The 920 | Upfront

Upfront – April 2021

Upfront with Ann Engelhard

by Tim Froberg

Ann Engelhard’s optimistic nature gets reinforced every time she starts work.

As Vice President of Donor Services and Gift Planning for the Community Foundation of the Fox Cities Region, Engelhard gets a close look at generosity.

Engelhard works with donors to explore their philanthropic interests and secure financial gifts to help individuals, families, and supporting organizations in the Fox Cities.

A Chicago native who graduated with a psychology degree from Bradley University, Engelhard and her family relocated to the Fox Cities from Philadelphia in 1999.

Engelhard has served in her current position since 2017. She joined the Community Foundation in 2013 as its Donor Services Manager. Prior to that, she worked to secure third-source funding for the Twin City Catholic Educational System.

WHAT DO YOU ENJOY ABOUT YOUR JOB?

“The most rewarding part is seeing the generosity of our community. Our community has a history and a passion for being charitable and taking care of community issues and problems by solving them collaboratively.” 

HOW HAVE GIFTS TO THE COMMUNITY FOUNDATION BENEFITED OUR AREA?

“Last spring, we had a donor who gave money for ThedaCare and Ascension to purchase additional ventilators at the beginning of the pandemic. We also had a donor who gave an extremely generous gift in the six figures to the Community Foundation’s COVID-19 response fund.”

HOW HAS YOUR PSYCHOLOGY DEGREE HELPED WITH YOUR JOB?

“It’s helped in so many ways — especially when it comes to working with different people and different purposes and trying to move things forward in a smooth way.”

HOW HAS THE PANDEMIC IMPACTED GIFTS FROM DONORS?

“Gifts have been incredibly strong. Donors have been very generous. They’re granting at unprecedented numbers right now.”

UpFront – March 2021

Upfront with Jodi Avery, Volunteer

by Tim Froberg

Downtime is a concept that Jodi Avery doesn’t embrace.

She is a retiree but leads a busy life as one of the area’s most dedicated volunteers.

Jodi is active with the Darboy Kiwanis Club and has served on its board for the past decade. One of her favorite projects is the Young Athletes program, helping young boys and girls with cognitive disabilities learn basic skills like running, throwing, and kicking. 

Avery is also involved with the Fox Cities Festival of Lights and serves as a liaison between the Kimberly High School Key Club and the Darboy Kiwanis. In addition, she volunteers with the St. Joseph Food Program and was a longtime board member of the Kimberly Area Soccer Association. 

How did you get involved in volunteering?

“My mom was always big on it, so it was engrained in me as a kid. She used to say, ‘Do something nice for someone else – then you’ll feel good and so will they.’ I remember doing trick or treat for UNICEF, bike rides for the March of Dimes, and a lot of church things.”

What do you get out of it?

“I love being around kids. It feels good to help people going through tough stages in their lives.”

What do you tell those who worry about the time commitment?

“If you love it, you’ll find time for it. If you’re feeling really stressed about it, then you’re probably doing too much.”

How has the pandemic impacted volunteering?

“Less people want to get involved because they’re afraid of getting COVID. Fundraising has been hit really hard because most of the fundraising events have been cancelled.”

Upfront – Jan/Feb 2021

Jody Avery

by Tim Froberg

Downtime is a concept that Jodi Avery doesn’t embrace.

She is a retiree but leads a busy life as one of the area’s most dedicated volunteers.

Jodi is active with the Darboy Kiwanis Club and has served on its board for the past decade. One of her favorite projects is the Young Athletes program, helping young boys and girls with cognitive disabilities learn basic skills like running, throwing, and kicking. 

Avery is also involved with the Fox Cities Festival of Lights and serves as a liaison between the Kimberly High School Key Club and the Darboy Kiwanis. In addition, she volunteers with the St. Joseph Food Program and was a longtime board member of the Kimberly Area Soccer Association. 

How did you get involved in volunteering?

“My mom (LaVonne Gavin) was always big on it, so it was engrained in me as a kid. She used to say, ‘Do something nice for someone else – then you’ll feel good and so will they.’ I remember doing trick or treat for UNICEF,  bike rides for the March of Dimes, and a lot of church things.”

What do you get out of it?

“I love being around kids. It feels good to help people going through tough stages in their lives.  It becomes fun, too, because the people you work with become friends.”

What do you tell those who want to volunteer but worry about the time commitment?

“If you love it, you’ll find time for it. If you’re feeling really stressed about it, then you’re probably doing too much.”

How has the pandemic impacted volunteering?

“Less people want to get involved because they’re afraid of getting COVID. Fundraising has been hit really hard because most of the fundraising events have been cancelled. We’ve had to get really creative.”

UpFront – November 2020

Jennifer Michiels

by Tim Froberg

Jennifer Michiels’ busy life revolves around food and family. 

She’s following a family recipe for success that has made the Michiels’ name synonymous with culinary excellence.

Jennifer is a third-generation owner of Michiels Restaurant and Catering in Menasha.

Both segments of the business have deep roots established by the Michiels family. 

The restaurant side, Michiels Bar and Grill, features a supper club atmosphere. It was established in 1960 – when it was known as Michiels Sherwood Inn – by Jennifer’s grandparents, Jerry and Julie Michiels. Jennifer’s uncle, Monte, and her father, Todd, took over the business in 1980 before Monte became primary owner.

Jennifer’s aunt, Debra Michiels, handled the catering business for years. Jennifer, who worked closely with Debra throughout high school and college, eventually took over both ends of the family business in 2016.

What has it been like handling the restaurant end of the business?

“It’s been fun. We’ve stayed true to our supper club roots, yet I’ve been able put my own spin on things and make it my own.”

What are the restaurant’s signature dishes?

“Our soup-and-salad bar are what we’re super well-known for. You’re seeing less and less of them as time goes on, and we have a great one. Steaks and prime rib are staples. I’d highly recommend our stuffed tenderloin.”

How has the pandemic impacted the catering business?

“Boxed lunches had never previously been a significant portion of the business, but that side is booming right now. The decline has been on the corporate side. A lot of people just aren’t in the office right now.”

How has it changed your approach to catering?

 “We’ve done a lot of prepackaged catering – something we had never done. Our customers, especially our corporate customers, have been willing to work with us and find a way to support us. That’s been heartwarming.”

UpFront – October 2020

Beer is Tom’s Business

by Tim Froberg

Like many Wisconsin residents, Tom Lonsway appreciates a good beer.

Lonsway, though, is more than just a suds connoisseur. Beer is his business. And as co-owner of Stone Arch Brewpub, he works with his son, Steve, to provide the best brews possible, along with a hearty bite to eat.

The father-and-son team has owned the Appleton business since 2004, transforming it from a Mexican restaurant to one of the most popular brewpubs in the area. Tom, a Rockford, Illinois native, moved to Appleton in 1968 and ran a marketing-advertising company for years before he and Steve became involved with home brewing. 

Eventually, they turned the hobby into a business and took the plunge into the pub business by purchasing one of the area’s oldest buildings. Steve serves as head brew master, while Tom oversees the business.

What do you look for when brewing a new beer?

“Obviously, you need flavor. Light lagers aren’t very satisfying. When you get into the ales we brew, they’re heavier, but more flavorful and satisfying. You don’t need to drink many of them to be satisfied.”

Any new fall brews coming out?

“An Octoberfest and a pumpkin-spiced beer are our two most popular specialty fall brews. And we always have a half-dozen specialty beers on tap that change regularly.”

What do you strive for with your food menu? 

“We try and have a traditional brewpub-type menu. We have staples like stroganoff and schnitzel – heavy-duty stuff – but we have some good salads, too, and lots of appetizers. We do a very good job with our cheese curds.”

Has there been any Charlie (the pub’s resident ghost) sightings?

“Nope. Charlie’s been quiet lately. Maybe it’s because of COVID. But he can act up at any time.”