of how you contribute to your community, your efforts are appreciated. Have a very happy Thanksgiving!

Learn more about Community Collab and get started!

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