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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 15th president and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee (BGCGM) and the second female to lead the Clubs since its founding in 1887 by Annabell Cook Whitcomb.

    Kathy’s career began at Saks Fifth Avenue in New York, where she would eventually become the first African American to hold the title Vice President for Divisional Merchandise. She then served as the President of the Retail Division for New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), where she doubled revenues and tripled profits. After 11 years at MoMA, Kathy became Bang & Olufsen’s President of North America, launching a new revenue stream which would ultimately produce 30 percent of the overall sales for the company. She later moved to Milwaukee to become the President and Chief Operating Officer of the Verlo Mattress franchise.

    Kathy serves a board member for Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s The Professional Association (TPA). Additionally, Kathy has served on numerous non-profit boards including as a current board member of the Milwaukee Art Museum and the JP Cullen Advisory Council. She is a member of the Affordable Housing Institute’s Milwaukee Advisory Team, the Greater Milwaukee Committee, the Metropolitan Milwaukee Chamber of Commerce and TEMPO Milwaukee. She is also a member of the Private Directors Association WI Chapter and The Links, Inc. Milwaukee Chapter.

    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.”

    Kathy has a degree in communications from the University of Virginia and an MBA from New York University.

  • 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.

  • Nicole Gulatz, VP Development

    Nicole Gulatz began her career at the American Red Cross’ national headquarters in 2007. Following that, she served in a variety of roles supporting disaster, in-kind donations and national corporate partnerships. In 2012, she moved to Milwaukee to focus on managing relationships with some of the Midwest’s largest supporters, including many Fortune 500 companies.

    Nicole served as the Chief Development Officer at the American Red Cross – Wisconsin Region from 2015-2019. During this time, Nicole led the team through episodic response campaigns for statewide flooding, and multiple national responses including Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria & Michael.

    Nicole is a member of TEMPO, the Planned Giving Council of Eastern Wisconsin and is a past president of the Junior League of Milwaukee where she remains an active member. Outside of work, Nicole enjoys movies, hiking and long-distance running. She and her husband Blake live in Murray Hill with three rescue pets. Nicole is a native of Kenosha, Wisconsin and is a graduate of UW-Madison.

  • 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.

  • Deonte Lewis, VP Community Affairs and Engagement

    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. The mission has come full circle as he has been called to serve as the Vice President of Community Affairs and Engagement! “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

    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.

  • Skip Robinson, VP Camp & Club Operations

    Skip’s journey with the Movement began as a child when he joined his local Boys Club in metro Detroit. He says his experience as a Club kid was essential to his development as a person and as a professional. Skip has held multiple positions in a variety of Clubs across the country after playing professional basketball in Europe for several years following his graduation from the University of Nebraska.

    Skip started his career in the Movement as a locker room attendant. In fact, he worked for 10 years at what is now our Pieper-Hillside Club as Athletic Director and Unit Director. Then Skip moved to Florida to serve as the Vice President of Operations with the Boys & Girls Club of Palm Beach County. While at BGC Palm Beach County, Skip was presented with the opportunity to join the Milwaukee Bucks as the Vice President of Player Development/Community Relations; a position he held for 15 years. After leaving the Bucks, he found a new home with the Boys & Girls Club of Collier County in Naples, FL, as the Vice President of Operations – a position he has held for five years.

  • 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

Robert Lane Mikulay, Board Chair, Partner, City Lights Brewing

Gregory Wesley, Board 1st Vice Chair, Senior Vice President, Strategic Alliances and Business Development, Medical College of Wisconsin

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

David Gay, Board Treasurer, Managing Partner, Ernst & Young LLP

Kevin Anderson, Market President, Old National Bank

Tyler Barnes, Senior Vice President Communications and Affiliate Operations, Milwaukee Brewers

James Barry III, President, The Barry Company

Thomas Bolger

Sandra Botcher, Vice President Field Experience, Northwestern Mutual

Chytania Brown, President and CEO, Employ Milwaukee

P. Shannon Burns, Harley-Davidson Motor Company

Peter Feigin, President, Milwaukee Bucks

Alexander Fraser, Partner, Michael Best & Friedrich LLP

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

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

Patrick Hammes, Principal, Hammes Partners

Christopher Harris-Wimsatt, Owner, North Avenue Market LLC

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

John Heimsch, Water’s Edge Boat Club

Renée Herzing, President Herzing Educational System, Herzing University

Tanya Hines, Vice President Commercial Excellence, Clarios

Charles James, Chairman Emeritus, Robertson Ryan & Associates

Jerome Janzer, Chair 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

Michael Lappin, Foley & Lardner LLP

Keith Mardak

Patti Brash McKeithan

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

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

Robert Pyles, President, MacPyles Corporation

David Radtke, Sr. Vice President Investment Officer, RBC Wealth Management

Greg Revelle, Senior Executive Vice President Chief Marketing Officer, Kohl’s Corporation

Thelma Sias, CEO, The Sias Group

Daniel Sinykin, President, Monterey Mills

Guy Smith, President, Lilly Creek Capital Partners LLC

Judson Snyder, President, BMO Harris Equipment Finance

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

Beth Straka, Senior Vice President Corporate Communications & Investor Relations, WEC Energy Group

Ronald 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

Madonna Williams

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

Scott Wrobbel, Retired Managing Partner, Deloitte


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 2019 annual report and learn about last year's operational revenue and expenses, event highlights, Club locations, donors and sponsors and more!