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Giving Back: The Gene and Ruth Posner Foundation

“Strive every day to do what you want to do.”

This was the advice Josh Gimbel gave a group of students during a recent visit to one of College Possible’s partner high schools.

Gimbel is the president and CEO of the Gene and Ruth Posner Foundation and has long been supportive of College Possible. The foundation’s first gift came in 2011 and each year since they have renewed their commitment to helping low-income students achieve their dreams of a college education.

“Each year we’ve increased the grants we’ve given to College Possible because you can’t argue with success,” Gimbel said.

The Gene and Ruth Posner Foundation has seen this success first-hand. Since 2011, Gimbel has visited six different high schools to talk with students in the program.

“I’ve always felt if I am encouraging the foundation board to support something I should see how it operates,” he said.

His most recent trip brought him to Milwaukee Collegiate Academy (MCA) where he talked with seniors about their college plans and also answered their questions. He told them about how he chose his major, how he started in his career and how he got involved in a charitable organization.

The last question was easy to answer. Gimbel is carrying out the legacy of his grandparents, Gene and Ruth Posner, who established their foundation back in 1963. He is the only family member remaining in Milwaukee and works with a small board of relatives to carry out the operations of the foundation.

Supporting education is central to their mission.

“Our focus became ‘What else can we do to help Milwaukee youth?’” said Gimbel. “The whole idea of first generation college students was really appealing to our board.”

Gimbel’s grandfather, Gene Posner, was a first-generation college student back when he put himself through law school and later became a successful real estate investor and entrepreneur. This belief in the power of education was passed down and Gimbel explained this to the College Possible students he met with at MCA.

“An education is something that nobody can ever take away from you. It’s with you forever. In our city, you can’t go wrong with getting an education.”

Gimbel hopes that the young high school students he has met with will remain in Milwaukee or return to the city after they earn their degrees to mentor the next generation of youth. After six years of site visits, he still looks forward to the next school he visits and the students he will meet.

“College Possible is instilling in these students a great sense of success,” he said. “They feel a sense of warmth and commitment from College Possible that helps them achieve great things.”

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