Working to Give

24 Mar, 2013

by Jenna Kashou

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Proudly showing off her black fleece sweater with the embroidered Pfister logo, I may have just met the Pfister’s biggest fan tonight. She and her husband were certainly fans of Jeff. Like any good bartender, he took to the attention like a moth to a flame and kept them entertained in the bustling Lobby Lounge where they were perfectly content taking in all the action.

Patty had neatly bobbed blonde hair, her rosy cheeks held up a pair of oval specs, and her meek smile was warm and inviting. Burt was in a collared shirt that peeked out loosely over the top of his sweater and had tousled mad-scientist hair.

They visited the Pfister every couple of months, whenever they had time.  They live in the southern tip of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, a mere three-hour drive to Milwaukee. This time they came to town to tour the Pabst Mansion, which they would recommend to anyone who has an interest in history.

“I know who you are, we did our research on this place before we came,” Patty told me as I took the seat next to her and egged on Jeff to continue with his antics.

“Oh no wait, are you going to write about me?” her eyes widened as she asked.

“Only with your permission,” I replied. This was the first time I had met someone so nervous to talk to me.

“So what do you do for a living?” I inquired, trying to break the ice and set Patty at ease.

She kept silent and Burt said he was a computer programmer. Without saying anything, Patty slid a business card across the bar, without even making eye contact. I examined it closely: “I trade stocks for a ‘giving’” it read.

“You make money and give it away for a living? That’s so cool, I have to write about you now!” I blurted out.

“For a giving,” she corrected me.

A devotee of CNBC’s Jim Cramer and his teachings on “Mad Money,” Patty took it upon herself to learn the ins and outs of investing to generate some cash for charity. Not just a noble pursuit, but creative and enriching too. I was really in awe, so I begged to share her story.

She looked at me incredulously, consulted Burt and finally resigned, “Ok you can write about me.” I thought I was pushing my luck by asking her to take a picture, but I roped Jeff into the shot and she happily complied.

Jeff and Patty

Jeff and Patty

Patty follows Cramer’s advice as a guideline, and then makes her own decisions, “Although he’s not always right, I learned the hard way,” she admitted.

Patty does most of her giving in her hometown of Menominee, providing scholarships, donations to the animal shelters, local park and law enforcement, as well as many anonymous donations. She  has also provided significant funding to the Friends of St. Mary’s Hospital Green Bay owns the naming rights to an athletic field in Menominee.

“I’ve been doing this for about 10 years now,  and I  have given away over $50,000 in that time,” she said.

As the Lobby Lounge continued to fill up with party-goers and diners looking for a night cap, I gave up my seat and the bar and said goodbye to Patty and Burt. They were looking forward to a relaxing courtesy of their “Bed and Breakfast” package, and I couldn’t be happier that the Pfister was pampering two such lovely, generous people.

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About the author

Jenna Kashou

A Milwaukee native and freelance writer, Kashou has published in local publications such as Milwaukee Magazine, M Magazine and the Shepherd Express. Find her weekly adventures of city life as MilwaukeeMag.com's ‘Girl About Town.’ Kashou earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Iowa in mass communications and Spanish, and a graduate certificate in digital storytelling from Marquette University. By day, she is a grant writer for Radio Milwaukee and has worked in the nonprofit sector in arts and education for 10 years. In her spare time, she enjoys dabbling in everything from being a DJ and photography to do-it-yourself deco, yoga and rock climbing.

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