The Helen Bader Foundation has named Mary Osmundsen as program officer to direct its Community Partnerships for Youth program, which awards grants and links organizations to create positive opportunities for low-income children throughout Milwaukee. With an emphasis on programming for the after-school hours and summer months, the Foundation has awarded more than $13 million in grants since 1997 to further its mission of improving outcomes for low-income children.
Osmundsen joins the Foundation from Artists Working in Education (A.W.E.), where she most recently held the post of Program Director, leading the agency’s artist-in-residency programs for Milwaukee children through Milwaukee Public Schools, Community Learning Centers, and other partnerships. Foundation president Daniel J. Bader said Osmundsen brings a ground-level perspective on the issues affecting low-income children.
“For many Milwaukee families, free and low-cost activities are critical lifelines to help their children stay safe, develop a creative spirit, and stay on a positive life path,” he said. “The struggling economy means more families than ever need access to these programs, so our Foundation is eager to continue investing in agencies and partnerships that help build a better future. We are pleased that we can tap into Mary’s talents in pursuit of that goal.”
In her new role, Osmundsen will guide funding and build partnerships with nonprofits, public-sector agencies, and community leaders to address four strategies:
- Community Learning Centers: Enhance the Centers’ after-school outreach to more than 17,000 children and youth.
- Safe Harbors: Build community anchors in high-crime neighborhoods to expand their positive outlets for families and youth after school and over summer.
- Organizational Capacity: Help high-impact agencies serve additional youth through long-range leadership planning.
- Emergency and Basic Needs: Aid youth in crisis by addressing such issues as hunger, homelessness, and mental illness.
Osmundsen brings a diversity of experience in issues related to arts, education, and youth in Milwaukee. In addition to her position at A.W.E., she has served as a volunteer on various creativity-related efforts, including connecting children from LaFollette Elementary School with the Milwaukee Art Museum’s recent 30 Americans exhibit of modern African American artists.
Before joining A.W.E., Osmundsen managed community art projects in conjunction with Cardinal Stritch University and the Sixteenth Street Community Health Clinic, and she worked at the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design. She holds Master of Fine Arts and Master of Art degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, as well as a bachelor’s from the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design.