Bradley Center’s final season fundraiser brings in $401,200 for local charities

Campaign honored legacy of arena benefactor Jane Bradley Pettit

More than $401,200 was raised for 16 local charitable organizations through a BMO Harris Bradley Center final season fundraiser to honor the legacy of the arena’s benefactor, Jane Bradley Pettit.

The “Pay It Forward” fundraising total was unveiled Wednesday evening at a campaign finale gala, which drew more than 900 guests — including business and community leaders, and three generations of the late Milwaukee philanthropist’s family — to the arena floor.

Organizers set a fundraising goal of $200,000 at the outset of the Bradley Center’s final season to benefit local charities with ties to Pettit’s work.

“When we announced the Pay it Forward fundraising campaign last fall, we knew there was no better way to celebrate Mrs. Pettit’s generous gift and the incredible history and lasting legacy of the BMO Harris Bradley Center,” said Ted Kellner, chairman of the Bradley Center board. “Six months later, we are amazed and deeply touched by the community’s heartfelt response. The overwhelming success of this campaign is testament to the profound respect our community continues to have for Jane Bradley Pettit and everything her gift has meant to all of us.”

The charities receiving funding were selected in collaboration with the Jane Bradley Pettit Foundation and her family to reflect the causes Pettit supported, including helping women, children and families in metro Milwaukee. Pettit donated $90 million to build the arena in 1988.

“My grandmother had a generous heart, and her giving was all about people,” said Sarah Zimmerman, a BMO Harris Bradley Center Board member and Pettit’s granddaughter. “It’s wonderful to see the way the Center has touched so many people over its lifetime and to know that the final season will support the impactful and transformative work of 16 fine organizations who will continue to make our community better even after the Center closes its doors.”

Organizations receiving funding include:

  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Milwaukee
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee
  • COA Youth & Family Centers
  • Hunger Task Force
  • Literacy Services of Wisconsin
  • Milwaukee Center for Children and Youth
  • Milwaukee Public Library
  • Milwaukee Public Television/PBS Kids
  • Neighborhood House of Milwaukee
  • Next Door
  • Our Next Generation
  • PEARLS for Teen Girls
  • Sojourner Family Peace Center
  • St. Ann Center for Intergenerational Care
  • St. Marcus Lutheran School
  • Walker’s Point Youth and Family Center

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