So How Did Helen Bader Foundation's Restructuring Turn Out?

Here at IP, we've been focusing quite a bit on the Ford Foundation's high-profile restructuring efforts. For those not in the know, foundation President Darren Walker recently announced that Ford planned to restructure to focus on six program areas and change the process by which it makes grants. As David Callahan noted, it's too early to predict what will happen. What can be useful, however, is to look at other foundations that significantly restructured and see how their efforts played out.

Which brings us to Bader Philanthropies, Inc. Back in January, Kristina Strain reported that the Helen Bader Foundation, which was on track to sunset by 2020, decided to change its name and its structure. Thanks to an $8 million annual contribution from Isabel and Alfred Bader, the new entity, Bader Philanthropies, would be comprised of two standalone funds: the Helen Daniels Bader Fund (HDBF), and the Isabel and Alfred Bader Fund (IABF). 

HDBF would continue to focus on issues to which Alfred Bader's first wife was devoted, including healthy aging and Alzheimer's disease, the arts, and Jewish education, while IABF would focus on areas of interest to Alfred and his second wife, Isabel Overton Bader, including workforce development, Community Partnerships for Youth, Jewish education in greater Milwaukee, and directed grants programs.

At the time, Bader Philanthropies predicted grantmaking would climb by a whopping 40 percent, to more than $14 million annually.

Well, it's been six months. How are things looking?

The short answer? Not bad at all. On May 27th, Bader Philanthropies, Inc. announced that its board of directors approved $4,691,000 in grant funding to support 67 projects in Wisconsin, as well as across the U.S. and Canada. The new grants include an expanded Milwaukee Arts grant program that represents a doubled commitment to funding for programs in Milwaukee, now totaling $1 million annually.

HDBF and IABF share a keen interest in Milwaukee Arts, as the program works to engage underserved audiences of all ages, celebrates diverse art forms, and creates cross-cultural connections. A total of $205,000 was awarded to five projects under the Milwaukee Arts umbrella. The largest award was a two-year, $150,000 grant to First Stage Milwaukee, Inc., which has been the driving force behind the creation of innovative plays for family audiences, theater training programs for young people and education initiatives for Milwaukee area schools.

Click here for a full listing of grant recipients.