Leading by example

West Bend is a community with a strong legacy of giving back. And according to residents Amanda and Jon Sacks, you do not have to wait to create a legacy of your own.  

As West Bend Community Foundation’s youngest legacy donors to date, they should know.  

“West Bend is a community with such a big heart,” Amanda said. “Being a part of that speaks to our core values.”  

Their passion for West Bend motivated them to partner with the foundation to ensure that their community continues to grow and thrive. Both Amanda, 35, and Jon, 36, urge those considering becoming donors not to wait.  

“It’s never too early to start thinking about setting up a charitable fund,” said Jon who, along with Amanda, became legacy donors in 2019. “Take that first step. 

Having met at Lawrence University, they attended Rutgers University Law School together and are both attorneys In 2015, they moved to West Bend, Amanda’s hometown, after living on the East Coast.  

Amanda practices corporate and business law, estate planning and real estate at the Schloemer Law Firm in West Bend. Jon is in the Wisconsin office of Kopka Pinkus Dolin, representing employers in workplace law matters and other civil litigation. 

Amanda said her work in estate planning prompted the couple to create their fund.  

“Unexpected things can happen,” she said. “If you have any goals — financial or whatever — start working toward them tomorrow, not when you’re retired.”  

The couple created a lifetime fund in 2021 and have been adding to it regularly to reach the grantmaking threshold of $25,000. They want to fund organizations that support parks, recreation, nature and education — all interests that are reflected in their volunteer and recreation activities.  

“We enjoy hiking and running on the Ice Age Trail, trekking around the West Bend Rolfs Dog Park, sharing a cup of coffee with friends at the Hub – all things that wouldn’t be possible without the support of nonprofits and donors in our community, so we feel it’s our obligation to contribute to this legacy,” explained Jon.  

Amanda serves on the boards of the Albrecht Free Clinic, Lac Lawrann Conservancy, the Wisconsin 9/11 Memorial & Education Center and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee at Washington County Foundation and was past president of the West Bend Noon Rotary Club.  

“They need a lawyer on every board,” she joked.  

Jon is on the board of the West Bend Sunrise Rotary, of which he was president in 2020-21. He is also on the boards of the Tower Heritage Center, National Alliance of Mental Illness of Washington County and the Volunteer Center of Washington County.  

“We often volunteer at each other’s organizations, so they’re getting both of us,” he said.  

Deciding to use the West Bend Community Foundation for their philanthropic interests was a natural for the couple because of its partnership with the Greater Milwaukee Foundation. Both have participated in the Greater Milwaukee Foundation’s Community Adviser and Ambassador Network (formerly Young Professional Advisers Council) and are members of the Herbert J. Mueller Society.  

The Foundation’s affiliation with the West Bend Community Foundation was a draw because, as Amanda said, “It allows you to be part of something bigger in your own community.”  

They both noted that they chose to work with the Greater Milwaukee Foundation because of its deep roots within the community: “Their proven track record of support and collaboration with local nonprofits gives us confidence in how our contributions will be reinvested within our community.” 

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