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Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee has helped local kids and teens since 1887 when Annabell Cook Whitcomb transformed two basement rooms at Plymouth Church on Milwaukee’s east side into a Club for boys.

Today, we are the largest youth-serving agency in the city and have grown to be one of the largest Boys & Girls Clubs in the country.

Every day, thousands of Milwaukee’s youth stream through our doors and participate in academic and recreational programming. We provide safety and support during critical hours of the day as well as meals, strong role models, organized athletics and access to the arts. At the Clubs, there’s a way for every kid to get involved and learn something new.

Our vision is to build the community’s social and economic fabric by ensuring the academic and career success of every Club member who walks through our doors or engages with our programs virtually. We achieve this by providing more impactful programs that appeal to our members, strengthen their academic performance, build character, encourage healthy lifestyles and meet the basic needs of Milwaukee’s youth.

None of our work would be possible without the commitment of 600 full- and part-time employees, passionate volunteers, as well as a dedicated Leadership Team and Board of Trustees. Together, the group is guided by the same passion that drove Cook Whitcomb all those years ago: To inspire and empower the youth who need us most.


Please visit our Give Today page for our latest audited financial statement.

Our Mission

The mission of Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee is to inspire and empower all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens.

  • Kathy Thornton-Bias, President & CEO

    Kathy Thornton-Bias is the second female to lead Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee since its founding in 1887 by Annabell Cook Whitcomb. She has had an extensive career at leadership positions at Saks Fifth Avenue, Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), Bang & Olufsen’s and the Verlo Mattress franchise.

    Kathy serves on a number of boards including the Milwaukee Art Museum, JP Cullen’s Advisory Council and Versiti, Inc. She is also a member of the Greater Milwaukee Committee, the Metropolitan Milwaukee Chamber of Commerce, the Rotary Club of Milwaukee, and TEMPO Milwaukee. Additionally, she is a member The Links, Inc. Milwaukee Chapter. In early 2022, she was appointed by Governor Evers to serve on the State of Wisconsin’s Unemployment Advisory Council.

    Kathy has received widespread recognition from several esteemed publications including Ebony Magazine, which placed her on their “Power 100” list, and Essence Magazine, which named her to their list of “Game Changers.” In 2021, she was recognized by the Milwaukee Business Journal with the Women of Influence award and was awarded “CEO of the Year” by the Wisconsin Area Council of Boys & Girls Clubs of America. In 2022, she was recognized with the “Gary Grunau Champion Award” by the Milwaukee Academy of Science (MAS). In 2023, Kathy was named one of Milwaukee Business Journal’s Power Brokers that recognizes the key movers and shakers in southeastern Wisconsin’s business community.
    Kathy has a degree in communications from the University of Virginia and an MBA from New York University.

  • Andre X. Douglas, Assistant Vice President College, Career, and Teen Services

    Andre Douglas serves as the Assistant Vice President of Teen Services at Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee. In his position, Andre oversees our Graduation Plus, Career Development, H.E.A.R.T. Initiative, and Leadership and Service Programs.

    A Champion for students and education evangelist, Andre has committed his career and life to helping students create opportunities as they strive to develop their mission and purpose. Andre, a first-generation college student, graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Speech. Andre received his Master of Science degree in College Personnel Administration from Concordia University-Wisconsin. He has held previous positions at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, Blackhawk Technical College, and Marquette University.

    During his career, he has coached and mentored thousands of students to and through college. Many students credit Andre for their success because of his support, passion, and servant leadership. In addition, Andre helps propel scholars to always strive for excellence and chase their dreams through college access & success prep, public speaking training, and personal and professional development.

    In 2022, Andre was named the inaugural recipient of the Milwaukee Finest Scholarship Foundation Student Empowerment Award winner and the High School Counseling Professional of the Year by the Wisconsin Association of College Admissions Counselors. Andre was named the 2021 Distinguished Leader Award winner by the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network Greater Milwaukee Chapter. In addition, the Milwaukee Times Newspaper named Andre as an Outstanding Community Leader award winner in 2020. In 2019, the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater named Andre as an Outstanding Recent Alumni award winner. Recently, Andre and his team (Graduation Plus) were selected as the Mentoring Program of the Year by Mentor Greater Milwaukee powered by the Milwaukee Bucks.

  • Kat Ebert, Chief of Staff

    As a 1996 graduate of Marquette University, Kat began her professional career in marketing and public relations for Milwaukee World Festival (Summerfest). After her first year at Summerfest, she was tapped to manage the Pin Program and lead 500+ Summerfest volunteers. Kat then felt called to use her talents to support the nonprofit realm and for the past 20+ years she has served in leadership roles in school development, communications, and events and stewardship at various religious and educational institutions in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee including St. Joan Antida High School, Lumen Christi Catholic Parish & School and Notre Dame Middle School. She also served as the development director for a nonprofit missioner organization for two years.

    After taking a few years off to raise her two small boys, Kat returned to working in the nonprofit arena in special events for Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee (BGCGM). Kat eventually accepted the Executive Liaison to the CEO role and was just recently promoted to Chief of Staff for BGCGM President and CEO, Kathy Thornton-Bias.

    When not working, Kat devotes as much free time as she can to her husband, Patrick, her two sons, Henry and Sam, and their dog and two cats.

  • David Knutson, VP Government Affairs & Special Initiatives

    David Knutson, a native Wisconsinite and graduate of the University of Wisconsin – Madison (1992), has worked in the government and not-for-profit sector since the early 1990’s holding positions at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee – Center for Economic Development (UWM-CED), City of Milwaukee – Department of Neighborhood Services, and the Social Development Commission prior to coming to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee in the late 1990’s.

    Dave has served as the Boys & Girls Club’s Vice President – Government Affairs / Special Initiatives since 2005. In this capacity, he leads a team of eight and is responsible for all local, state, and federal giving to the Boys & Girls Clubs. Dave also serves to support the funding strategy of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Wisconsin Alliance – 28 Boys & Girls Club organizations located throughout the State of Wisconsin. His strong belief in collaboration and outcome-based programming has been a guiding philosophy throughout his career. A few programmatic accomplishments Dave is most proud of include the licensing of Clubs as state-reimbursed child care facilities and the growth of the Department of Education – Investing in Innovation (i3)-funded SPARK Early Literacy Program.

    As a self-professed urban geek, Dave enjoys having the opportunity to integrate his passion for urban affairs and policy into his life’s work. Please consider reaching out to me. I welcome the opportunity to discuss new ways to partner with organizations throughout our City and region.

  • Marta Kwiatkowski, Chief Financial Officer

    Marta began her professional career with Virnig and Associates as the Director of Auditing. Responsible for audits of 50 clients, including school districts, non-profits and government entities. An early mentor and influencer led Marta to connect her professional expertise with a desire to emulate her role model and make an impact on the lives of students. This led her to complete her Master degree in Education with emphasis on school management and make a move into education finance. Marta has over 25 years of business, accounting and auditing experience, including 16 years of executive leadership for three public school districts. During her time in public schools, she has had to opportunity to develop and implement cost savings initiatives that improved the financial stability of the districts. This allowed the staff to implement many programs to improve the learning experience for all students. Marta was also responsible for oversight of multiple construction projects in excess of $200 Million.

    She was selected as the 2019 Wisconsin Business Manager of the Year, recognized for her leadership and contributions to public education. She also served as a Director for the Wisconsin Association of School Business Officials board.

    When Marta is not working, she enjoys spending time cheering on her son and daughter at swim meets with her husband Kevan.

  • Deonte Lewis, VP Camp and Club Operations

    Born and raised in Milwaukee, the Club was Deonte’s second home. His journey with the Clubs began at the age of four, where he was empowered and inspired by some key staff who are still prevalent in his life today. With a strong desire to give back to the organization and community that invested in him, he has had the honor of serving in numerous capacities within the Boys & Girls Clubs Movement both in Houston and Milwaukee. “Though my roles and location may have changed over the years, one thing remains, I am a product of 53206 and “The L” (LaVarnway Boys & Girls Club)!”

    Deonte believes wholeheartedly in the Milwaukee community. “I look forward to breaking down silos, shuffling chairs and creating tables that connect resources to positively shift the life trajectory of not only the youth we serve but also the community in which we dwell.”

    Deonte is a proud Alumni of Cardinal Stritch’s African American Leadership Program(AALP) and serves as the Midwest Regional Chair for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s Society of African American Professionals(SOAAP). Outside of work, Deonte enjoys golfing, traveling and spending time with his family.

  • Dawn Matson, VP Marketing and Communications

    Dawn is a passionate marketer that has spent most of her career helping large organizations drive results and shareholder value. She has both advertising agency and corporate marketing experience. Over almost 10 years in Marketing at Kohl’s Department Stores Dawn held progressive positions in creative and production, category and brand management and media planning and execution. She has led partnerships and integrations with ABC, NBC, Good Morning America, Entertainment Tonight, The Voice, The American Music Awards, Food Network, Vera Wang and Disney.

    Prior to joining BGCGM, Dawn spent almost 4 years with Harley-Davison Motor Company in Corporate Strategy and Consumer Experience roles. In addition, at Harley-Davidson she led annual company business planning, strategic planning and execution for Board of Directors quarterly reviews and a strategic growth initiative focused on new retail formats.

    Dawn is a native of South Dakota and holds a Bachelor of Science in Mass Communication from the University of South Dakota – Vermillion.

  • Kerry Mitchell, VP Human Resources

    With nearly 30 years of HR background, including 15 years of executive leadership experience across all aspects of human capital and HR operations, Kerry has found that organizational development, process improvement and talent development are where she adds significant value to organizations. She has led a wide range of functions, including talent acquisition, organizational development, employee relations, total rewards (benefits and compensation), learning & development, diversity & inclusion, leadership development, performance management and workforce planning. Her expertise spans multiple industries, including both private and public sectors.

  • Aaron Rice, Chief Development Officer

    Aaron Rice serves as the Chief Development Officer for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee. Aaron joined the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee in 2023 as a member of the senior leadership team, working cross-functionally as an organizational leader, and plays a key role in partnering with the community stakeholders to bring Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee into its next chapter of growth. Aaron oversees partnership initiatives, ensuring that Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee creates and maintains relationships with key corporate and community stakeholders.

    Prior to his move to Milwaukee, Aaron lived and served the Greater Atlanta community as the Chief Development Officer and Vice President of Innovation & Partnerships for one of Atlanta’s oldest non-profits, Families First. Prior to Families First, Aaron served as the Director of Business Engagement for United Way of Greater Atlanta.

    Aaron is a native of East Tennessee and now calls Milwaukee home. Since moving here and falling in love with the city and those in it, he is committed to serving those most vulnerable within the Greater Milwaukee community.

  • Melinda Wyant Jansen, VP Programs & Chief Academic Officer

    Melinda Wyant Jansen joined Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee in March of 2015 in the new role of Chief Academic Officer, and in March 2017 added the new role of Vice President of Programs. In this capacity, Melinda works closely with community partners to bridge the gap between student’s academic success at school and during the afterschool programs as well as directing our Club programs that focus on social emotional learning, health and wellness, and college and career readiness.

    Before joining the Clubs, Ms. Wyant Jansen served as a school counselor at Milwaukee Public Schools for 15 years as well as in a variety of leadership roles for the development and implementation of several programmatic district initiatives. Melinda launched her career by teaching in the Middle East and continued by relocating to Wisconsin to serve in various leadership roles at KinderCare Learning Centers, Teachers Pet Educational Stores, and Hal Leonard Corporation. At Hal Leonard, she proudly worked with Mister Rogers and his staff to develop early childhood products based on his music for classroom use.

    Wyant Jansen is a DPI licensed educator and counselor and an alumnus of both Anderson University and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee where she holds dual undergrad degrees in Early Childhood Education and Elementary Education and a Master’s degree in Educational Psychology and Counseling from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

    Wyant Jansen lives in Milwaukee with her husband, Greg, and has three grown children. She is the grandmother of eight grandchildren, including two sets of twins! She is a transplanted Hoosier, originally from Vincennes, Indiana.

Board of Trustees

Gregory M. Wesley, Board Chair, Senior Vice President, Strategic Alliances and Business Development, Medical College of Wisconsin

David Gay, Board 1st Vice Chair, Managing Partner, Ernst & Young LLP

Anne Zizzo, Board 2nd Vice Chair, President & CEO, Zizzo Group

William Fitzhugh Fox, Board Vice Chair – Legal, Partner, Fox, O’Neill & Shannon, S.C.

Linda Benfield, Board Secretary, Partner, Foley & Lardner LLP

M. Beth Straka, Board Treasurer, Senior Vice President Corporate Communications & Investor Relations, WEC Energy Group

Griselda Aldrete, Partner, Hansen Reynolds LLC

Kevin L. Anderson, Market President, Old National Bank

James T. Barry III, President, The Barry Company

Sandra Botcher, Vice President Field Experience, Northwestern Mutual

Chytania Brown, President and CEO, Employ Milwaukee

P. Shannon Burns, Head of Business Decision Support Office, Enerpac Corporation

Coreen Dicus Johnson, President & CEO, Network Health

Peter Feigin, President, Milwaukee Bucks

Charles B. Groeschell, Managing Director, Senior Portfolio Manager, Baird Advisors

Brian Grossman, Managing Director, Region Director – WI, Chase

Patrick Hammes, Principal, Hammes Partners

Andrew Harmening, President & CEO, Associated Bank

William C. Harris Morse, Owner, North Avenue Market LLC

Thomas J. Hauske, Jr., Chairman, Marshall Street Capital, Inc.

John Heimsch, Water’s Edge Boat Club

Renée Herzing, President Herzing Educational System, Herzing University

Tanya M. Hines, Hines & Associates

Jerome Janzer, Chairman Emeritus, Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren s.c.

Theresa Jones, Vice President Inclusion, Diversity & Equity, Children’s Wisconsin

Craig Jorgensen, President, VJS Construction Services

Tracey Joubert, Chief Financial Officer, Molson Coors Brewing Company

Carrie Killoran, President, Greater Milwaukee Patient Service Advocate, Area and Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center

Michael H. Lappin, Chief Legal and Strategy Officer, Network Health

Earnell Lucas, Vice President of Global Security & Investigations, Fiserv

Keith R. Mardak

Jeff McLean, President, ghSMART

Patti Brash McKeithan 

Robert L. Mikulay*, Partner, City Lights Brewing

Sal Miosi, President and Chief Operating Officer, MGIC Investment Corporation and MGIC

Donald Mondano, Senior Vice President, Global Controller and Treasurer, ManpowerGroup

Blake Moret, Chairman & CEO, Rockwell Automation

Jeffrey B. Norman, Chief, Milwaukee Police Department

Richard R. Pieper, Sr., Chairman Emeritus, PPC Partners, Inc.

Mitchell W. Quick, Partner, Michael Best & Friedrich LLP

Steven Raasch, President & CEO, Zimmerman Architectural Studios

Thelma A. Sias, CEO, The Sias Group LLC

Daniel Sinykin, President, Monterey Mills

Guy W. Smith*, President, Lilly Creek Capital Partners LLC

Judson M. Snyder, Regional President, BMO Wealth Management

Mary Ellen Stanek*, Managing Dir. & Chief Investment Officer, Baird Advisors

Bryce Tolefree, Vice President, Litigation, American Family Mutual Insurance Co.

Ronald A. Troy, Managing Attorney, RonTroy LLC

Harris Turer, CEO, The Milwaukee Admirals

Marc Vandiepenbeeck, Vice President and Treasurer, Johnson Controls

Richelle Webb Dixon, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Froedtert Hospital

Jay Wigdale, Founder/Managing Partner, Lakefront Partners, LLC

Madonna Williams

Scott A. Wrobbel*, Retired Managing Partner, Deloitte

Charles V. James*, Trustee Emeritus, Chairman Emeritus, BGCGM Trustee 1970-2023

Daniel F. McKeithan, Trustee Emeritus, BGCGM Trustee 1977-2018

James B. Wigdale, Trustee Emeritus, BGCGM Trustee 1977-2022

*Denotes Past Chairs


23% 4-8 years old
34% 9-12 years old
23% 13-15 years old
20% 16+ years old


53% Male
47% Female

Annual Report

View our 2021 annual report and learn about last year's operational revenue and expenses, event highlights, Club locations, donors and sponsors and more!