Ostroms, Dairy Cares receive Wisconsin Volunteer Award

Wisconsin State Farmer
Dairy Cares has raised $847,000 for Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin over the past seven years. The group’s signature event is an annual garden party.

DE PERE - Jim and Annette Ostrom of De Pere, on behalf of Dairy Cares of Wisconsin, will receive the 2017 Wisconsin “Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser Award” for their efforts supporting Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin.

The honor, selected by the Association of Professional Fundraisers, will be presented on National Philanthropy Day, Nov. 15, at Lambeau Field in Green Bay.

Seven years ago, the Ostroms were among the founding members of Dairy Cares of Wisconsin, a non-profit organization that has since raised $847,000 on behalf of children and families facing medical crises. The group unites professionals from across the dairy and agricultural fields for an annual summer garden party to benefit the cause.

In 2017, Dairy Cares expanded its efforts by hosting the inaugural “Kickin’ It with the Cows” 5K/10K Run/Walk in De Pere. Initially hoping to attract 300 runners, the July 8 event drew more than four times that many participants.

“Annette and I are humbled to accept this on behalf of an amazing team of volunteers,” said Jim Ostrom, noting about 50 individuals serve on Dairy Cares’ organizing committees. “While we are happy to do our part for a great cause, our fund-raising successes have stemmed from the fact that many people are committing time and energy to help others.”

Ostrom serves as partner with Milk Source LLC, a group of Midwest-based dairy farms owned and operated by three multi-generational dairy farm families. Milk Source has earned international recognition for innovations in sustainable agriculture and community outreach efforts that support food pantries, veterans, education and local emergency service providers.

Denise L. Hajos, fundraising manager for the Children’s Hospital Foundation, said the Ostroms embodied four values at the heart of the medical center’s mission: Purpose, collaboration, innovation and integrity.

“Jim leads his volunteers by example. He inspires those around him,” Hajos said. “He motivates Dairy Cares volunteers to plan events that provide an experience for guests. Jim and Annette convey an important belief to these individuals: That the medical teams at Children’s would never cut corners in the care they provide, so an event supporting and representing Children’s should hold itself to the same standard. The Ostroms empower volunteers to see the big picture, while they are focusing on thoughtful details.”

Dairy Cares is wasting no time looking ahead to 2018: The 2nd annual dairy-themed fun run/walk is scheduled for Saturday, July 7, and the 8th annual Garden Party will take place shortly thereafter.

“Back when all of this started, we were just a group of Wisconsin dairy farm families who wanted to give something back,” Ostrom said. “When we started talking, we quickly realized that some of us were directly impacted by Children’s Hospital, and others all seemed to know someone else who was – a relative, a friend, a neighbor. It was a cause that we could have an immediate and positive impact upon.”

Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin provides statewide care through 40 different locations. These various sites provide a range of specialized services, from dealing with childhood terminal illness and cancer to psychological disorders. Experts in premature birth, the neonatal intensive care unit is ranked top in the nation.

“The Ostroms’ and the Dairy Cares group’s dedication and contributions have supported the development of a state-of-the-art Simulation Center, which trains our providers and nurses for the critical skills needed to care for the children, both in Milwaukee, as well as the Transport Team that brings neonatal and pediatric critical care services to the child’s bedside in the community,” said Dr. Michael Meyer, medical director of Children’s Transport Team.

To learn more about Dairy Cares of Wisconsin, visit

Photos attached. Photos courtesy of Dairy Cares. Captions: DC Garden Party: Dairy Cares has raised $847,000 for Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin over the past seven years. The group’s signature event is an annual garden party. Kickin’ It with the Cows: Dairy Cares expanded efforts in 2017 to include a dairy-themed run/walk.