Northwestern Mutual sweats it out for First Stage

1:23 PM
By Francesca Kempfer, Development Director, First Stage Children's Theater

Last week, on arguably one of the hottest days of the summer so far, First Stage had the privilege of working with 18 volunteers from Northwestern Mutual to clean the grounds around the Scene Shop. They were volunteering for us as part of Northwestern Mutual’s “Leaving a Legacy” Program.

They hauled junk, they painted walls, they pulled weeds, they battled bees and they got very dirty and overheated on our behalf. We are so very grateful to all the volunteers that came out to help, the Scene Shop is much more pleasant thanks to their efforts.  Thank you, Northwestern Mutual!

Here is what Northwestern Mutual employee Fahmida Schilling wrote of that day:
I felt honored that my company gave our employees the opportunity to contribute our time to help organizations like First Stage. I have to admit, the “Extreme Makeover” title on First Stage's request caught my attention and I wasn’t sure what I was signing up for.  But it was a great experience. I was very proud of both the NM and First Stage staff members. We were hot, sweaty and pretty tired by the end, but everyone had a proud smile of accomplishment for a job well done.
Employee Fred Pilipuf had this to say:
I wanted to take advantage of this great opportunity that NM offered to serve others. I really didn’t know much about First Stage, but I’m very glad I volunteered and met some of them. Once I saw everything First Stage does to increase the quality of children’s lives, it was easy to find the drive to do more and more of the 'non-glory jobs' or dirty grunt work that no one normally wants to do. Maybe we should write a play about this experience? I’d have to say my favorite part of the day was when Stage Manager Jared Clarkin brought out the props from the show “Holes”, including the shovels, and we used them on the big weeds in back.
First Stage's Jeff Frank echoes my thanks as well:  "What a tremendous act of caring. Kudos to Northwestern Mutual for continuing to be a leader in giving back to the community. Their legacy here in Milwaukee and with First Stage specifically is certainly an amazing one."

Northwestern Mutual is committing to one million volunteer minutes throughout the southeast Wisconsin community as it kicks off its “Leaving a Legacy for Future Generations” volunteer initiative. As a gift, retiring Northwestern Mutual Chairman and CEO Ed Zore is offering the company’s 5,000 employees four hours of paid-time off to volunteer for a nonprofit in 2010. The company hopes to donate at least one million minutes of employee volunteer time by the end of the year.

Photos taken by Francesca Kempfer, First Stage Children's Theater.

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