2017 COPE Luncheon

Lunch, Levity and Laughter

A 2017 COPE Luncheon Thank you

Hard work and a belief in COPE’s mission — providing emotional support and crisis intervention to those in the Greater Milwaukee area — fueled a successful 2017 COPE Luncheon on Feb. 8 at the Milwaukee Country Club.We raised approximately $22,000 at the event, and I’m grateful to everyone who was part of it. “A little judicious levity” was the theme for the event, and Comedian Chris Barnes brought more than a little levity home! He gave us permission to laugh out loud.

That permission to laugh is especially important for those suffering from mental illness. Isolation, financial struggles, challenging relationships and stigma can tear people down, but sharing a laugh can buoy one’s spirits — even in very difficult times. COPE staff and volunteers speak to people on the COPE Hotline everyday who are struggling emotionally. What a welcome relief it is for our callers to find something to laugh about. So we appreciate the reminder!

Now that the Luncheon is behind us, I need to recognize the people and organizations that made it happen. COPE Outreach Specialist Kristin Kobylinski did a fantastic job of organizing this event, working with our Luncheon Committee to gather 42 silent auction packages, four outstanding raffle prizes and working with our staff to put on this event. Even with those last-minute changes that can cause stress at an event like this, she maintained her calm and professional manner. Kudos to her!

Robert Dittmer, our Hotline Manager, presented a message at the podium that brought everyone back to the mission of COPE. Then he offered a big reveal — letting our guests know that we broke the 30,000 call barrier! We took more than 30,000 calls in 2016. And he added his own bit of levity to the event.

Moriah White, Miriam Stern and Jake Shanahan deftly handled check-in, raffle and drink ticket sales, as well as the behind-the-scenes workings of the silent auction, quickly matching guests with their treasures at the end of the Luncheon. Bravo!

My sincere thanks to this year’s sponsors. We raised the financial commitment of our sponsorships this year, and our community partners still came through! Here they are:

2017 COPE Luncheon Sponsors

  • Anonymous (2)
  • Ascension/Columbia St. Mary’s
  • BMO Harris
  • Eernisse Funeral Homes
  • Exodus House
  • Gordie Boucher Village Ford of Thiensville
  • Katie Podmokly/Baird
  • Matt Shilling
  • Rogers Memorial Hospital
  • US Bank


Our Board of Directors

Finally, thanks to COPE’s dedicated board of directors who support COPE, especially our Board Chairman Mark Baumgartner.

  • Mark Baumgartner, Chairman
  • Steve Carlton, Vice Chairman
  • Dick Dieffenbach, Treasurer
  • Katie Podmokly, Secretary
  • Adam Liebl
  • Joy Mead-Meucci
  • Jane E. Miller
  • Pastor Jim O’Reilly Christensen
  • Matt Shilling
  • Jan Spero


Thanks once again to everyone who helped make this event a success! Here’s to a mentally healthy community.


All the best,

Cecile Duhnke

Executive Director

COPE Services

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