Over 40 years ago, four civic leaders (who were on the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors at the time) began a conversation focused on what needed to be done about Madison’s downtown. It was a time of urban sprawl and downtown Madison was suffering. These four people knew that if the downtown decayed it would negatively affect the entire city. Their discussion led to the eventual formation of Downtown Madison, Inc. (DMI).
The four visionaries at the time were: Bob O’Malley, President of (then) United Bank & Trust (passed away May 30, 2014), Bob Schmitz, President of the Hub Men’s Clothing Store (passed away June 27, 2013), Don Hovde, President of Hovde Realty, Inc. (passed away February 8, 2002), and Don Helfrecht, CEO of Madison Gas & Electric. They created the vision/foundation that continues to drive the work of DMI today and it is for that reason DMI has established a Legacy Fund in their names.
The Legacy Fund allows businesses, friends, and families to recognize those who have contributed over and above to the health and growth of DMI. Contributions can be made at any level to honor an individual, a company, or a group that has committed time/work to the betterment of downtown Madison. These generous contributions will honor our founders dedication to downtown and will keep their legacy alive by funding research, special projects, grant writing, and staff training at the discretion of the DMI Board—all to enhance our effectiveness in implementing our mission to sustain and grow a healthy and vital downtown Madison!