About 18% of our total dollars granted,  in 2022,  went to memorials.

Out of darkness comes light

Thanks to your support, since 1999, Mel’s Charities has provided over $500,000 in legacy grants and scholarships.  The following are just a few of the lives we will never forget.


Shelby Austin: donation to the Cedarburg Art Museum for their Student Art Matters program. Shelby who had a love for art, lost her life at age 17 in an automobile accident in 2001.

Dustin Brede: donation to Port Washington High School. Sergeant First Class Brede died in a tragic motorcycle accident in 2017, just days after celebrating his official retirement from the US Army. He was 42 years old.

Dr. Andy Brooks: donation to Homestead High School.  Andy was a beloved youth coach of football, hockey, and lacrosse who at age 42, passed away from cancer in 2015.

Stephen Castner:  donation to Cedarburg High School. Corporal Castner, at the age of 27, was killed in action in Iraq in 2006.

Josh Davis-Joiner: donation to Grafton High School. In 2017, Josh lost his life playing the game he loved, basketball. Josh was 17 years old.

Jeff and Kate Gruetzmacher: donation to Grafton High School. In 2017 Jeff, age 69, and his daughter Kate, age 42, lost their lives to cancer.

Chris Kalies: donation to Grafton High School. An award-winning automotive technician at GHS, Chris lost his life in a snowmobile accident in January 1998.Chris was 19 years old.

Rick King:  donation to Grafton High School. Coach King passed away at 42 from a heart attack. He was a beloved Grafton Gladiators youth football coach.

Matt Kobiske: In 2005, Matt, a Grafton High School graduate, lost his life to a heroin overdose. He was 21 years old. Annually, Mel’s Charities brings Chris Herren and his powerful message to area High Schools in honor/memory of Matt.

Ken Kuemmerlein: donated to the “Be Like Ken” Scholarship at Cedarburg High School. In 2020, at the age of 50, Ken lost his life to Covid-19 complications. Ken was a CHS graduate and long-time Special Olympics coach.

Matt Malkowksi: donated to Grafton High School. Matt, in 2010, at the age of 18, lost his life in an automobile accident.

Austin Reichers and Devin Krumbiegel: donated to Cedarburg High School. In 2018 these good friends lost their lives in an automobile accident. They were both 21 years old.

Grant Schoen: donated to Cedarburg Mercs Youth Baseball League in honor of Grant, who, in 2013, at ten years old, lost his life to sudden cardiac arrest.


Mel’s Village

Jan Schanen: Grafton native, who in 2016, at the age of 60, lost her life to cancer.

Stuart Mitkey: Cedarburg native, who in 2012, while attending the Naval Officer Candidate School passed away from sudden cardiac arrest. Stu was 25 years old.

Chad Viesselmnann: Grafton native who lost his life way too early at age 25.