Helen Bader Foundation to support youth programs with $1.1 million

The Helen Bader Foundation plans to distribute more than $1.1 million among 24 grassroots organizations providing services and resources to underprivileged youth living in Milwaukee.


The grants, recently approved by the foundation’s board of directors, are part of a $5.6 million initiative of the Helen Bader Foundation to support projects throughout the state and country as well as the globe.

The grants that have been designated for Milwaukee-area youth organizations aim to bolster efforts to provide safe spaces and outlets for kids and families. The grants are also supporting groups that work to provide quality programming for kids of all ages and fulfill basic needs, such as food and clothing.

According to recent statistics from the Opportunity Nation Coalition, nearly 20 percent of Milwaukee families are living below the poverty line, more than 6 percent higher than the overall average in Wisconsin. Statistics released also show that more than 15 percent of Milwaukee youth are not in school or working, which is 3.5 percent higher than Wisconsin’s average.

With the $1.1 million in funding, the Milwaukee-based foundation hopes to help kids and teenagers find positive ways to spend their time outside of class and work.

“It does not come as a surprise that children are most vulnerable to negative influences during out of school times,” said Maria Lopez Vento, vice president of programs and partnerships for the Helen Bader Foundation. “Working with our partners in the community, we strive to provide options during that time in an effort to empower the next generation.”

Among the 24 organizations benefitting from grants is COA Youth and Family Centers, Inc., which will receive $340,000 over two years. A separate $124,000 grant will be awarded to NewThreads of Hope, Inc. over two years, and another one-year $100,000 grant will be allocated to Risen Savior Evangelical Lutheran Church, Inc.

The Helen Bader Foundation has awarded more than $13 million in grants to community youth programs in the past 15 years.

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