School funding to jump, thanks to Bader Philanthropies

MILWAUKEE – Local religious education is to see a big cash boost, thanks to Bader Philanthropies.

At the same time, school funding calculations are to be simplified in a way that could increase a feeling of privacy for families.

Bader Philanthropies has been funding local religious day schools for many years, but thanks to a plan that got started ten years ago, that funding is now set to jump by around $175,000 annually, or more.

“A vibrant Jewish community depends on access to diverse options in Jewish education,” said Miryam Rosenzweig, president and CEO of Milwaukee Jewish Federation. “This is a game-changer in Jewish education, and it’s both unprecedented and innovative. For generations to come, students, their families and the entire Milwaukee Jewish community will feel the impact.”

Bader Philanthropies has donated $500,000 per year to the Milwaukee Jewish Federation to fund local religious day schools since 1992. Simultaneously, for the last ten years, it has donated $1 million to Milwaukee Jewish Federation to create a permanent endowment. That endowment, the Helen Daniels Bader Jewish Education Fund, is now to start providing the benefits of its careful investments to the schools.

The strategy was to make sure the schools had strong funding, even as the endowment was built up over time, according to Dan Bader, president and CEO of Bader Philanthropies. Bader said his organization and his family believe in education, particularly Jewish education.

“It’s a long time in coming,” Bader said. “We just think it’s an important element for the community to have this kind of base support.”

Bader added, “We’re really happy to be partners with the Milwaukee Jewish Federation.”

Federation is better suited to administering the fund than is Bader Philanthropies, Bader said, and it will continue to do so. Previously, families have been asked to share personal financial information with an office at Federation. This requirement is to be eliminated for the next school year, as funding calculations are simplified. Though family financial information was always kept private, the change could increase a feeling of privacy for families, according to Tzipi Altman-Shafer, the Milwaukee Jewish Federation’s Jewish education community planner.

“It really will make it a little more user friendly, especially for our staff more streamlined, so I’m appreciative of Bader for making the change,” said Aaron Lippman, head of school for Milwaukee Jewish Day School. “They’re amazingly generous. What they’ve done, what they’re doing is incredible, and we’re hugely grateful.”

Under the new, simplified formula – replacing a formula that took a variety of factors into account – 88% of the distributable amount will be divided into three equal portions for Bader Hillel Academy, Milwaukee Jewish Day School and Yeshiva Elementary School. The remaining 12% will be divided into three equal portions for Bader Hillel High, Torah Academy of Milwaukee and Wisconsin Institute for Torah Study.

The schools will be free to use the funds as needed. “The Helen Daniels Bader Jewish Education Fund will ensure that schools can grow scholarships, enhance education or target specific areas that strengthen their educational goals,” Rosenzweig said.

Devorah Shmotkin, principal of Bader Hillel Academy, said: “Our deepest gratitude to Bader Philanthropies who have once again shared their visionary approach to Jewish education by spearheading this groundbreaking new allocation of scholarship dollars.”

“This endowment fund is a powerful testament to Bader Philanthropies’ incredible dedication to excellent Jewish education,” said Rabbi Aryeh Borsuk, director of development and advancement at Yeshiva Elementary School. “It will enable all of the local schools to pursue excellence, each in its own way, for years to come.”

The funding changes are to be implemented for the 2020-2021 school year.