Non-profits prepare for loss of Shopko donations

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - A number of area non-profit organizations are preparing for life after Shopko.

The company's bankruptcy and liquidation also mean the end of its charitable giving.

The Shopko Foundation has given nearly $35 million to non-profits and scholarships since its founding in 1980. That includes nearly $1 million awarded to Brown County United Way since 1993.

Over those same 26 years, company employees pitched in another $2.75 million.

"That's just locally, which is helping our community and helping the people in this community, so it's huge what they've done," Brown County United Way Vice-president of Resource Development Tom Schoffelman said.

"We look back and think, man, what would this program be? Would it even exist if it wasn't for them?" Stephanie Nespoli with the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Green Bay said.

As a founding investor in one of the Boys & Girls Club's signature initiatives, the Shopko Foundation has donated more than $250,000 to the club over the past 10 years.

"Shopko has really been an instrumental part of everything that we're doing at the Boys & Girls Club, specifically with our Teens-to-Work program, which teaches local youth employability skills and how to enter the workforce. They've employed so many of our young people," Nespoli said.

Those relying on Shopko's generosity say they're saddened to see the company go under and a little nervous about finding a way to fill such a major financial gap moving forward.

Nespoli said, "The Shopko Foundation saw the value and believed in our kids, and we believe in them, too, and that doesn't stop once any dollar goes away, so it's our job now, and hopefully the community can rally behind us and continue to offer kids these opportunities."

"I think the community has to recognize that this is going to be a big gap," Schoffelman said. "We all have to step up a little bit and recognize, just like Shopko is no longer there, we have people who are struggling."

We reached out to Shopko on Monday to ask if the foundation has any remaining funds and, if so, how they'll be distributed. We're still waiting to hear back.

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