SUCCESS STORY – Wisconsin State Capitol
“Both locals and tourists delight in the purchase of the annual ornament. Zeuske says, “I’m so proud of the beauty of this collection and the fact that they are made in America. The Capitol belongs to our community. And it is that community who should share in the knowledge that they are giving back to their treasured state.”Cate Zeuske
Cate Zeuske, former Secretary of Revenue and Wisconsin State Treasurer, can truly be called a champion for state pride and historical advocacy. In 2003, Ms. Zeuske’s husband was speaker of the Wisconsin state assembly.
At one of the state functions, she happened to be speaking to the wife of the TX speaker and began discussing the widely successful annual ornament program the State Capitol of Texas had created with Beacon Design. Inspired by the discussion, Zeuske spoke to her colleagues and discovered that there was a State Capitol Restoration Fund in existence for people to donate towards the restoration of the capitol building, but to date, no money had been raised.
This was the perfect opportunity to create an annual keepsake program to raise funds to aid in the preservation of the Capitol. The program began in 2004 with a gold finished ornament in the likeness of the Capitol itself. The original order sold through in 2 days and more had to be reordered, for a total their first year of 2500 ornaments. Each year the ornament continues to be a popular fundraiser, featuring architectural facets of the building.
The ornaments are distributed in various local historic gift shops, such as the Historical Society Gift Shop and online store, Veterans Museum Gift Shop and Frank Lloyd Wright Convention Center and other non‐historic retailers. One of these stores, Johannsen’s Greenhouse and Gifts in Madison, is one of the largest fundraisers for the ornament. All retailers agree to a minimum of $3 from each sale to go towards the fund. Zeuske has resisted the urge to raise the price of the ornament stating, “By keeping the price down, everyone can take pride in owning a piece of local history as well as supporting the local economy.”
To learn more about the Wisconsin State Capitol, please visit their website at: http://www.wisconsin.gov/state/capfacts/history.html