Bader Philanthropies, Inc., one of southeastern Wisconsin’s top five foundations, announced its board of directors approved a two-year $310,000 grant to the University of Wisconsin Foundation for the Milwaukee office of the Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Institute (WAI). The grant will expand outreach activities that help the underserved aging populations of African-Americans in Milwaukee, Racine, and Kenosha counties. The funding will also be used to help increase the number of African-American participants in the Wisconsin Registry for Alzheimer’s Prevention (WRAP) study. In addition to the grant awarded to WAI, the board allocated more than 142 grants, worth a total of $8.6 million, to support various projects and organizations throughout Wisconsin, the United States, and internationally.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association 2017 Facts and Figures, 110,000 individuals and families in Wisconsin are impacted by Alzheimer’s disease, yet African Americans have two times the increased risk for memory loss, compared to Caucasians. The association says the reason for this is not yet known, but it is believed that higher rates of cardiovascular diseases and lower levels of education among minority groups may contribute to higher rates of Alzheimer’s disease. Ongoing research and outreach through WAI programming is a crucial way to discover if there are unique risk factors for people with different ethnic backgrounds.
People with Alzheimer’s disease and their caregivers receive needed education, quality services and support with the help of the WAI Regional Milwaukee Office through its information, research, outreach, advocacy and service programs. The grant will fund a full-time Outreach Director, whose role includes direct oversight and leadership of outreach and research programs. The WAI Regional Milwaukee Office continues to collaborate with the Milwaukee Health Services Memory Clinic to provide dementia-specific care for Milwaukee’s African-American community.
“One of the greatest challenges in effectively addressing this disease that still remains is access to an early or timely dementia diagnosis,” says Dr. Mark Sager, Former Director of the WAI. “At WAI, our goal is to improve the lives of older adults and their families who are impacted by Alzheimer’s and other dementias. We are looking to reduce the stigma of and raise awareness about dementia, especially in our underserved and underrepresented communities in the Milwaukee area,” says Gina Green-Harris, Director of WAI Regional Milwaukee Office.
With additional funding, the WAI Regional Milwaukee Office hopes to continue providing outreach services and support to families through programs such as the Melodies and Memories Amazing Grace Chorus program, a signature lifestyle intervention program for WAI. Research shows music has been a useful therapy for Alzheimer’s treatments. The chorus serves to improve the quality of life of its participants and caregivers through socialization and music. Another key goal for this chorus is to reduce stigma and increase the scientific understanding and awareness of music’s impact on the brain and the impact of caregiver burden.
Chorus participants benefit by receiving continuous education about Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. Families and participants learn more about care services and are offered educational opportunities, family engagement experiences and respite opportunities. Annual concerts are held in the spring and winter. The next is scheduled for December 16 at the Milwaukee High School of the Arts, 2300 W. Highland Ave., Milwaukee.
Through outreach, research programs and events, radio campaigns, in-home and clinic services, and the Amazing Grace Chorus program, the WAI Milwaukee office estimates that they reach and serve over 30,000 individuals and households annually in Milwaukee and southeastern Wisconsin. Additional outreach activities being planned for 2018 include the 5th Annual Breaking the Silence continuous education workshops, caregiver appreciation events and participation in community health fairs. These workshops and caregiver events are held throughout the year, including a large Minority Health Month event in April.
WAI collaborates with a number of agencies to better serve the African-American communities including: Milwaukee Health Services Memory Clinic, Milwaukee County Department on Aging, Alzheimer’s Association, Unison, ADRC’s of Racine and Kenosha, Kenosha Community Health Center, Social Development Commission, and the Center for Urban Population Health.
“As a long-time funder of the WAI, this program has a special place in our hearts at Bader Philanthropies, as it serves the key issues our mother Helen Daniels Bader was most interested in, healthier older adults, as well as a passion for the arts and creativity,” said Daniel J. Bader, president and CEO of Bader Philanthropies. “The Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Institute and the Melodies and Memories Amazing Grace Chorus is something she would have enjoyed and we are proud to partner with WAI to create meaningful experiences that bring older adults and families together.”
About Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Institute
WAI is a national leader with a statewide presence. In the spirit of the Wisconsin Idea to share knowledge to the borders of the state and beyond, WAI collaborates with small rural communities and urban centers, the UW School of Medicine and Public Health, as well as the university’s academic and research departments. WAI facilitates collaboration and cooperation within the scientific, treatment and caregiving communities to benefit the people whose lives are afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease.
In 2008, WAI established a Regional Milwaukee Office to improve access to services, provide education to increase awareness and offer supportive services. The WAI Regional Milwaukee Office’s community engagement model empowers the Milwaukee and Southeastern Wisconsin communities of color, primarily African Americans, by providing culturally-specific health care services and training for professional and family caregivers in underserved and under-represented communities. WAI Regional Milwaukee Office also helped to create the first dementia clinic specifically for African-Americans with a Federally Qualified Health Center.
For more information visit http://www.wai.wisc.edu
About Bader Philanthropies, Inc.
Milwaukee-based Bader Philanthropies, Inc. is a philanthropic leader in improving the quality of life of the diverse communities in which it works. Through the Helen Daniels Bader Fund and the Isabel and Alfred Bader Fund, the organization funds innovative projects and programs, convenes partners, and shares knowledge to affect emerging issues in key areas. Since its founding in 1992 as the Helen Bader Foundation, the organization has committed more than $265 million in grants and program related investments, such as PRIs and equity investments that advance its charitable mission. For more information on Bader Philanthropies, visit www.bader.org.