Helen Bader Foundation surpasses $250 million in giving

Following its latest grant and investment cycle, The Helen Bader Foundation has passed the $250 million giving mark, the Milwaukee-based foundation announced on Tuesday.


This fall, the foundation is backing projects throughout the state, country and globe with more than $7 million in grants and program-related investments, which includes loans and equity investments.

To date, the 22-year-old foundation has awarded more than 6,200 grants and 39 program-related investments for the benefit of thousands of nonprofit organizations. The foundation has also aided government entities and for-profit ventures aligned with its mission, which supports programming addressing Alzheimer’s and aging, workforce development, community programming for youth, Jewish Education, and the arts.

“Looking back over the past two decades, I am simply amazed to see the accumulated impact the foundation has made for people,” said Daniel Bader, president and CEO of the foundation. “Over the years, we have learned that you only see results in people when you invest in people and the only way to make progress on challenging social issues is to build strength through a diversity of tools and partners. My mom’s (Helen Bader’s) spirit is forever felt in the programs and research that help individuals reach their fullest potential.”

The Helen Bader Foundation grew out of Helen’s passion for giving back to the community and her belief in the need for organizations with the bandwidth to address challenges facing the community and individuals. Helen hailed from South Dakota but spent much of her life in Milwaukee. She attended Downer College in Milwaukee and married Alfred Bader. The couple grew Aldrich Chemical Company. Following their divorce, Helen attended UW-Milwaukee, completing a master’s degree and assisting Milwaukee’s homeless populations, mentally ill residents and struggling families through fieldwork at the Legal Aid Society.

Helen died in 1989, and the foundation opened in 1992 to carry on her interest in advancing social change.

Along with designating funds to projects, the foundation makes a point to spark collaboration among key stakeholders and promote an open forum for exchange of ideas, according to its mission.

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