Bader Philanthropies, Inc. this week announced plans to provide a $3 million grant to the UWM Foundation in benefit of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Electa Quinney Institute for American Indian Education (EQI). The grant will be distributed over a five-year period and help EQI continue to offer programming that has been affected by lack of funding and staff. This includes programming that advances the research, culture and languages of Wisconsin’s Indigenous people.
“The Electa Quinney Institute offers UWM’s Indigenous students, faculty, staff and friends a special space to learn about their heritage and create bonds with others in the Native American community,” said UWM Chancellor Mark Mone. “Bader Philanthropies’ gift to the institute comes at a crucial time. With this gift, we can expand the institute’s impact on preserving and advancing Native languages, cultures and traditions while advancing a greater understanding among Indigenous and non-Indigenous people at UWM and beyond.”
Bader Philanthropies’ grant will allow for the hiring of additional Indigenous faculty researchers and instructors. The funding will also provide for EQI programming, including visiting elders and fire circle programming, events, community and international convocations for Indigenous peoples and allies, and scholarships. UWM will continue to seek additional philanthropic funds to build up EQI’s endowment to sustain the institute.
UWM recently hired Mark Freeland as the director of the Electa Quinney Institute and associate professor of anthropology to continue to lead EQI’s efforts.
“Higher education has not been a welcoming place for Indigenous students. By recognizing Indigenous languages, culture and knowledge as coequal systems of thought, UWM has provided a place for Indigenous peoples to reintegrate cultural learning into their degree programs,” said Freeland. “EQI helps to support Indigenous students, teachers and administrators to successfully complete their academic programs and prepares them for their chosen fields. In that way we are able to inform a much larger audience on Indigenous knowledge.”
Bader Philanthropies is one of UWM’s largest donors. This is the second largest gift the nonprofit has given UWM.
“The Electa Quinney Institute’s academic program and on-campus activities will transform lives – today and for decades to come,” said Daniel J. Bader, president and CEO of Bader Philanthropies. “UWM’s steadfast commitment and leadership in preserving Native languages, cultures and traditions is a significant step forward in helping our community reconcile the shortcomings of the past and creates spaces for healing.”