History of Packers Heritage Trail Foundation, Inc.

The Packers Heritage Trail Foundation, Inc., was granted status as a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation and public charity in November 2011. The Foundation was founded by Cliff and Shirley Christl and is the organizational wheel behind the Packers Heritage Trail.

Cliff Christl, a Green Bay native and longtime sportswriter in Wisconsin, conceived the idea of creating the Packers Heritage Trail after spending years researching the history of the Green Bay Packers. To turn his brainchild into reality, Christl enlisted the help of his wife, Shirley, and, together, they began meeting with numerous people in the community to gauge interest in the concept.

Molly Vandervest, marketing and events manager of Downtown Green Bay, Inc., used her many connections to assist the Christls during this stage of the project. In turn, Cindy Zagone, a former member of the Downtown Green Bay Marketing Committee, suggested that the Packers Heritage Trail be patterned after The Freedom Trail in Boston.

Encouraged by the widespread and positive feedback they were given, the Christls eventually asked Tom Hinz, Scott King and Mike McKenna to serve with them on the Foundation’s original five-member Board of Directors. Together, Hinz, King and McKenna were largely responsible for taking the original plan to a higher level.

With the help of his branding and marketing company, The Karma Group, McKenna gave it a wow factor. King, a longtime Green Bay bank executive, thought big, brought the plan into even sharper focus and spearheaded the Foundation’s highly successful fundraising efforts. And Hinz, a former Brown County Executive and member of the Packers Board of Directors, led interference for the Foundation by garnering the support of public officials and the Packers organization.

In time, the Board also added Dick Danen, a certified public accountant with more than 35 years of experience, to handle the Foundation’s financial records.



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