Job Creation through Capital Donation


Former DFI Secretary Heinemann joins BrightStar Wisconsin Foundation

Press Release
Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Foundation also opens Madison office to expand statewide presence 

MILWAUKEE, Nov. 14, 2013 – The Wisconsin BrightStar Foundation today announced that former Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions Secretary Lorrie Heinemann will join the foundation as vice president. Ms. Heinemann will head the foundation’s new Madison office, which will have statewide reach.

BrightStar will fuel startups

BizTimes Milwaukee
Monday, September 2, 2013

As state capital for early-stage companies has continued to plummet in Wisconsin over the past two years, now down to about $25 million, a new nonprofit organization has taken the first steps of a revolutionary approach that it hopes will fill the financial gap to fuel job growth and business development.

Milwaukee-based BrightStar Wisconsin Foundation, which was incorporated July 1, is turning to the state's pool of philanthropic individuals and foundations and asking them to donate a portion of their pockets to state-based startup companies.

Zilber to provide BrightStar free office space

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Zilber Property Group will provide rent-free space for BrightStar Wisconsin Foundation in the Milwaukee office building where the real estate developer has its headquarters.

"This contribution by the Zilber Property Group will allow us to direct an even higher percentage of donor dollars to our mission of investing in early-stage companies to fuel job creation," said Jeff Harris, BrightStar's co-founder and chairman.

Nonprofit startup funder BrightStar lands donated office space in Empire Building

The Business Journal
Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Zilber Property Group has provided office space in downtown Milwaukee to house BrightStar Wisconsin Foundation Inc., a new organization seeking nonprofit status that will collect donations to fund startups and job creation statewide.

BrightStar will operate in Zilber’s Empire Building, 710 N. Plankinton Ave., at the corner of Plankinton and Wisconsin avenues, according to an announcement Tuesday.

Albert Nicholas pledges $1 million to BrightStar foundation

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Money manager Albert "Ab" Nicholas said Wednesday he has pledged $1 million to BrightStar Wisconsin Foundation Inc., a new group with an unusual plan for using charitable donations to make venture investments in young state companies.

Nicholas, who is founder and chairman of Milwaukee-based Nicholas Co., is the first contributor to be named by BrightStar since the foundation launched in July with seed pledges of $6 million from eight founding donors.

Press Release - Ab Nicholas Donation

Press Release
Wednesday, July 31, 2013

For Immediate Release

BrightStar Wisconsin Foundation receives $1-million pledge from Nicholas

MILWAUKEE, July 31, 2013 – The BrightStar Wisconsin Foundation, a groundbreaking philanthropic approach to supporting job creation and economic growth statewide through investment in early-stage companies, today announced it has received a $1-million pledge from Albert “Ab” Nicholas, the founder and chairman of the Milwaukee-based Nicholas Co. investment management firm.

State pledges $300,000 to support BrightStar Wisconsin Foundation

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Monday, July 22, 2013

Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. would provide operating funds to venture capital vehicle

Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. has pledged $300,000 in operating funds for BrightStar Wisconsin Foundation Inc., a new group that is proposing an unusual plan for raising donations to make venture investments in young state companies.

WEDC pledges $300,000 to BrightStar Wisconsin Foundation

The Business Journal
Monday, July 22, 2013

BrightStar Wisconsin Foundation Inc., a new Milwaukee organization that will invest in Wisconsin technology startups and is seeking nonprofit status, has received a $300,000 pledge from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.

The WEDC investment will go toward BrightStar operating expenses and is meant to help BrightStar attract private donations to spur business growth and job creation, a Monday press release said.
BrightStar will receive the WEDC funds after it has achieved 501(c)3 status from the Internal Revenue Service, WEDC said.

Helping young companies — creatively

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Thursday, July 18, 2013

BrightStar Wisconsin aims to persuade the wealthy to donate to a very important cause: Wisconsin's economy

There is a famine of risk capital for young companies in Wisconsin, which is the biggest reason that good ideas that could lead to jobs are going hungry in this state. Sluggish job growth is a perilous trend that threatens the state's well-being now and especially in the future.