Hope springs: Greater Madison Rotarians help make Guatemalan villagers’ dreams come true

The ancient Greek philosopher Archimedes famously said, “Give me a lever long enough and a place to stand, and I will move the world.” He was talking about physics, but the same principle is at work in our everyday lives – in business, in personal relationships, in charitable pursuits. The Greater Madison area’s Rotary Clubs discovered the true power of leverage when they took roughly $15,000 in local contributions, collected from 14 local clubs, and parlayed it into almost $53,000 through matching grants that tapped into the financial wherewithal of the global Rotary Foundation and the Rotary District 6250 (Wisconsin and Southeastern Minnesota).

Wisconsin Family Business of the Year Award accepting nominations

Time to submit nominations (or nominate your own company) for the 2013 Wisconsin Family Business of the Year Award, celebrating the accomplishments and impact family-owned businesses have in our communities. For information, go to, or call 608-836-7500.

Lily’s Luau brings business community together to help fight epilepsy

What could possess grown men to wear grass skirts and Hawaiian shirts in Wisconsin in the middle of January? Answer: The same thing that could inspire an entire dental office to wear purple one day a week throughout the year. The common thread, so to speak, is epilepsy awareness, but the real answer may be parental love and community support.

Wisconsin Business Alliance hopes to be fresh voice for ‘unheard’ business owners

Lori Compas has never been one to shy away from a heavyweight bout. The Fort Atkinson small business owner, who is best known for her unsuccessful state Senate recall bid against Republican power broker Scott Fitzgerald earlier this year, exudes the sort of can-do confidence that fairly screams “next time.” So it might seem natural that her next project would be one part quixotic and two parts nose-to-the-grindstone, grassroots-building pragmatic.

Latino Chamber taps Hispanics’ growing business potential

If there was one lesson to be drawn from the recent presidential election, it was that America’s demographic landscape is not just changing – it’s changed. Nowhere was the population shift more evident than in the Latino vote, which helped swing the election to the incumbent and served notice to all concerned that this was a voting bloc that had to be reckoned with. Indeed, in all walks of life – business included – Latinos are helping to remake the culture, the zeitgeist, and the economic climate, and they’re celebrating their newfound influence in their own unique ways.

Wisconsin Business Alliance launches as alternative to WMC

The Wisconsin Business Alliance is a new statewide business group that considers itself an alternative to Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce. Led by Lori Compas, a Democrat who tried to unseat state Sen. Scott Fitzgerald in the June recall elections, the…

Mustard Museum struggles to find recipe for growth

Barry Levenson admits there are times when he wonders whether a mustard museum was such a good idea. The thing that snaps him back into optimism is the fun visitors have with the museum experience, which provides him with all the motivation he needs to keep going. The problem is that not enough people are taking it all in, at least not enough to match the higher level of expense associated with operating the National Mustard Museum in Middleton, as opposed to its former home in Mount Horeb.

IBTV Coffee Break: Aaron Olver, economic development director, city of Madison

This week, IBTV Coffee Break interviews Aaron Olver, director of economic development for the city of Madison, to discuss opportunities for economic development around the state, to hear his perspectives on the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation and the impact of the recall election on economic development.

Ruth Ann Schoer, Salvation Army of Dane County

Ruth Ann Schoer's life story plays like a juxtaposition between The Waltons and The_Grapes_of_Wrath. It is an endearing and sometimes painful recollection of being the oldest of 11 children living on a 160-acre farm in rural Minnesota, in a 1,000-sq.-ft. family home with outdoor plumbing. "I went to a country school up to eighth grade, and never felt poor or deprived," she said.

Kaleem Caire: Unplugged

If anyone has a right to be angry, it's Kaleem Caire. If anyone had every opportunity to not make the right decisions early in life, it was Kaleem Caire. And if anyone was most likely to break out of the mold ... you guessed it....

The Nonprofit Pinch

Nonprofits. The term itself brings to mind charitable institutions like Project Home, Wheelchair Recycling Program, or Big Brothers and Sisters, all extremely worthy organizations. According to the Wisconsin Nonprofits Association, Wisconsin has about 30,000 nonprofits, a third of which file 990 forms. Madison, meanwhile, has more nonprofits per capita than any other city, with about 3,000. Some are large, some small, but all are in need of funding, and the wells are running low. How bad is their plight? IB learned that sometimes, it depends on who you ask.

From Homelessness to Job-Seeking Heroine: How the nonprofit system saved Sina.

Confused. Lost. Chaotic: Three words that Sina Davis, 48, used to describe her life before moving from Chicago to Madison in 2008. Though she's reluctant to discuss the gritty details of her previous life, Davis, a single mother, had admittedly bottomed-out. "I felt myself drowning in Chicago," she said, "and I couldn't swim. I had to change my lifestyle." Efforts to overcome the obstacles and barriers she faced just weren't working, she explained. She tried living with the mother of her grandchildren, "but that didn't work out," she said. To complicate matters, after years without health or dental care, her teeth were beginning to fall out.