Bader Philanthropies, Inc.: Awards more than $4.6 million in grants to boost programming in Milwaukee and nationally

Jeff Dardis, on behalf of Bader Philanthropies, Inc.

Phone: 414-319-5700

[email protected]

Milwaukee Arts funding doubles; Annual giving commitment increases by 40 percent

MILWAUKEE – Bader Philanthropies, Inc., one of southeastern Wisconsin’s top five foundations, announced today that its board of directors has approved $4,691,000 in grant funding to support 67 projects in Wisconsin, as well as across the U.S. and Canada. The new grants includes an expanded Milwaukee Arts grant program that represents a doubled commitment to funding for programs in Milwaukee, now totaling $1 million annually.

Known as the Helen Bader Foundation, Inc. for more than two decades, in January 2015, Bader Philanthropies unveiled a new structure encompassing two distinct philanthropic funds that reflect the values and interests of their respective namesakes: the Helen Daniels Bader Fund (HDBF), and the Isabel and Alfred Bader Fund (IABF). While HDBF remains committed to the arts and is the largest private funder of Alzheimer’s and aging in Wisconsin, the philanthropic commitment of Isabel and Alfred Bader is increasing the organization’s total annual giving to more than $14 million, a 40 percent increase over the Helen Bader Foundation’s annual average. In addition to the arts, IABF supports Community Partnerships for Youth, Workforce Development, Social Equality, and Community Initiatives, among other interests.

The Milwaukee Arts interests of both IABF and HDBF focus on programs that engage underserved audiences of all ages, celebrate diverse art forms, and create cross-cultural connections.

“Our family knows that the arts not only have an impact on the individual, but also help shape our community as a whole,” said Daniel Bader, president and CEO for Bader Philanthropies. “By doubling our annual commitment to the arts, we want to ensure that the inspirational power of the arts reaches as many Milwaukeeans as possible.”

Among the new grants, a total of $205,000 was awarded to five projects in Milwaukee Arts. The largest award was a two-year, $150,000 grant to First Stage Milwaukee, Inc., which has been the driving force behind the creation of innovative plays for family audiences, theater training programs for young people and education initiatives for Milwaukee area schools. Grant funds will support First Stage’s FUTURE Campaign, which increases the accessibility of arts programs for young people and families from all backgrounds.

The FUTURE Campaign will enhance theater in education programs that respond to the academic needs of students, and engage more schools in comprehensive arts-integrated experiences. Bader Philanthropies’ funding will allow First Stage to increase financial aid opportunities and expand program locations to reach more young people throughout greater Milwaukee. With diversity as the core of its mission, First Stage aims to connect with local communities that are underserved to increase access to First Stage character-building programming.

In conjunction with the FUTURE Campaign, First Stage will build an education resource center designated for professional development courses for community educators, arts education collaboration and the expansion of arts-integrated teaching programs. Grants funds will also be used to provide for a new full-time community engagement specialist to further First Stage’s efforts in the community. First Stage’s community engagement specialist will work with neighborhood leaders, families, schools and institutions to create and implement long-term community engagement models that best address academic, character and leadership development.

“In underserved communities, these programs are often the only resource available to young people on fixed incomes,” said Betsy Corry, managing director at First Stage. “Our partnership with Bader Philanthropies ensures that we are able to increase our commitment to artistic excellence by broadening our reach while producing the highest quality theater for young audiences.”

In Bader Philanthropies’ other grant programs, 16 new grants totaling $360,000 were awarded through Community Partnerships for Youth, including Lead2Change, Inc., which is receiving $50,000 for its Dream.Explore.Build program for Milwaukee youth. The organization works to empower and inspire Milwaukee youth to be catalysts for change in their communities.

Participants in the Dream.Explore.Build program complete Brick by Brick, a progressive curriculum that allows students to explore talents, choices and career interests for their future. An assigned advancement coach navigates students through the program and assures employment or enrollment in post-secondary education at program completion. Implemented in a classroom setting, the curriculum covers work-based readiness skills such as effective group interaction, critical thinking and conflict management, providing students a competitive edge for college admission and employment.

After nearly 100 hours of training, each student interviews and is placed at an internship that is specific to his or her career interest. In addition to traditional placements, five specialty cohorts are integrated into the internship portion, including:

-the Career Practicum Medical Group, managed by first-year medical students from the Medical College of Wisconsin, offers students an opportunity to explore life as a medical student;

-the Vet Med group, in partnership with the University of Wisconsin Madison is for students who have an interest in becoming veterinarians;
DreamBuilders, a program for those interested in architecture that blends architecture and entrepreneurship; and

-students interested in the arts explore the many jobs available to them after they are placed at one of the MPS Partnership for the Arts sites.

“This funding from Bader Philanthropies will allow us to recruit an additional 35 students for the 2015-16 class, raising the number of students served through this grant term to 80,” said Dionne Grayson, founder and executive director for Lead2Change. “We are excited to provide the necessary coaching that will instill confidence, raise self-esteem and ensure future success for Milwaukee’s youth.”

Local youth are also the focus of The City of Milwaukee, which is receiving a two-year, $200,000 Community Initiatives grant for its new MKE Plays initiative. Grant funds will help revitalize equipment and landscaping at selected “pocket parks” in low-to-moderate income neighborhoods, with an aim of strengthening those neighborhoods and building a strong sense of community.

With a decrease in the average funding for recreational facilities over the past 15 years, the City is positioning MKE Plays as an effort to encourage outdoor play, stabilize neighborhoods, and strengthen relationships among neighbors. Citing research on the importance of play for a child’s physical, social, emotional, and education development, the leaders of MKE Plays are focused on reconstructing play areas that have the potential to inspire children’s imagination, regardless of where they live in Milwaukee.

”The physical appearance of common spaces has a powerful effect of either demoralizing or empowering a community, and that’s especially true for children,” said Milwaukee Common Council President Michael Murphy. “Through the support from Bader Philanthropies, we will be able to reconstruct playgrounds with new play and fitness equipment, as well as install complementary pieces for seating, bike racks, receptacles, and fencing. In the long term, a fun, welcoming space right in the neighborhood will help neighbors make connections that can build up the wider community.”

About Bader Philanthropies, Inc.: Milwaukee-based Bader Philanthropies, Inc. is a philanthropic leader in improving the quality of life of the diverse communities in which it works. Through the Helen Daniels Bader Fund and the Isabel and Alfred Bader Fund, the organization funds innovative projects and programs, convenes partners, and shares knowledge to affect emerging issues in key areas. Since its founding in 1992 as the Helen Bader Foundation, the organization has committed more than $250 million in grants and program-related investments, such as loans and equity investments that advance its charitable mission. For more information on Bader Philanthropies, visit