Since 1964, a group of Middleton non-profit organizations have worked together to put on the Good Neighbor Festival. While the members of the trustee group has changed over the years, one thing remains the same: the Good Neighbor Festival trustees are committed to presenting an amazing community event, and raising funds to support charitable causes throughout the area.
The COVID-19 pandemic has made the missions of the non-profit GNF trustee organizations more important than ever. The GNF trustees are incredibly grateful for the support of the 2020 Virtual Festival Sponsors and Silent Auction donors, which have helped replace some of the proceeds the trustees usually earn during the Fest weekend.
The 2020 Good Neighbor Festival trustee organizations include:
Middleton Chamber of Commerce: The Chamber works to promote a strong economy and high quality of life for the greater Middleton community. Its “why” is “[t]o be a connected business community that inspires, shares and learns from each other – so that we’re able to grow, succeed and contribute to our greater community.”
Under the direction of new Executive Director Kate Wicker, the Chamber focuses on facilitation, advocacy, education and communication for its more than 700 business members. Its motto: “We are STRONGER together!”
Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District Education Foundation: The MCPASD Education Foundation supports the Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District’s efforts to improve student achievement across all demographic groups by focusing on equitable practices – the heart of an inclusive, innovative and inspiring learning community. They award staff grants and student scholarships annually, and fund programs and activities aligned with the district’s priorities each school year.
The Foundation is also focused on supporting students in need during the COVID-19 pandemic, raising funds to provide internet access for virtual learning, food and personal hygiene supplies. Contact Executive Director Amber Kiggens-Leifheit at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn how you can help.
Middleton Kiwanis: Middleton Kiwanis is an organization of volunteers dedicated to changing the world, one child and one community at a time. Kiwanis projects include sponsoring and mentoring Key Club students at Middleton High School as they learn leadership skills through service projects; providing scholarships for college bound students and for Easter Seal Camp Wawbeek (which offers a true camp experience to people with physical disabilities); sponsoring Cub Scout pack 240; maintaining flower gardens at Lakeview Park and at the Vilas Zoo; and supporting the Red Kettle effort for the Salvation Army.
Middleton Lions Club: The Lions Club is the largest service organization in the world. Its mission is “To empower volunteers to serve their communities, meet humanitarian needs, encourage peace and promote international understanding through Lions clubs.”
The Middleton Lions motto is “We Serve,” and that they do! Their signature project is supporting the expansion of the Restoring Hope Transplant House, where transplant families and patients find compassion, care and support. They also serve the community through many other activities, including support of children’s vision screening, Lions Camp, Reach-a-Child, Middleton Baseball, Braille Library & Transcribing Services, Inc. and Cub Scout Pack 540. As “knights in the fight for sight,” they collect used eyeglasses in a dropbox located next to the Senior Center on Hubbard Ave. to be reused.
Middleton Optimists: The Middleton Optimists foster their core mission of “Serving the Youth of Our Community” through a variety of activities. They are most recognized for their signature event, “Cops & Bobbers.” Their fundraising allows them to provide financial support to the Middleton Baseball & Softball Commission, the Boy Scouts and the Police Department.
The Optimists are also supporters of education. Every month during the school year they recognize a “Student of the Month” and a “Rising Star,” and also provide four years of scholarship funding for a graduating senior each year. They sponsor the Optimist Oratorical Contest, which began in 1928, and has become the longest running program sponsored by the Optimist Organization. The contest is designed for youth to gain experience in public speaking, perfect self-expression, gain self assurance, improve communication skills and provide students with the opportunity to compete for a college scholarship.
Middleton VFW Post 8216 – William “Sonny” Simon Post: The Middleton Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 8216 and its members have a long proud tradition of service to our Nation and the local community, including as a founding member of Festival. The members of Post 8216 work closely with other national and community organizations as well as individual citizens to meet unfulfilled needs. Post 8216’s various service programs are designed to encourage community service, civic responsibility, and to stimulate interest in America’s history and traditions.
As part of VFW Post 8216’s continued service to the community, they provide financial assistance in maintaining state and national veterans’ rehabilitation and service programs, civic donations to the Middleton Boy Scout and Girl Scout programs through the Middleton Flag Program, and financial support to Middleton High School, Middleton Library and Swimming Pools, Middleton Fire and Police Departments, Middleton Outreach Ministry (MOM), Middleton Senior Center and a host of other community agencies and individual Veterans in need.
A visible reminder of the work that VFW Post 8216 does for the community is The Middleton Community Veterans Tribute at Lake View Park, that was dedicated to the Citizens of Middleton on July 22, 2017. The tribute is rich with meaning, meant to recognize the guiding principle that military service is to be honored and respected. It was designed as a place for solemn reflection, inspiration, and recognition of those from our community that have served the nation.
Middleton VFW Post 8216 – Auxiliary: The VFW Auxiliary was one of the founding members of the Good Neighbor Festival and has been operating the carnival since the very beginning of the Fest. The Auxiliary was chartered in 1953, and provides funding for services that support military families in times of crisis and deployment at both state and national levels.
The Auxiliary also supplies financial and in-kind support to Wisconsin VA Hospitals, and donates to a number of area groups such as: Middleton-Cross Plains Elementary Schools, Middleton Outreach Ministry, Madison Dry Hooch, local scouting programs, school scholarships as well as giving support to many other local organizations in their charitable efforts. VFW Auxiliary membership is open to both female and male spouses and the immediate family of veterans eligible for VFW membership.
Middleton Cardinals: Middleton Cardinals Youth Hockey promotes the advancement of youth athletics for boys and girls ranging from 4 to 16 years of age through hockey, by developing teamwork, sportsmanship, respect and camaraderie, while enhancing hockey skills, social development and competition, and having a lot of fun participating in the fast-moving sport of hockey. Funds raised during the Festival allow Middleton Youth Hockey to provide hockey scholarships and equipment to allow community youth in need to participate.
Rotary Club of Madison West Towne-Middleton: The Rotary Club of Madison West Towne-Middleton rejoined the Festival as a trustee organization in 2019, after a hiatus of several years. Their mission is to do good in the community and the world and they strive to be the coolest Rotary Club in the world. They sponsor a Rotaract Club at Middleton High School. Funds raised by the Club benefit community, vocational and International programs such as MOM, high school scholarships, Habitat for Humanity, Rotary Youth Leadership and the Guatemalan Medical Relief Program. The club meets weekly via Zoom during this Covid19 pandemic and that will continue. In response to this pandemic additional funds have been gone to area hunger programs.
Scouts BSA Troops 40 and 140: Troop 140 is one of the largest boy troops in Wisconsin with approximately 60 active scouts. Troop 40 for girls, formed in 2019, was one of the first Scouts BSA Troops for girls in Wisconsin. It now has 20 active scouts.
Since 1959, hundreds of Middleton area youths have shared the values of Scouting through outdoor activities, leadership development and community service. Sponsored by St. Luke’s Lutheran Church, both Troops 140 and 40 have attained the gold level for the BSA’s Journey to Excellence Award. The troop now has 179 Eagle Scouts.
So far during this difficult year, the troops have conducted a Scouting for Food campaign in March to support MOM, attended two summer camps, participated in virtual meetings and outings, worked on a number of Eagle projects and individual service projects, and continued to earn rank advancements and merit badges either virtually or while practicing social distancing and wearing masks.
If you are interested in becoming a member of the troop or have questions about scouting in general, please contact email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.