Bader Philanthropies: Lead2Change receives $75,000 grant to expand

Bader Philanthropies Awards More Than $845,000 to After School and Summer Programming for Milwaukee’s Youth

MILWAUKEE – April 20, 2016 – Bader Philanthropies, Inc., one of southeastern Wisconsin’s top five foundations, recently announced its board of directors has approved a $75,000 grant to expand programming for Lead2Change, Inc., a youth leadership organization committed to authentically engaging young people to be successful leaders in college, career and the community. The grant is a part of a total of $3,442,128 in grants awarded at the most recent Bader Philanthropies board meeting this month, with more than $845,000 in funding to support positive outlets after school and during the summer for Miwaukee youth.

Throughout the school year, Lead2Change’s Dream.Explore.Build. provides young people ages 16-24 in Milwaukee with life-changing tools to build their own futures by exposing them to the world of work while still in high school. Through the program’s progressive curriculum, students identify their skills, purpose and talents while being connected to their career of choice. Students develop the practical skills necessary to be gainfully and meaningfully engaged in the workforce and society. “Bader Philanthropies’ efforts to impact Milwaukee’s youth have been in place for nearly 20 years, accounting for more than $15 million in grants awarded to Community Partnerships for Youth programming,” said Mary Osmundsen, program officer of the foundation’s youth grants. “Bader Philanthropies believes in supporting programs that offer not only a safe environment for children, but, also an environment in which they can learn and grow as individuals. Dream.Explore.Build. does a fantastic job of preparing young people to be life-long learners, productive workers and engaged citizens. With its waiting list growing, it’s clear Dream.Explore.Build. is a vital opportunity to help impact the lives of Milwaukee youth and the future of our city.”

Each student that enters Dream.Explore.Build is assigned an Advancement Coach who assists them with navigating the program and assures that each participant is either enrolled in post-secondary education or post-program advancement at program completion. Each student receives 150 hours of training, mentoring and experiential learning prior to being placed at their paid internship experience. The majority of students participate in specialty cohorts as part of their internship experience. Students interested in the medical field, architecture, law, veterinary medicine, the arts and video and film editing intern in a group setting that is led by a professional. After completion of nearly 150 hours of training, each student is interviewed and is placed at an internship that is specific to their career interest.

Since 2014, 79 students have successfully completed the program and of that number 99 percent have been placed in employment, military, technical school or four year college opportunities. Currently, 72 students are enrolled in the program.

One example of the program’s success is Jerel Ballard, one of the 12 youth co-founders of Lead2Change. When Jerel first joined Lead2Change, he described himself as an introvert and often shied away from leadership opportunities. After serving on Lead2Change’s Youth Advisory Council, he would soon become the marketing chair and later one of the most memorable presidents for the organization.

After graduation and while also studying broadcast journalism at Columbia College Chicago, Jerel remained involved with Lead2Change as a board member. Concurrently, he interned in the Chicago Mayor’s office, U.S. Senator’s office and boasted many titles on campus, including president of both the Student Government Association and the National Association of Black Journalists.

Just recently, Jerel was accepted into a very rigorous and selective program at George Mason University in Washington, D.C. in partnership with the Fund for American Studies. This spring, Jerel will intern on Capitol Hill while taking classes at George Mason University on a scholarship.

“Jerel credits Lead2Change for providing the leadership and professional development training that changed him into an ‘ambitious, passionate and humble leader.'” said Dionne Grayson, executive director and co-founder of Lead2Change. “Jerel took advantage of the many opportunities he was presented with at Lead2Change. More specifically, the experience helped him to gain confidence, develop leadership skills and provided opportunities for him to develop into a great public speaker.”

About Lead2Change, Inc. Lead2Change is a youth leadership organization committed to authentically engaging young people in leadership opportunities preparing them to be successful leaders in college, career and the community. Through philanthropy and career readiness programming, young people are involved in meaningful activities that assist with enhancing their leadership and employability skills. For more information on Lead2Change, visit

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

In addition to the new grant to Lead2Change, additional Community Partnerships for Youth grants were awarded to the following organizations: Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee, Inc. received a $25,000 grant for its Graduation Plus program, a series of college access/success programs that prepare high school students to pursue post-secondary education and earn their degree.

COA Youth and Family Centers, Inc. received a $7,000 grant to support summer camp scholarships for 30 youth participants from COA, UNCOM and unaffiliated agencies, to attend Camp Helen Brachman in Central Wisconsin.

COA Youth and Family Centers, Inc. received a two-year, $340,000 grant which supports its collaboration with the United Community Centers of Milwaukee on raising the quality and range of arts education activities available at afterschool programs.

COA Youth and Family Centers, Inc. received a $75,000 grant to support the implementation of teen programming at Holton Youth + Family Center in the Riverwest and Harambee neighborhoods.

Epic Center Community Organization, Inc. received a $10,000 grant for its Leaders of Tomorrow (LOT) program offering youth the opportunity to strengthen academics, build positive character and leadership skills through sports.

Hope House of Milwaukee, Incorporated received a $40,000 grant to support its Shining Stars Youth Education Program, which is based upon the active involvement of youth in a variety of activities that increase knowledge, improve skills, and teach new behaviors and strategies for future success at home, school, and in the community.

J.K. Lee City Youth Martial Arts Program, Inc. received a $5,000 grant to support the expansion of its out-of-school-time martial arts programming.

Kappa Alpha Psi Foundation of Southeastern Wisconsin, Inc. received a two-year, $14,000 grant to supports its Kappa League, a program providing educational, occupational and social guidance to low income male students of color from grades 6th-12th.

Milwaukee Public Theatre, Ltd. received a $10,000 grant for its visual and performing arts residency programs in 8-10 youth serving organizations and schools leading up to the Milwaukee Latino Carnaval.

Milwaukee Tennis & Education Foundation, Inc. received $20,000 grant for its TEAM (Tennis, Education and Mentoring) program, a neighborhood-based year-round youth outreach tennis and education program that includes afterschool and summer programming.

Neighborhood House of Milwaukee, Inc. received a $40,000 grant for its Lead & Learn Year-Round Urban Agriculture (UAg) program, which is a year-long initiative providing paid internships and activities in urban agriculture, environmental entrepreneurial stewardship for Milwaukee’s low-income, minority and disadvantaged urban population, ages 5-24.

Neu-Life Community Development, Inc. received a $30,000 grant for its Farmfork program and a feasibility study for agency sustainability, including a mixed-use housing development. Public Allies, Inc. received a two year, $80,000 grant to supports its two-year Career, Education and Service Pathway Pilot Program for diverse and service-minded youth in Milwaukee.

River Revitalization Foundation, Inc. received a $25,000 grant to support its summer ecological restoration crew, a collaboration with the City of Milwaukee’s Earn & Learn program.

Student Conservation Association, Inc. received a $25,000 grant for it Milwaukee Conservation Leadership Corps (MCLC), a parks-based conservation program providing youth with intensive youth development, environmental education, and job readiness skills training.

Summit Educational Association, Inc. received a $20,000 grant to implement its Summit Summer Olympics Program, a seven-week summer academic and character enrichment program.

Urban Ecology Center, Inc. received a $5,000 grant to support the Young Scientist Club (YSC), a year-round out-of-school time program for children ages 5-13 that seeks to ignite children’s curiosity about the world, and guides them in exploring their surroundings through a scientific lens.