For some, running a business is just that, business. That’s not the case for Culver’s franchisees Jeff Liegel and Chad Stevenson. The brothers use their roles as business owners to improve their community of Portage, Wisconsin, and their service has not gone unnoticed.
In May 2016 the Wisconsin Association of School District Administrators honored Liegel and Stevenson with the Bert Grover Child Advocacy Award. Officials from Portage’s schools and library nominated the brothers for the award, which recognizes businesses that advocate for the welfare of Wisconsin youth.
“It’s important to give back to our community because we live here too.”
Liegel and Stevenson serve their community in many ways, including hosting fundraisers for schools, helping to raise over a million dollars to expand the local library and providing Fresh Frozen Custard free of charge for school events. The franchisees also host Kids Day America, an annual event that focuses on the health and wellbeing of children in their community. It brings together a range of local organizations and first responders – from the Lions Club providing free eye exams to the local police department fingerprinting children – to increase awareness of the resources available to Portage families.
“Winning the award is a humbling experience,” said Liegel. “We think supporting our local communities is normal so to be recognized for it feels pretty good.”
“FFA is the first step to getting kids interested in agriculture.”
Liegel and Stevenson’s youth advocacy doesn’t end in their community. The franchisees have raised nearly $10,000 for FFA across their 19 locations as part of Culver’s Thank You Farmers initiative, and they are beginning a scholarship program for FFA students in the Portage district. “Farming today has changed and has entered a new level of technology. FFA is very important in the education of our youth in these new times.”