Make a Child Smile Day at Summerfest supports Next Door

In honor of Next Door’s 50th Anniversary in 2019, one of the organization’s long-time champions stepped up with more support at Milwaukee’s biggest summer event of the year!

Northwestern Mutual selected Next Door to be the beneficiary of Make a Child Smile Day at Summerfest on July 6, 2019. On this special day, the company partners with Summerfest and offers free admission to the festival for the first 1,500 guests who donate new or gently-used children’s books.

Volunteers from Northwestern Mutual and Next Door were on hand to collect a total of 4,181 book donations!

These donations will support Next Door’s Books for Kids program, which provides free books to Next Door students and children in the community to help them build home libraries.

“Northwestern Mutual has a long-standing partnership with Next Door that dates back to the nonprofit’s inception,” said Thomas Rosenthal with the Northwestern Mutual Foundation.

“As a partner in our education strategy, Next Door is helping to build foundational literacy skills in children and ensuring that students are school ready when they enroll for their first day of school. Given Next Door’s milestone 50th Anniversary, they were a natural fit as the beneficiary of the Make a Child Smile Day book promotion.”

Northwestern Mutual has sponsored Make a Child Smile Day at Summerfest since 2009. Festival officials praised the partnership.

“As a non-profit organization, Milwaukee World Festival, Inc. appreciates the important role partners play to help us achieve our mission,” said Don Smiley, President & CEO of Milwaukee World Festival, Inc.

“To that end, we are grateful for Northwestern Mutual’s support of Make a Child Smile Day at Summerfest 2019, which provided our patrons the fantastic benefit of free admission to the festival as well as the opportunity to support Next Door Foundation. With exceptional turnout as well as over 4,100 books donated, it was a double win!”

The donations that came in this year included interactive board books and pictures books.

There were popular titles from Dr. Seuss, Eric Carle and the Clifford series.

Next Door President Dr. Tracey Sparrow says the generosity from Northwestern Mutual, Summerfest and the individual donors is much-appreciated.

“The extraordinary support through Make a Child Smile Day will help children in our community develop a love of reading early on, which is so critical to a child’s long-term success in school,” Dr. Sparrow said.

“We can’t wait to distribute these books to the children because they always get so excited to receive a new book that they can call their own forever!”

Volunteers with Northwestern Mutual at Make a Child Smile Day at Summerfest