Bader Philanthropies chief hopes new HQ sparks development on northwest side

Organization will use project as workforce development opportunity

Rendering of new Bader Philanthropies headquarters

Last updated on May 15th, 2019 at 05:01 pm

Bader Philanthropies, one of southeastern Wisconsin’s largest foundations, announced on Aug. 3 it will move its headquarters from the Historic Third Ward to King Drive in Milwaukee’s Harambee neighborhood.

Rendering of new Bader Philanthropies headquarters
A rendering of the planned Bader Philanthropies headquarters on North Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.

The new headquarters will be in a central city neighborhood west of Riverwest and south of Williamsburg Heights in which Bader Philanthropies has already invested nearly $20 million over the years in the form of grants and program-related investments.

The organization plans to renovate a two-story building built in 1927 at 3318 N. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, build a small addition and move into the new facility by the summer of 2018.

In an interview with BizTimes, Bader Philanthropies president and chief executive officer Dan Bader explained the organization’s philosophy behind the move and his vision for the future of Milwaukee’s northwest side.

“I think the idea of locating in neighborhoods that we serve and we fund is really important for philanthropy,” Bader said. “I think it’s something more foundations should certainly consider, not only here in Milwaukee but around the country as well.”

Bader said the organization is hoping the project will become a catalyst for future projects in the area, where development has been sparse and slow, even as cranes rise over downtown in the distance.

He said the organization, which has invested heavily in workforce development programs, will use the construction project as an opportunity to create jobs for neighborhood residents.

“We will engage a diverse workforce in the construction, but we’re not sure what agencies we’re going to be using” he said. “We will hope to have construction jobs in the area that will last probably around 14 months, but then after that we hope to bring a lot of interest and excitement to that area. There’s a lot of opportunity. Buildings are available.”

Bader will discuss plans for the project with Mayor Tom Barrett, Alderwoman Milele Coggs and members of the media on Sunday morning. A community meeting about the project with Alderwoman Coggs will take place 6 p.m. Monday at HeartLove Place, 3229 N. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.

“Hopefully we’ll be able to bring more people into the area and spark development … keeping in mind very much that people live there; people are happy living there,” Bader said. “We want to be a good neighbor. They should have a strong say in what they want their neighborhood to become.”

Bader Philanthropies is a Milwaukee-based global philanthropy organization that has given out more than $265 million in grants to organizations in 10 countries around the world since 1992. A majority of its grants have gone to organizations in the Milwaukee area.

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Ben Stanley
Ben Stanley, former BizTimes Milwaukee reporter.