SOAR Business Breakfast Bytes

Topic: People with Disabilities: An Underutilized Talent Pool

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

7:30 AM – 9:00 AM

Fox Cities Environmental Learning Campus at the Bubolz Nature Preserve

4815 N. Lynndale Drive, Appleton

The September Business Breakfast Bytes will feature experts who will provide education and statistics relating to disabilities and employment, and the resources and support systems that are available for those hiring from that talent pool.

Facilitated by:

Erin Schultz, Executive Director, SOAR Fox Cities, Inc.

Panel of Experts:

Doug Pollesch, District Leader, Kwik Trip

Edward Ruffolo, Director of Technology, Miron Construction

Darrin Kuehn, Senior Director Store Operations, Festival Foods

Nicole Greetan, Business Services Consultant, Department of Workforce Development, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation

Emily Warriner, Manager, Planet Fitness

Vanessa Mcgovert, Regional Director, Planet Fitness

We hope you can join us on Tuesday, September 18th!

Open to all Fox Cities Chamber members. Members may bring a guest.

No cost for members.

Soar Fox Cities Welcomes Amy Andersen as Director of Development

SOAR Fox Cities, Inc., often referred to simply as SOAR, is excited to announce the hire of Amy Andersen as the organization’s new Director of Development.

Andersen joins the leadership team at SOAR with over 15 years of experience with big picture strategizing, relationship building, advocacy, needs and impact assessment, event planning and promotions, and grant management. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Pre-law and master’s degree in Education (Counseling) from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. For the past 12.5 years Andersen served as Campus Counselor at Moraine Park Technical College in Fond du Lac serving at-risk students. She started her career in the non-profit world as a Prevention Educator and Program Coordinator for Sexual Abuse Services, and has worked extensively as a volunteer in many non-profit organizations. During her tenure with Sexual Abuse Services and Big Brothers Big Sisters Board of Directors, Amy has developed, planned and implemented major fundraising events that also promote awareness and collaborative relationships. Amy also interned with the U.S Department of Justice providing Technical Assistance to the public on the Americans with Disabilities Act, and served as Director of Public Service and Promotions Writer for WKOW-TV in Madison, WI.

“I can’t wait to start highlighting all the services, programming, dedicated staff, and of course the reason for it all, the wonderful SOAR participants! I view life from an inclusive lens and try to have my work reflect the value I place on every individual living their best life. I look forward to translating this value into continued financial support for SOAR from the Fox Cities community.”

Andersen began with SOAR on July 31, 2018.

2018 Corn Roast

Grab your partner! It’s time for a country hoedown! Summertime is fading into fall, and you can’t let the season slip by without one last bash to celebrate good friends and good times. Join us, along with some community groups, for a rootin’ tootin’ good time. Fun for the whole family! Wear your best cowboy boots, hats and western clothing!

Registration Information:

$5 per person or $25 per family (up to 8 people) Children under 6 years old are FREE
*No Payments will be accepted at the park (anyone who attends without registering in advance will be invoiced $10)

*Registration and payment is due August 14th

To register, please contact SOAR: 920-731-9831



Appleton, WI (March 23, 2018) SOAR Fox Cities is excited to announce their, Make I.T. SOAR (I.T. stands for Intellectual Technicians) program was awarded a prestigious Force for Positive Change Award. Accompanying the award is a $12,500 grant provided in partnership by the Wisconsin Alumni Research (WARF), John and Tashia Morgridge, Marquette University, Promega, and American Family Insurance. Awards were announced at the Force for Positive Change Event held at Marquette University on Thursday, March 22, 2018.

This is the second year of the Force for Positive Change event and awards ceremony. When the program first launched in 2016 there were two goals: Shine a light on the impactful work already taking place across Wisconsin; and inspire and engage the next generation of social entrepreneurs eager to make a difference. This year there were over 150 for-profit and non-profit applicants from throughout Wisconsin in six different categories including Food/Agriculture, Energy/Cleantech/Water/Environment, Finance/Lending/Housing, Education/Youth Programming, Manufacturing/Art/Design/Construction, and Workforce and Urban Development. The judging committees were struck by the stories of all the applicants and the ways in which each of them became a Force for Positive Change within their communities by demonstrating that it is possible to emphasize both social impact and financial stability. For more information on the Force for Positive Change visit

The Make I.T. SOAR program gives high functioning individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) an opportunity to be gainfully employed in the information technology industry.  Our program allows individuals with autism to have the opportunity to be gainfully employed and to fill the community need of IT talent. 

Studies show that autism is the fastest growing developmental disability and autism in U.S. children has increased by 119.4% from 2000 to 2010. 35% of young adults (ages 19-23) with autism have not had a job or received postgraduate education after leaving high school (Shattuck et al., 2012). Some estimates indicate that the rate of underemployment among adults with autism exceeds 90%. According to the Economic Outlook presented by the Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce on in February 2015, and article published in November 2015 by NNB2B, there is a shortage of IT talent in the Fox Cities. Many high functioning individuals on with ASD have high technical skills and interest. These two key factors are the reasons Make I.T. SOAR program’s mission is to empower high functioning individuals with autism to pursue their dreams and utilize their talents in the technology industry.

Executive Director of SOAR Fox Cities, Erin Schultz, “We are honored to have been chosen as one of the recipients of a Force for Positive Change Award. There were over 150 well deserving applicants and for Make I.T. SOAR to have been chosen is truly humbling. It also sends a clear message about the social change we’re working to create within the Fox Cities and throughout the State of Wisconsin. Sadly, more often than not, individuals with developmental disabilities are only seen for their disabilities, not their abilities and SOAR Fox Cities and Make I.T. SOAR are working diligently to break this stigma. Receiving this award reaffirms what we’re doing and has energized our efforts.”



SOAR Fox Cities, Inc., often referred to simply as SOAR, is excited to announce the hire of Erin N. Schultz as the organization’s new Executive Director.

Schultz joins the leadership team at SOAR with over 10 years of non-profit leadership experience, a significant portion of which has focused on program and organizational development, fund development, and strategic planning. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Marian University, is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin Green Bay’s Masters in Social Work Program, and completed a non-profit leadership certificate at the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire.

Most recently Schultz served as the Executive Director of Hope House of Manitowoc County, Inc., a shelter program serving homeless families located along the Lakeshore in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. During her tenure with Hope House, Schultz lead the organization through a relocation to a new operating location and facilitated a capital campaign to help fund renovations to the new building and the move.

“I am beyond excited to have joined the amazing team that already exists at SOAR” Schultz notes. “I truly look forward to serving the nearly 1,200 individuals, families, and corporations from throughout the Fox Cities region that SOAR serves.” Schultz continues, “The mission of SOAR to empower people with differing abilities clearly spoke to me. I believe in the inherent ability EVERYONE holds and believe that every individual, regardless of ability, has something to share with the world.”

Schultz began with SOAR on January 8, 2018.