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Bader Philanthropies donates over $3 million to Covid-19 pandemic relief

February 1, 2022
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Milwaukee Business Journal: Bader Philanthropies donates over $3 million to Covid-19 pandemic relief

Since its inception 30 years ago, Bader Philanthropies has worked to provide financial support to organizations throughout Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the U.S. and around the world, focusing on areas such as senior health, education and the arts.

But the Covid-19 pandemic allowed the nonprofit organization to prioritize new goals that looked at improved living during the pandemic.

Since the Covid-19 pandemic began, the organization has contributed almost $2.3 million to 63 Milwaukee organizations for operational support during Covid-19 as well as $1 million in Covid-19 relief efforts. Bader Philanthropies also partnered with Shalem Healing, a local nonprofit medical clinic, to administer 1,520 Covid-19 tests.

“The Covid-19 pandemic certainly shook things up for sure,” CEO Daniel Bader said. “The first thing that we did then was to make sure that our nonprofit organizations would be okay. The first thing to make sure was those organizations that relied a lot on donor funding and audience participation funding like arts groups were going to be okay.”

After distributing operational grants in 2020, Bader Philanthropies shifted to look at other community needs such as Covid-19 testing.

“In addition to the immediate response one of the things we looked at was basic needs of people in the community. A lot of people were unemployed at the time, and we wanted to make sure that people had food, that they had resources. We focused on basic need funding then. We still do,” Bader said.

Bader Philanthropies was started in 1992 as the Helen Bader Foundation. Since its inception the foundation has distributed 9,113 grants, totaling $404.9 million. Of that total, $248,279,628 has gone to 940 community partners in Milwaukee. Additionally, Bader Philanthropies approved $18,458,577 in 43 loans, loan guarantees, equity investments and credit enhancements to southeastern Wisconsin organizations since 1995.

The Covid-19 pandemic changed how many nonprofit organizations operate, and Bader said that will only continue to change.

“I think we’re going to be working through that change for some time to come over the next couple of years, and I hope that as we do that all of us in the nonprofit sector can really try to take that as an opportunity to deliver services better and more efficiently,” he said

Bader said the key goal for 2022 is continue to listen to the community’s needs, specifically within the foundation’s own backyard.

Bader Philanthropies moved its headquarters from Milwaukee’s Third Ward neighborhood to 3300 N. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in Milwaukee’s Harambee neighborhood in 2018.

“As we continue our major funding areas,” Bader said, “what we’re just trying to do is continually adapt to the needs of the community. For us, that requires us to listen. Our goals this year are to listen even more to what people are telling us, what’s going on in people’s lives and seeing how we can respond better with the funding to make a difference in people’s lives.”