Founded in late 2014, the Milwaukee chapter of Echelon is flourishing. The Salvation Army Wisconsin and Upper Michigan Division’s young professionals group already has 50 members, has exceeded its initial fundraising goal of $10,000 and is growing not only in size, but in talent, passion and enthusiasm for “Doing the Most Good.”
“I was drawn to Echelon because it provided an opportunity to mix volunteer work and networking with like-minded individuals to create change. The fact that we can use our collective talent, experience and connections to help those in need is truly special,” said member Brandon Alberti.
Echelon Milwaukee members aren’t just impressive professionals, passionate about serving, they’re diverse in the talent and skills they bring to our Army. Their ranks include engineers, attorneys, and real estate agents. There’s even an investigative reporter! Their commonality is a positive association with and advocacy for The Salvation Army. Some simply see the Army as a vehicle for community service while others, like small business owner Nathan Harris who grew up in severe poverty near Chicago, have been personally touched by the organization.
“I was immediately drawn to Echelon because if it weren’t for The Salvation Army I wouldn’t be alive today,” said Nathan. “…we grew up living in shelters at some points and walking miles to The Salvation Army to get vouchers for the food bank. I will never forget where I came from…”
Echelon Milwaukee had a stunning turnout at the 2016 National Advisory Organizations Conference in Phoenix, Ariz., with a delegation of 17 members. Marcy Stutzman, Wisconsin and Upper Michigan divisional special events coordinator and the Echelon staff liaison said, “Everyone walked away feeling part of the bigger picture of the Army. They were energized and ready to do more for the mission!”
Echelon Milwaukee meets monthly and alternates between having a professional development focus and participating in service events like ringing bells at kettles, packing lunches for the Feed the Kids summer program or delivering school supplies to area elementary schools.