Jerry Roberts, Council Member
Jerry Roberts is Program Officer for Workforce Development at Bader Philanthropies, where he leads the Foundation’s efforts to link and support partners that spur opportunity, employment, and economic growth throughout Milwaukee.
Roberts works with Foundation board and staff on developing strategies to address workforce needs at both the systemic and neighborhood levels. He works to link nonprofit partners, government entities, the private sector, as well as other donors, to help improve the overall effectiveness in serving community members who have the highest barriers to family-sustaining employment. With an emphasis on the city’s most economically challenged communities, the Foundation has given more than $25 million in related grants since 1997 to further its mission to improve the quality of life for all Milwaukee families.
In his role at the Foundation, Roberts also manages its Program Related Investment (PRI) fund, which makes loans, loan guarantees, equity investments, and other investments that advance the Foundation’s charitable mission in Wisconsin. Working with both for-profit and nonprofit partners, the Foundation has made PRIs valued at more than $16 million since 2000.
In the community, Roberts is currently serving as chair of the Milwaukee Area Workforce Funding Alliance, a consortium of funders working on employment issues at the systemic level. He also lends his time, talent and resources to other boards and committees.
Roberts brings a front-line perspective on the job and economic pressures facing Milwaukee families, and he is a frequent public speaker on various issues relating to workforce needs, poverty, racism, and economic opportunity. He joined the Foundation in 2011 from the Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment Board (MAWIB), where he was business division team leader in its efforts to address employment training needs. He has taught at Concordia University Wisconsin’s School of Business and Legal Studies, and he has community banking experience as a vice president at Wells Fargo in Milwaukee.
Roberts holds a master’s degree in the cultural foundations of education from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, as well as bachelors’ degrees from Grace Christian College and UW-Milwaukee.