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Bader Philanthropies to create leadership institute with three-year, $4.5M investment

June 23, 2023
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Bader Philanthropies is creating the Bader Leadership Institute and expects to launch its first cohort in the summer of 2024.

The institute will be led by Bader Philanthropies program officer Brandon Wigley.

Bader Philanthropies of Milwaukee, since its inception in 1992, has contributed over $450 million in grants and program-related investments. The Bader Philanthropies board of directors recently approved funding for the institute, committing $1.5 million per year over three years to support the institute’s launch and development.

“The Bader Leadership Institute is about bringing together existing leaders in our community around a common framework and a common methodology to create the conditions for change,” Wigley said.

That includes individuals from a variety of sectors such as faith, education, nonprofit, business and government. Bader Philanthropies is working with Oregon-based Groundwork Leadership Institute on the initiative. The Groundwork Leadership Institute will assist Bader Philanthropies in developing the framework for this cohort leadership experience.

“The time has come to invest in the development of individuals who care deeply about our communities and have the courage to help us cut through the things that hold us back from listening and working with one another,” Bader Philanthropies CEO and president Daniel Bader said in a release. “Since joining the Bader Philanthropies team in 2018, Brandon’s unique experiences combined with his pragmatic approach have helped the Foundation see the need for the BLI.”

This program is in its infant stages, meaning there are a lot of questions still to be addressed about the program format, size and timelines. Wigley said the expectation is to launch in summer of 2024. Bader Philanthropies will plan to conduct a mini cohort ahead of that deadline for its own staff to get affiliated with the mission of the Bader Leadership Institute.

“We just felt like now was the time to invest in the leaders in our community because we often see that there are challenges, but there are also opportunities to address those challenges,” Wigley said.

Wigley believes the greatest challenge that holds people back is actually listening to each other and working with each other, something the institute plans to change.