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Bader Philanthropies: In the Community, For the Community

October 3, 2023
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Daniel Bader, President and Chief Executive Officer of Bader Philanthropies, Inc., is committed to honoring his father’s legacy. He founded the Helen Bader Foundation in 1992 and has been its visionary leader and active participant since then. In 2018 Bader Philanthropies made the unconventional decision to move from downtown’s Historic Third Ward to renovating, reviving and moving into a two-story historic building with a new addition, on Dr. Martin Luther King Drive. “We wanted to build our head quarters in a different part of the community and I fell in love with the Harambee neighborhood. “It’s a good place for us to be and an important street in our community. “We could not have a better ad dress in the center of the com munity, and it really gives us opportunities to know the com munity on a different level and in a different way,” said Bader. Franklin Cumberbatch, Vice President of Engagement with Bader Philanthropies agrees with Bader. “This location allows the foundation, for the first time in its his tory, to be engaged with the community. “People know what the foundation does, but I think they know less about how much listening we do in terms of bringing different people with different perspectives together to share information and ideas. “Our ability to convene has taken the foundation to another level and, in some ways, modified the brand of the foundation. People now understand that we aren’t just bringing resources to an issue, we are engaged and committed to positive change. Whether it’s supporting Juneteenth Day, dealing with neighborhood education and the plight of the youth, Bader Philanthropies understands and is helping with those challenges,” said Cumberbatch. Both Bader and Cumberbatch especially enjoy the relationship they have forged with residents and they acknowledge that Bader Philanthropies’ new location has changed their perspective in many ways. “Many times our business is transactional—we give dollars and they meet challenges. Now, we are embedded in the community. “It gives us all opportunities to get to know each other on a more personal level. And we see the results firsthand. “When we moved here in 2018—on moving day—there was a homicide adjacent to the block we were moving into. “Initially I was upset, then I saw the mother who had just lost her son as she was surrounded by TV cameras. “That made it very personal. Being in this com munity has changed the way that I view what happens on a daily basis—positive or negative,” said Bader. “I see me in the kids in this neighborhood, even though I didn’t grow up in this country. “We (family) didn’t have much, but we had a happy household. I look at these kids through an empathetic lens. They smile and are doing the best that they can with what they have. I try not to judge, but to find humanity within every person. Recently we met with an ex-convict about a proposal. I saw an individual trying to do something positive in the community, not his past missteps,” said Cumberbatch. Bader Philanthropies hosts “Chat with Bader” sessions every four to six weeks where people come i and talk with them about what they do, discuss their challenges, and share their concerns. Bader and Cumberbatch appreciate these sessions because they enable the foundation to stay relevant. While investing into the community and moving into the Harambee neighborhood are commendable, one of Bader’s favorite projects is still under development. Dubbed the Opportunity Center, Bader Philanthropies has made a $5-million dollar commitment to help build a 300,000-square-foot building planned for 22 acres at 4206 N. Green Bay Ave. The $80-$100 million dollar center, slated to be built by 2026, will make sports and other wellness programming available to people of all physical abilities and income levels. “This is a dream we’ve had for a long time—a neighborhood center that will enable youth to hone their skills and grow as amateurs and professionals,” said Bader.
Dan Bader is a visionary who continues to show his commitment to the community by relocating its offices in the center of it, and putting his money where his mouth is by investing in the community. Bader Philanthropies is a diamond and we’re sure his parents would be proud of how he is continuing their legacy. For more information about Bader Philanthropies, visit their website at