BrightStar Wisconsin Philanthropy Model
BrightStar Wisconsin Foundation was fundamentally created to improve the job creation and economic prosperity of Wisconsin. Whether one grows up in Wisconsin, or adopts the state as their home, Wisconsinites care about the great dairy state. Fortunately, Wisconsinites are incredibly philanthropic, donating both their money and time...lots of it. Historically, most giving goes appropriately towards our schools and universities. However, BrightStar Wisconsin saw a void to be filled in the job creation space. BrightStar’s founders felt that if given a donation vehicle that was singularly dedicated to growing the Wisconsin economy through job creation, Wisconsinites everywhere would step up and contribute. They were right.
Our model is simple, we accept donations into our 501(c)(3), and then use those funds to make equity investments into early-stage companies that create jobs. Once a company has an exit event, we put the funds back into our Foundation to invest in more companies.
We hope you see a compelling case made that early-stage company creation is the fastest pathway to job formation; that the philanthropic model of funding the foundation works best for Wisconsin and that BrightStar has assembled the necessary expertise to competently deploy our donations. Large sums are needed for BrightStar investment activities to really make a difference. The interest in the donating community seems to be there. With this in mind, we look for a suggested minimum contribution of $100,000, with our average contributions trending much higher.
2016 Annual Report
2015 Annual Report
BrightStar's second year making investments was as successful as ever. The philanthropic model became even more efficient as the capability to sell QNBV tax credits allowed for BrightStar to invest over $1 for every dollar donated to the foundation. Providing 14 early-stage companies with funding, BrightStar has now deployed nearly $4 million in the last two years. BrightStar looks to continue this trend into 2016. We encourage you to take a look at our 2015 Annual Report below and read up on the great things BrightStar is doing for the state of Wisconsin.
Donor Appreciation Video
BrightStar has been very active investing in early-stage companies that create high quality jobs in Wisconsin. Below is a link to a video that will update you on our progress, and has comments from nine of the companies in our portfolio. We hope you'll take a few minutes to give it a view!
After two years, we believe that BrightStar Wisconsin has established itself as a significant player in the early-stage angel investment arena, and we decided to better share that story with potential donors throughout the state. In November of 2015, we ran a donor appeal ad that was displayed in the Milwaukee Business Journal and the Wisconsin State Journal. The ad features the 28 companies that BrightStar has invested in through the end of 2015, as well as the names and personal signatures from the 25 individuals and foundations that donated money towards the cause. Check out the link below to view the ad.
2014 Annual Report
BrightStar’s philanthropic model proved to be a success as the foundation invested in 14 start-up companies throughout the state. Committing over $2 million in angel investments to a wide variety of high-tech, highly innovative companies, BrightStar’s portfolio ranges from healthcare, to information technology, to education, to industry. Please find the link to our 2014 annual report below to get a more in depth look on the exciting year that it was.