Celebrating our 2020 Annual Meeting award winners!

Celebrating our 2020 Annual Meeting award winners!


From left: James Mathy, Cory Nettles, David Michalski, Paula Penebaker, and Eric Collins-Dyke

March 2, 2020

On Thursday, February 27, we announced the winners of several awards at the United Way Annual Meeting. Learn more about these incredible community change-makers below.

Gwen T. Jackson Award

The Gwen T. Jackson Community Service Award is presented to the United Way volunteer/s who best exemplify a spirit of volunteerism and dedication to their community.

Winners: James Mathy & Eric Collins-Dyke

James Mathy is the Housing Administrator of the Milwaukee County Housing Division and is responsible for the administration of Milwaukee County's Community Development Block Grant funds, HOME funds, Milwaukee County's Housing Authority, Homeless Programs, and real estate development. James has over 20 years of experience working in the housing and community health field with a focus on the development of homeless programs and permanent supportive housing. Along with Eric Collins-Dyke, James was instrumental in the development of United Way’s goal to end family homelessness by 2025.

Eric Collins-Dyke is the Assistant Administrator of Supportive Housing and Homeless Services for Milwaukee County. In this role, Eric is on the ground providing services and support to individuals and families experiencing homelessness and housing instability in our community.

Along with James Mathy, Eric was instrumental in the development of United Way’s goal to end family homelessness by 2025. Using his professional expertise and experience working locally with families experiencing homelessness, Eric provided critical data and insight into proven strategies to inform the decision-making and goal-setting processes.

John A Puelicher Award

The John A. Puelicher Award for Loaned Executive excellence was instituted in 2005. John (“Jack”) Puelicher led Marshall & Ilsley Corporation from 1963-1991 and was a strong United Way champion and volunteer.

Winner: David Michalski

David Michalski is a proud lifelong Milwaukee resident, growing up on the south side. With help from a Milwaukee Boy’s Club college scholarship, he attended the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee before entering a three-decade long career in banking. Today, he provides training and consulting services for Dale Carnegie through his business Bringing People Together 4 Success, LLC.

Linda McFerrin Award

The Linda McFerrin African American Nonprofit Leadership Award recognizes an outstanding African American nonprofit executive who has provided exemplary leadership in the community.

Winner: Paula Penebaker

Paula Penebaker is a tireless advocate for women and others who are often overlooked in our community. After a 20 year career with YWCA Southeast Wisconsin, Paula retired on December 31, 2019. Paula is a member of the Milwaukee Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta, and Milwaukee (WI) Chapter of The Links Incorporated. She serves on the boards for the Rotary Club of Milwaukee and Milwaukee World Festival. She also serves as a Trustee for the Public Policy Forum and Milwaukee County Federated Library System.

Billy & Ethel Heller Award

The Billy & Ethel Heller Award is presented annually to the individual, family, or foundation which best epitomizes outstanding service to the community and leadership in financial support of United Way.

Winner: Cory L. Nettles

Cory L. Nettles is the 2018-19 Board Chair for United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County. Professionally, he is Founder and Managing Director of Generation Growth Capital, Inc., a private equity fund focused on buyouts and providing growth capital to small businesses and lower-middle market companies in the upper Midwest.

Passionate about his community, Nettles currently serves as a board member for several nonprofit organizations in addition to leading the United Way board.

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