Posted by: danielrashke | June 27, 2019

Time for an Upgrade

Posted by: danielrashke | May 31, 2019

Returning to My Roots

I recently had the opportunity to attend the graduation ceremony at my alma mater, Pacelli Catholic High School, in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. This experience was particularly meaningful because I was attending with the honor of being the 2019 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient.

Once I got over the astonishment of not only being nominated for but also of receiving this award (I was somewhat of a goof in high school and I never finished college), I had a lot of fun reminiscing about my friends, my teachers, and my “Glory Days” (cue Bruce Springsteen).

In preparing my speech, I struggled with if I should be thoughtful, somewhat interesting and heavily censored…or uncensored, more interesting and somewhat thoughtful. I landed somewhere in the middle.

Based on the crowd’s response, I think it landed pretty well. Here I share an excerpt from my speech. Perhaps you’ll find something of interest within it.

Pacelli meant to me Friendship, Faith, Service, Education…and Fun.

Friendship…my friend John Raflik was the one who kindly nominated me for the distinguished alumni award. Today he is the school’s Athletic Director. But back then he, Mike Brekke and I were The Three Amigos. In my senior yearbook John wrote, “You’re a hell of a friend and good luck in the future. You’re going to have a good one. I know it.”

While John and I knew we were not likely to stay as close in proximity or spend as much time together when we went our separate ways, there was and is a bond, because of our time together at Pacelli.

Faith…I was blessed to be afforded the opportunity to come to Pacelli. I grew up on a dairy farm in Amherst, not in the Stevens Point School District. The summer before 8th grade my parents recognized I was struggling in my environment. Two of my older brothers had gone to Pacelli ahead of me, so my parents sacrificed to allow me to go to St. Stan’s for my 8th grade year.

It was not easy for my parents though…with no public bussing, 30 minutes away by car, tuition costs, and the time commitment of volunteering. But it worked out great for me.

By going to Stevens Point Catholic schools for five years, I learned more about myself…about community…and about faith than any other period in my life. That faith remains a cornerstone, a part of my foundation that provides stability when business and life deal me tough problems that are not black and white, but gray.

Service…More specifically, choosing service over self-interest. I’m a big believer in servant leadership. This is where moral authority trumps natural authority. It is the freedom to choose…when we live by our conscience. It is conscience that transforms passion into compassion.

Education…When I took the ACT it included the test and an interest assessment and profile. My ACT score was average by today’s standards, but by some people’s standards, it was sub-par. The assessment part of the ACT said I like data and people…in that order. It also said I should look at sales, management or healthcare as potential career paths.

I went on to the University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point, but I left after two and half years. I was going to school, selling insurance and having fun. I couldn’t do them all well, so I decided one had to go. With my superior math-logic brain I deduced that having money from working really helped in the “having fun” part of the equation.

Back at Pacelli, I lettered in basketball and I did all the high school activities and events. When I was voted Class Clown and a classmate was voted Most Likely to Succeed, I was mad. I’m like, ‘What? You didn’t pick me…Is it because you believe one can’t have fun and be successful?’ I wanted to prove to everyone that I could succeed…in work…in family…in life.

My father used to tell me, “If you don’t think you’re good, how can you expect anyone else to think that?”

To the Pacelli graduates: do not let this time in high school or this institution define you, do not let your friends define you, do not let your family define you…you define you! Know that this institution, these friends, and your family are great sources of support and that your faith can be nourishing…especially at times when nourishment is desperately needed. Your faith and service over self-interest can also lead you to be the nourishment someone else might need.

And to all members of the Class of 2019: Congratulations. Godspeed.

Posted by: danielrashke | February 7, 2019

Dane County Has a Dream

2019-02-07 DreamUp logoLast fall, TASC was invited to partner with We Care for Dane Kids on an innovative idea to raise the net income of 10,000 middle class households by 10% by 2020.

This challenge was presented by Schmidt Futures (think Eric Schmidt of Google) as the Alliance for the American Dream competition. The University of Wisconsin-Madison is participating as one of four universities across the country. UW established DreamUp Wisconsin within its Institute for Research on Poverty to generate creative solutions to complex social problems. Schmidt Futures will award a grant to the winning Alliance for the American Dream team to help fund one of these solutions.

We are excited to be part of one of the DreamUp Wisconsin finalist teams. We Care for Dane Kids proposes a multi-sector approach to make child care more affordable. TASC’s role in this project is to help more working parents take advantage of Dependent Care Flexible Spending Accounts—providing pre-tax savings to employers and employees. We look forward to the final pitch to Schmidt Futures this June.

Posted by: danielrashke | January 25, 2019

Giving is an Essential Activity

cfc logoThe Give Back Foundation (GBF) and TASC recently published an op-ed in the Federal Times, a news service for government managers. GBF chair Jeanan Yasiri Moe and TASC president Cliff Mason wrote about “How a federal charity program is coping with the shutdown.”

As Jeanan and Cliff noted, the partial government shutdown unfortunately occurred during the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) giving period, which will have a profound impact on the services provided by charities supported by the federal government’s workplace giving program. Although about 75 percent of the government is still working, the Office of Personal Management (OPM) has suspended non-essential operations, including CFC activities.

I encourage you to read the full Federal Times article to learn why OPM recently approved an extension of the CFC giving period…and how the Give Back Foundation and TASC contributed to that decision.

We understand that many federal workers are struggling to pay bills because of the shutdown. Some may have to turn to charities for help during this difficult time. That means philanthropy is more essential than ever.

Our commitment to keeping the CFC campaign open allows those who have the capacity, capability and desire to give to do so. The support they provide to our country’s charitable organizations may have an even greater impact now than ever.

Posted by: danielrashke | January 4, 2019

Where There’s a Wish, There’s a Way

As if the honor of being named a 2019 Executive of the Year by Madison’s In Business magazine wasn’t enough, I recently had the opportunity to contribute to the article, “Madison’s execs wish big for 2019.” Kudos to In Business for encouraging business leaders to think beyond resolutions—which are so often forgotten—to instead focus on actionable goals to improve our organizations and our community.

My three wishes focus on the concentric circles of TASC, Dane County (the local community where our office is headquartered), and the community at large. Here I’ll expand upon the ideas noted in the In Business article.

    1. Improve the health, wealth and well-being of our customers, employees and community
      TASC lives this mission every year, but in 2019 we’ll do it bigger and better. We’re bringing to market a new technology system that will help our customers work smarter and faster. I’m not exaggerating when I say this upgrade will disrupt the benefits administration industry. Like so many others, the benefits industry has evolved in silos, fragmented by government policies, regulations and laws. TASC has designed a way to simplify unnecessary complexities. We’re excited to roll out this new model so we can all work smarter, easier and more connected.
    2. Schmidt Futures backing for We Care for Dane Kids
      Three Dane County initiatives have advanced to the final round of a challenge issued by Schmidt Futures with the lofty goal to increase the net income of 10,000 middle class households by 10% by 2020. The We Care for Dane Kids team (including Wisconsin Early Childhood Education, the University of Wisconsin, the City of Madison and others) proposed a comprehensive suite of investments into the child care system. TASC is championing a component that would boost tax savings for parents and employers, and we’ve recruited a few other Madison-area employers to show their support. As much as we’d like to see We Care for Dane Kids win the competition, we believe that any of the three initiatives will have a significant social and economic impact on our community.
    3. Legislative action on the Everyday Philanthropist Act
      Through The Greater Give, I’ll continue supporting The Everyday Philanthropist Act, a bipartisan bill that aims to democratize giving for all. Regular readers will recall that this bill was introduced in the House of Representatives in 2018. It will have to be reintroduced to the 116th Congress, whether as an independent idea or tucked into another bill. Additionally, we’re optimistic that a companion bill will be introduced in the Senate. Given the legislation’s broad bipartisan appeal and support, we’re looking forward to the implementation of pre-tax giving that will benefit working Americans, employers and charities across the nation.

As we embark on the new year, I’m inspired by the many opportunities ahead, here in Madison and beyond. Now it’s time to dig in and make these wishes come true.

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