President and chief executive officer, Bader Philanthropies
Bader Philanthropies Inc. has now settled in to its new headquarters in Milwaukee’s Harambee neighborhood. In July 2018, the foundation moved from its former location in the Historic Third Ward to a renovated, once vacant building at 3300 N. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive on the city’s north side. Foundation leaders have said the move allows it to embed itself in a community it supports.
In a recent interview with BizTimes Milwaukee reporter Lauren Anderson, Daniel Bader discussed the foundation’s move to the central city.
“Being there has been transformational for us and has worked out positively for us in every way. There is a tremendous benefit for the type of work we do to be part of the neighborhood. We’re a grant-maker that gives grants to nonprofit organizations, and being part of the neighborhood helps us to be informed by those who live in the community. Another aspect is that we designed a building that we wanted. We now have great convening and conferencing facilities. It helps bring people to us and interact with nonprofit groups. We have meetings virtually every day with nonprofit organizations.”
Connecting with the neighbors
“We’ve had somewhere around 15 (neighborhood open houses) called ‘Chats with Bader’ since we first announced the project in 2016. It’s open to anyone from the community. It’s given us more direct contact with citizens. It gives us a chance to talk about life, what it’s like to live in the inner city, what the challenges are and what the positives are. It paints a different, more realistic and more personalized picture for us of what life is like. It makes us a better organization and better grant-maker.”
Sending a message to Milwaukee
“The message to our neighbors is that we believe in them. We believe in the community. We’re here as a partner and we’re open to discussion. We want to learn. The message to other businesses that are thinking about moving to the central city – whether it’s a nonprofit like ourselves or a for-profit – is: Don’t be afraid. There is nothing scary about being in the central city. It’s a different environment than downtown and the suburbs, but we love being there. It’s been a great experience for us.”
“We’re going to be undergoing development (on the former bank building located to the north of the new headquarters) starting in the spring. We’ll be announcing that project then.” ν