Bader Philanthropies distributes $1.4 million in emergency funding for nonprofits

Milwaukee-based Bader Philanthropies, Inc. has distributed $1.4 million in grants to help southeastern Wisconsin nonprofits provide services on the ground in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Daniel Bader, president and chief executive officer of Bader Philanthropies, said the foundation’s board in March approved $1 million to fund the special round of grants. The foundation has since exceeded that initial allocation by about $400,000, he said. 

Since March 26, the foundation has distributed funding to about 35 nonprofits. 

“We wanted to respond in a quick fashion, so we expedited the process so we could get the grants funded from about 10 days from when we received (the requests) … which is really good in the foundation world; it’s a little bit atypical,” Bader said. 

Bader said the grants range “all across the gamut,” from helping elderly residents to providing addiction resources to funding youth arts programs. 

“We’ve been … really listening to the nonprofits for what they see are the needs of the community and what people are seeking from them, and responding as quickly as we can,” Bader said. 

IMPACT, a Milwaukee-based crisis resource center, for example, is adding three employees to its 211 crisis contact center with a $100,000 Bader Philanthropies grant. During the COVID-19 emergency, crisis calls to the IMPACT 211 contact center have more than doubled. 

“The additional staff members will help keep those vulnerable community members safe and healthy by accessing their basic needs such as food and shelter,” said John Hyatt, president and CEO of IMPACT. “The staff will also help people in need of acute mental health crisis assistance and domestic violence services.” 

Bader Philanthropies grant recipients include: 4th Dimension Sobriety, Alma Center, Arts at Large, City On a Hill, Elmbrook Senior Taxi, Faith in Action of Marathon County, Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin, Fresh Start Learning Inc., Imagine MKE, IMPACT,  Islands of Brilliance, Jewish Family Services, Lutheran Social Services of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan, Meals On Wheels of Sheboygan County, Milwaukee Center for Independence, Milwaukee Rescue Mission; Muslim Community and Health Center of Wisconsin, Neighborhood House of Milwaukee, Prism Economic Development Corp., Riverwest Artists Association, Saint Francis Children’s Center, Saukville Community Food Pantry, Shalem Healing, Sixteenth Street Community Health Centers, Sojourner Foundation, St. Ann Center for Intergenerational Care, The Gathering of Southeast Wisconsin, The Milwaukee Jewish Federation, The Parenting Network, The Pastime Club, TRUE Skool, United Methodist Children’s Services of Wisconsin, Variety – The Children’s Charity of Wisconsin, Westcare Wisconsin, and Wis Hope.

While many nonprofits face challenges with decreased donations coming in, Bader said area foundations have stepped up during the crisis.

The Greater Milwaukee Foundation has launched its own MKE Responds Fund and the United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County is raising funds for its COVID-19 Urgent Needs Fund. Milwaukee-based Zilber Family Foundation recently committed $3 million in emergency funding to support nonprofit organizations as they respond to COVID-19. 

“We’re hearing a lot of concern (from nonprofits)… but from what I hear generally across the board there is a lot of hope, a lot of resolve, a lot of determination to figure out how to get through this,” Bader said.