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Blessed to have the opportunity to give back

People who make a difference: Karen Monfre

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September 9, 2022

GREEN BAY – Karen Monfre said she gives her knowledge, expertise and time to community organizations because, in her eyes, “that’s what we are here for – to serve.”

Monfre, a retired Wipflii partner and transaction advisory consultant, said she has long given back to the Greater Green Bay community.

Monfre, a Glendale, Wisconsin-native, said she moved to the area with her husband Bill for his job with Procter & Gamble (P&G), with a plan of securing an accountant job once arriving.

“Every city needs an accountant, and I knew I could go anywhere,” Monfre said. “We didn’t expect to be in Green Bay long, but we liked it here. A lot of people at P&G call it ‘Happy Valley,’ and they are right. Thirty-five years later, I’m still here.”

Getting involved
When Monfre came to town, she said she “joined as many organizations as possible,” thanks in part to what she described as a community-oriented employer.

“I found I loved helping people,” she said. “When my kids were little, I served on the Encompass Early Education and Care Board of Directors and would work the Big Event for Little Kids. It is a joy to me that both our kids are involved in organizations today.”

And while Greater Green Bay may bear the unofficial moniker of “Happy Valley,” at least among P&G employees, Monfre said like any community, it has needs.

Among them, she said, is a need to assist families.

“Family can be a lot of different things, but you need a family unit,” she said. “Green Bay has many families who are all here – the kids, the kids’ kids, and there’s family strength in it and tremendous benefit. But there are migrants like me who come in without that, as well as immigrants and others, who we as a community need to support in creating family units.”


Karen Monfre described her volunteerism with multiple community organizations as her “me time.” Chris Rugowski Photo

Monfre said entities, such as the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Green Bay, Literacy Green Bay, The Women’s Fund of Greater Green Bay and the Greater Green Bay YMCA, provide critical support to families.

Volunteering her time in a variety of organizations, Monfre said she was drawn to The Women’s Fund of Greater Green Bay because of her affinity toward women and the crucial role they play in raising families.

“Both men and women play a role in raising families, but we have a lot of single-parent families and that’s generally mom,” she said.

Monfre, who recently completed her presidency role on the board for The Women’s Fund, said she continues to serve on the organization’s nominating and Power of the Purse committees.

She also previously served with the YMCA’s board of directors and as treasurer.

“There is always a need,” Monfre said. “What I love about The Women’s Fund is that it’s about serving the needs of women and girls and families. All nonprofits serve a specialized purpose. The Women’s Fund serves all these nonprofits as they intersect with the current needs of women and girls by providing grant dollars focused on needed programming. By helping mom, you help the whole family. And ultimately, you help the whole community.”

The pandemic
Monfre said during the COVID-19 pandemic, The Women’s Fund (which is a fund of the Greater Green Bay Community Foundation) saw the needs of the community change – prompting the organization to conduct a COVID impact survey to gauge its impact on the mental, physical and financial health of women during the pandemic.

She said the survey identified a significant impact on the mental health of mothers and care providers, and began working with local nonprofits to help address the issue.

Other giving
In addition to the The Women’s Fund, Monfre said she is also involved with Management Women, an organization focused on promoting professional growth and development of women, by women.

“I’ve had two wonderful female mentors in my career, and this organization exists to help women in management,” she said. “I enjoy that because women don’t always help each other.”

Previously serving as the organization’s president, Monfre said she has remained a member and is on its scholarship committee.

Monfre also serves as a board member and audit committee chair for the University of Wisconsin-Madison Foundation and Alumni Association, which serves and raises money to support UW-Madison.

“At UW-Madison, a lot of money goes to cancer research, and it’s beautiful to hear the stories of how the research helps people,” she said. “It’s fun to be a part of, and (it) is so rewarding.”

Monfre said she also serves as board member and chair of the finance committee for the Catholic Foundation for the Diocese of Green Bay, which provides a faith-based avenue for giving.

Monfre said she finds joy in serving different organizations whose needs vary, but whose core mission is the same.


Karen Monfre said balancing her many volunteer roles over the years was a matter of scheduling and prioritization. Chris Rugowski Photo

“Ultimately, I’m involved in three foundations, but they serve three very different needs, and all tie in with my financial background,” she said. “It’s a wonderful combination for me to be able to serve the community through financial stewardship.”

Monfre said volunteerism comes down to helping and serving others, and considers herself blessed to have had the opportunity.

She continues to be involved with the UW Alumni Club of Brown County, serves on the advisory board for the Wisconsin River Partners, is assistant treasurer of Shawano Area Waterways Management, serves on the financial council for St. Martin of Tours Parish and St. John the Baptist Parish and is a member of the Association for Corporate Growth.

Until recently, she also served on the board of directors for Denmark State Bank (prior to the bank’s sale).

Balancing it all, Monfre said, is a matter of scheduling and prioritization.

She said when her children were younger, she involved her children in the activities wherever possible and credits her supporting husband for helping her give back as much as she has over the years.

Monfre described her community involvement activities as her “me time.”

“I didn’t go away or take girlfriends’ weekends away,” she said. “Instead, I did my ‘away time’ from home in the community, and then the rest of the time was family time. My kids loved being a part of it and loved seeing their mom be a part of it. When mom is happy, everybody is happy.”

Monfre said though most of her volunteer activities started in a treasurer or financial role, over time they led to leadership roles with the organizations.

“I actually love being the second, a strong second, the financial strength behind the leader,” she said. “I’ve also had the opportunity to be president of three organizations and did that because it was needed. I don’t seek that, but when it is the right thing to do, you do the right thing.”

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