MILWAUKEE — You might think it’s impossible to avoid politics in Israel, but the Bader Philanthropies is determined to do it.
The Bader family’s foundation has given $31 million to causes in Israel since the philanthropic origination’s inception in 1992.
“We don’t look at Israel through the typical American lens,” Bader Philanthropies president and CEO Dan Bader said in an interview. The leadership and staff at the Bader Philanthropies aren’t thinking about the peace process but about human need, he said.
“We’ve always had a commitment to working with all citizens of the country, and permanent residents of the country, so (we’re) looking beyond religious identification,” he said. That’s Bader Philanthropies’ commitment, he said, “because it’s the right thing to do.”
“We don’t get caught up in somebody’s faith. That’s really not a big deal for us.”
Over the years, much of Bader Philanthropies’ funding in Israel has gone toward early childhood development, needs related to the elderly and the Israeli Arab community.
Today, the Bader Philanthropies has an ongoing relationship with Melabev-Community Clubs for the Elderly, a leading provider of adult day services in diverse communities in Israel, according to Bader Philanthropies spokeswoman Merilou V. Gonzales.
“With our support, Melabev is expanding its reach in immigrant and Arab Israeli communities where cultural misunderstandings of Alzheimer’s often pose barriers to asking for help,” she said in an email.
“We have also worked with the national Alzheimer’s Association of Israel on a comprehensive plan to address the various social, financial and health aspects of the disease. While Israel does not face the same swell of aging Baby Boomers as the U.S., its older adults with dementia have a significant family impact in a nation of 7.7 million.”
The Bader Philanthropies board includes people who live in Israel and it has both people on the left and the right “and that’s very helpful to us,” said Dan, who is also on the board of Milwaukee Jewish Federation.
The diversity of perspectives keeps the Bader Philanthropies board on the right track and its board members are all agreed that they need to help the people with the highest need, he said.
“We help the poorest of the poor in Milwaukee,” said David Bader, board member and vice president of Bader Philanthropies. “We do the same thing in Israel.”
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