WED AM New: VC fund CEO calls $100-million state fund proposal a ‘golden opportunity’; Nordic Consulting reaches gold status at state LGBT chamber

— Wisconsin seeking a fund of funds is a golden opportunity to do something special — do it the right way, says Renaissance Venture Capital Fund CEO Chris Rizik. 

Rizik will be a panelist at the virtual Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference tomorrow during a discussion on the Midwestern trend of creating “funds of funds” to advance young companies and the startup economy. 

Conference host Wisconsin Technology Council supports Gov. Tony Evers’ plan to invest $100 million in a venture capital fund of funds. President Tom Still says the fund will make Wisconsin more competitive among its neighbors.

The proposal would make the state an investor alongside private investors, who must match the $100-million state investment with $200 million in collective investments of their own. As a “fund of funds,” the larger fund would work with other “recipient” funds to deploy capital over time in high-growth companies.

Michigan-based Renaissance is a private fund. It gets major corporations in Michigan investing in venture funds around the country and works to attract them to the state. Those corporations agree to be customers of startups that come out of the process. Renaissance also works with universities and angel funds to identify the most promising startups in Michigan. It sends that information out to venture funds around the country that it invests in. 

Read the full story at 

— The Wisconsin LGBT Chamber of Commerce announced today that Nordic Consulting has joined the organization as its newest gold member.

“One of our maxims at Nordic is ‘Be you,’ which encourages us to celebrate our authentic selves, include all people, and embrace our differences,” Nordic CEO Jim Costanzo said. “An important part of that is being supportive and inclusive of everyone, including the LGBTQIA2+ community and its allies.”

Nordic recently launched the LOVE — Leading Our Vision of Equality — employee resource group, which focuses on education, retention, visibility, customer support and innovation. It also does philanthropy for the LGBTQ community. 

With its corporate headquarters in Madison, Nordic is a global health care consulting firm that provides health IT staffing and advisory consulting. Nordic joins more than 40 other corporations as a gold member of the Wisconsin LGBT Chamber. 

— Gov. Tony Evers has proclaimed June as National Safety Month in Wisconsin, and the Wisconsin Safety Council will be highlighting different safety topics each week.

“While we all have taken extra steps like social distancing and frequent handwashing to stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to also think about how to avoid other risks in the workplace,” said Wisconsin Safety Council Executive Director Aaron Huebner.

Through public and private training programs with its members and a social media campaign, the council will educate the public on work safety. Topics include prevention, addressing COVID-19 concerns, job safety and advancing safety. 

— Planting is nearly finished, but possible frost damage recently may require some farmers to replant, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.

Wisconsin experienced cooler weather recently, with some of the state at least 4 degrees below normal.

Corn is reported 95 percent planted and oats are nearly finished. Seventy-seven percent of corn and 91 percent of oats have emerged. Both are three days ahead of last year and nine days ahead of the 5-year average. 

Corn condition is rated 81 percent good to excellent. Oat condition is rated 84 percent good to excellent, 4 percentage points better than last week.

Potatoes are also nearly finished. Potato condition is rated 91 percent good to excellent.

Soybeans are reported 91 percent planted, four days ahead of last year and 15 days ahead of the average. Soybeans are reported 63 percent emerged, five days ahead of last year and 11 days ahead of the average.

— UW-Madison botanist Simon Gilroy is launching cotton seeds to the International Space Station for experiments designed to improve plants grown on Earth. 

People can follow along live at 12:29 p.m. on Thursday. Coverage will begin at noon.

Gilroy’s lab will compare cotton grown in space and on Earth to try to understand how the important crop’s root system grows under the unique stresses of zero gravity. The research, funded by Target, is designed to help scientists understand how to more efficiently grow cotton, which requires enormous quantities of water.

This is the first time that cotton will be grown in space. By learning how to grow various crops in zero gravity, scientists can prepare to support longer-term space missions with fresh foods grown in flight or on other planets.

The live broadcast of the launch on a SpaceX Dragon capsule will be hosted by NASA. Watch live on NASA’s YouTube channel or register ahead of time for the full presentation:

See more on the experiment: 

— In other agriculture news, Gov. Tony Evers is celebrating June as National Dairy Month in “America’s Dairyland.”

“Whether it’s a cheese curd, custard, a glass of milk, or — my favorite — ice cream, this Dairy Month, join me in supporting Wisconsin’s dairy farmers and producers who work every day to make Wisconsin great,” the guv said in a video message. 

Wisconsin is one of the nation’s top producers of dairy products. It supplies more than a quarter of the country’s cheese. 

Watch Evers’ video: 

— The Department of Workforce Development is expanding  current available services to include walk-in customers at Job Centers throughout Wisconsin this week.

“While Job Centers have been serving customers throughout the pandemic, we are thrilled to be expanding our services for walk-ins,” DWD Secretary Amy Pechacek said. “We look forward to meeting Wisconsinites where they are, and we are eager to serve the communities on a larger scale.”

During the public health emergency, Job Center operations shifted to a largely virtual environment with in-person services by appointment only. This next phase of operations will shift focus to provide a mix of walk-in and virtual services, allowing people the freedom and choice to access resources from DWD and the Workforce Development Boards.

Find a local job center: 

— As COVID-19 uncovered health disparities statewide, the Medical College of Wisconsin is undertaking a multi-step solution to address economic fragility, poor health outcomes and lack of access to care.

“Our vision is for all people in Wisconsin to be part of healthy and vibrant communities, and for all individuals that have an opportunity to thrive,” said Dr. John Raymond, the president and CEO of MCW. “We know that not everybody has those opportunities.”

Raymond was the featured guest in this week’s Milwaukee Rotary Club meeting. Raymond attended in person and received the group’s 2021 Person of the Year award. 

He and other MCW team members have been giving COVID-19 updates in several organizations’ briefings as well as media interviews in order to address pandemic concerns. The college also hosted vaccine clinics, administering about 2,000 doses to medical personnel and underserved and minority communities in Milwaukee and rural Wisconsin.

Central Milwaukee and rural Wisconsin lack sufficient access to health care, which has led Wisconsin’s health rankings to drop in the past two decades, Raymond said. The college is launching more residency opportunities for students to improve access to both medical and psychiatric care in those areas.

Access to medical training in central Milwaukee and rural communities in northern Wisconsin is essential to addressing the statewide physician shortage, Raymond noted. “We will invest in pipeline programs to bridge the workforce and talent gaps, and under-resourced urban and rural communities.”

Read the full story in the latest Health Care Report: 

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# Postal Facility’s Closure Could Delay Northwoods Mail Service

# Gov. Tony Evers Criticizes GOP School Spending Plan, Says Full Budget Veto A Possibility

# Split between Wisconsin Democrats and Republicans on redistricting reform appears to be widening



– Wisconsin Milk Price Improves


– JBS Green Bay halts production Tuesday; meat processor hit by cybersecurity attack Monday


– WisEye Morning Minute: Joint Finance Votes to Lift Tuition Freeze for UW System Schools


– Dane County leans in to remote work for environmental benefits


– Union: Closing Wausau mail facility could delay delivery


– Gov. Tony Evers signs executive orders raising gay pride flag, directing agencies to use gender-neutral language

– State Could Soon Remove Thousands Of Inactive Voters From Registration List


– City of Milwaukee’s COVID-19 mask mandate ends: ‘We’re all looking forward to taking them off.’


– Here come the brides: Eau Claire venues field post-pandemic wedding rush


– Wisconsin Board of Regents to discuss athletic director hire


– UW-Parkside Undergrad Wins Wisconsin Big Idea Tournament


– Great popcorn at a Dairy Queen? Here’s why this Wisconsin city raves about it


– Controversial Transmission Line Through Wisconsin’s Driftless Area Faces Multiple Legal Hurdles


– Celebrate Wisconsin’s dairy future this June 


<i>See these and other press releases: </i>

– Wisconsin Internet of Things Council: To hold in-person quarterly symposium

– Dept. of Health Services: Fruit and vegetable benefit is increased for WIC participants

– UW-Platteville: School of Education to offer new loan repayment assistance program

– Urban League of Greater Madison: UW Health makes $100,000 donation to Black Business Hub