I am delighted to nominate Donald G. Schwartz and the Friends of Hales Corners Park and Pool for the Public-Private Cooperation Award through the Wisconsin Policy Forum.
Throughout my time in the Village of Hales Corners, there has been one name that is constantly at the forefront of action in our community: Don Schwartz. Don has dedicated his life to enhancing our Village, bringing together local government and private individuals and businesses. All of Don’s greatest accomplishments in the community were a collaborative effort between the public and private sectors. Don’s role as a Village Trustee has given him a platform to bring change in great ways.
In 2003, Don organized and spearheaded the local effort to save our public park and pool from closing. He created the Friends of the Hales Corners Pool, a public-private collaboration to raise money to not only save the pool from closing but renovate and renew life to our park. To amplify his relations with the private sector, Don became the president of the Hales Corners Chamber of Commerce in 2008 and led the organization until 2016. He capitalized on the relationships he formed in the Chamber of Commerce to help see our local shopping center renovated which in turn, brought new retailers and enhanced our local economy. Don is currently leading two simultaneous efforts to once again bring new life to our local park. He has been working tirelessly for the past several years to create the Alyson Dudek Ice Center as well as the Jerry and Dorothy Holz Family Shelter to honor our local Olympic medalist as well as a long-time local business owner and philanthropist who recently passed away.
I know Don best through is work on the Hales Corners Veterans Memorial Committee, of which I am former Co-Chairman. Don was our committee’s Village Liaison whose knowledge of the interwoven public and private relationships in our committee was instrumental to raising over $200,000 in private donations and ultimately erecting a monument to honor our veterans. Collectively, Don has raised over $2 million in private and public funds to bring economic growth, restore our public parks and enrich the lives of every member of our community.
Through Don’s leadership of the Friends of the Hales Corners Park and pool, we have been provided with indispensable lessons to be learned for any public official or private citizen seeking change. First, is his unwavering commitment to the community. For Don, Hales Corners and its citizens come first, and he will not relent until his goal is reached. Second, Don’s examples of sacrifice and servant leadership are unparalleled. He has surrendered countless hours, days and weeks to seeing our community thrive. Last, is his ability to network and sustain quality relationships with businesses and private citizens. His connections have led to the success of many of his fundraising campaigns for our local park.
The Friends of the Hales Corners Park and Pool have done amazing things under the leadership of Don. Our community has never looked better than it does now that Don has created a space for all of us to enjoy ourselves and the company of others.