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Jason Gerlach

Jason Gerlach

Rufus King International High School


Jason Gerlach, attended Morse Middle School and is a Rufus King graduate from the class of 1989.

Jason currently resides in Southern California and is currently engaged in a range of professional, philanthropic and personal activities that keep him sufficiently busy.  "Professionally speaking, I'm in my 12th year at Sunrise Capital Partners, an investment firm of which I am the CEO and Managing Partner.  We run a range of our own proprietary investment programs and also seek out innovative alternative outside investment strategies from around the world." Jason is also the co-founder and former leader of the California Alternative Investments Association (CalALTs).  He is a part of the founding group behind the United States Alternative Investments Association (USALTs).  Both non-profit organizations work to educate and help bring together investors, asset managers and service providers involved in the world's dynamic alternative investment industry.  On the philanthropic front, Jason is proud to be the Chair of the Rufus King High School (RKHS) Fundraising Board which was founded in 2020 and which has already made a significant impact on the RKHS community.  He is also on the Board of Vistors for The Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs at the University of Wisconsin from which he received an M.A. in 1996. Jason is also active in the Benchers' Society of the University of Wisconsin Law School from which he received his Juris Doctorate in 1996.  Personally, he is the proud parent of Sydney (age 19) and Daniel (age 16) (and three rescue dogs). He is an active athlete, sports fan, traveler, reader, and music buff, among other things. 

Jason has a passion for the game of soccer - “I was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in the 1970’s and 80’s.  They had a surprisingly strong soccer community and culture back then, in large part due to the strong European ethnic influences in the city (German, Polish, Serbian, Croatian, etc.). There was a scrappy little club called the Milwaukee Kickers (that’s still around today) by the mid-1970’s had organized a pretty compelling youth program.  My parents got wind of it somehow and signed me up around the age of 6.  I took to the game quickly, enjoyed playing, and would spend the better part of the next 25 years playing in one form or another. I had some great coaches growing up who would take us to games at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee (coached by the legendary Bob Gansler, who would later go on to coach the U.S. Men’s National Team) and games at Bavarian Field (to watch the Milwaukee Bavarians – to this day still one of the city’s most formidable clubs)."

My time as an MPS student from 1982 to 1989 was incredibly impactful and played a critical role in shaping me into the person that I am today. In my time at both Samuel Morse Middle School and Rufus King High School, I was not only given a rock-solid education but I also made numerous lifetime friends, many of whom are still close friends today. Between long bus rides to and from school, memorable field trips, and the many fantastic sports and other extracurricular opportunities I enjoyed during my 7 plus years as an MPS student, I learned an incredible number of life skills including intellectual curiosity, leadership, adaptability, empathy, the importance of periodically working outside of one's comfort zone, and much much more. If I had a chance, I would tell everyone presently involved in MPS, whether students or faculty, to embrace the opportunity you have in your hands today and make the absolute most of it. While things could always be better and while there are always going to be resources you may not have, what you do have around you are caring people, thoughtful peers, great facilities, and an endless array of activities in which you can participate. These are priceless assets that you can leverage into just about any future you'd like to create for yourself. Don't stand by and wait for a better future. Act now by being kind,useful, cooperative, collaborative, energetic, and positive. Set aside as much of the world's ample supply of negativity to come together to support each other in achieving whatever aspirations you might have. Feed off of each other's energy and empathy and always lend a helping hand to others and you'll be amazed where you can go individually and collectively.

My message to my fellow MPS alums, in addition to what I've said above, is to give back in any way that you can. Starting now. Wherever you are in life right now, you didn't get there alone. There are teachers and administrators who supported and guided you, fellow students who befriended and comforted you, and an entire network on which your personal and professional successes were built. Whether you volunteer your time, donate a few dollars, or give back in another meaningful way, the impact of what you give will be far greater than you can imagine and will provide an entirely new generation of students the same opportunities that allowed you to get where you are today. Your character is a lifetime work in progress that you can and should work on continually. It costs nothing to develop your character but the potential benefits of having good character are infinite so make the investment starting today. Kindness, empathy, thoughtfulness, and patience are in relatively scarce supply, they are the cornerstones of just about every successful person and institution. So, before you work on anything else in your life, hone these critical personality traits and put them to work regularly in your interactions with others. You'll be amazed at how everything else falls into place positively after that.

In an effort to "give back" to his immediate community, Jason worked closely with Wendell Willis from the MPS Foundation "Jason has been an alum with immediate impact, not only for King’s Fund, but districtwide. I appreciate his commitment in being a steward of creating continued successes for our students. In his own words – “he’s paying it forward”. Jason's work offers a great model for all high schools to engage its alumni base in re-booting their school based fund. We are grateful for his effort and look forward to his continued impact."

Debra Jupka - Former Rufus King faculty and mentor/community volunteer and retired principal - "In 2019 at the 30 year reunion for the class of '89, where I was speaking at the Athletic Hall of Fame, Jason asked if I wanted to say a few words about an idea of Rufus King  being a catalyst for the alums. After that we talked briefly he asked (me) what he could do. I floated the idea about some type of alumni support. He took it from there with total enthusiasm, organizing and very quickly pulling a group of alums, parents past and current faculty together and formed the Rufus King International School support group. His organizational skills are amazing and his outreach to alums keeps growing and growing! He has successfully helped the group raise $20,000 in 2020. He has set a goal of five faculty projects and to raise $250,000 over the next five years. Jason is a natural-born leader who can cut through all the red-tape. Jason represents what Rufus King stands for, then and now."

Honors & Awards

  • Shortlist Nominee For 2015 Best Diversified CTA under $500M AUM And For 2015 Best Emerging CTA Strategy
  • 2014 Best for Alternative Investment Solutions and Best U.S. Investment Strategy
  • 2014 Commitment to Wealth Generation and Best In Sector Business Strategy
  • 2014 Best for Portfolio Diversification and CTA Management Firm of The Year
  • 2014 Nominee for Best Newcomer Equity Strategy and Best Newcomer CTA Strategy
  • 2013 Top 10 Annual Ranking Award
  • 2013 Top 5 CTA Challenge Finisher
  • Shortlist Nominee For 2014 CTA Management Firm of the Year and Best Newcomer CTA Strategy

Rufus King Nation - http://www.rkhs.org/

Faceboook - http://facebook.com/rufuskingnation 

Are you an MPS Alum who is giving back to your community?  Do you know of an MPS graduate who is making a difference in their community? Send information to the Alumni Hub-  valdesd@milwaukee.k12.wi.us 

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