MILWAUKEE, May 9, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Studies show that events and cultural attractions strengthen a region's economic growth, acting as magnets for both corporate relocations and prospective workers. As part of its efforts to strengthen the community where the company's 5,000 employees live and work, Northwestern Mutual, through its Foundation, is announcing $500,000 in grants to support nonprofit programs that help make Milwaukee a destination for visitors.

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Each grant recipient attracts at least 100,000 attendees annually, contributing to the tourism industry and health of the local economy by creating the kind of memorable experiences, events and thought-provoking exhibits that interest destination seekers.

"One of the reasons Northwestern Mutual has been strong over 155 years is our ability to attract and retain an exceptionally talented workforce," said John Kordsmeier, president, Northwestern Mutual Foundation. "These programs will further strengthen the region's reputation, and make Milwaukee even more attractive to visitors, businesses, residents and tomorrow's workforce."

Spotlight on Zoological Society of Milwaukee

One recipient of a Northwestern Mutual grant is the Zoological Society of Milwaukee. The Milwaukee County Zoo, which hosts 1.3 million visitors annually, is the highest attended year-round family-oriented destination in a seven county region, according to a 2010 report from The Business Journal serving Greater Milwaukee.

The grant will help fund a significant renovation of the main entrance to the Northwestern Mutual Family Farm area. Improvements will provide a safe, inviting environment that offers interactive family-friendly activities, with a special emphasis on younger visitors to help stimulate their imaginations and build gross motor skills. To highlight the agricultural history of Wisconsin, full-scale farm equipment, garden tools and educational signage will be on display to provide additional learning opportunities. The historic wagons and other farm vehicles also create optimal staging for memorable photos.

"The Northwestern Mutual Family Farm is a must-see destination for families visiting the Milwaukee County Zoo," said Dr. Bert Davis, president and chief executive officer, Zoological Society of Milwaukee. "The new entrance will draw families into the farm by engaging children more quickly in a hands-on history lesson about farming."

Nonprofit programs shaping Milwaukee's cultural personality and receiving a Northwestern Mutual grant include:

Organization

Program

Brewers Community Foundation

Stealing for Miracles

Friends of Schlitz Audubon

Preserving a Natural Milwaukee Destination

Milwaukee Art Museum

MAM After Dark

Milwaukee Public Museum

Continued Sponsorship

Milwaukee World Festival

Summerfest – Children's Zone

Zoological Society of Milwaukee

Northwestern Mutual Family Farm Entrance Renovation


About the Northwestern Mutual Foundation

The mission of the Northwestern Mutual Foundation – the largest corporate foundation in the state of Wisconsin – is to build strong, vibrant communities that serve as a legacy to future generations. The Foundation's giving is designed to create an impact on the communities where the company's employees and financial representatives live and work. In fiscal year 2012, the Foundation will contribute $16.7 million to nonprofit organizations across the country.

About Northwestern Mutual

The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company – Milwaukee, WI (Northwestern Mutual) – among the "World's Most Admired" life insurance companies in 2012 according to FORTUNE® magazine – has helped clients achieve financial security for more than 155 years. As a mutual company with $1.2 trillion of life insurance protection in force, Northwestern Mutual has no shareholders. The company focuses solely and directly on its clients and seeks to deliver consistent and dependable value to them over time.  Northwestern Mutual and its subsidiaries offer a holistic approach to financial security solutions including: life insurance, long-term care insurance, disability insurance, annuities, investment products, and advisory products and services. Subsidiaries include Northwestern Mutual Investment Services, LLC, broker-dealer, registered investment adviser, member FINRA and SIPC; the Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Company, limited purpose federal savings bank; and Northwestern Long Term Care Insurance Company; and Russell Investments.

SOURCE Northwestern Mutual