Businesses benefit from the arts

    Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:41 pm

    I recently had the pleasure to attend and make a presentation at the 2007 Northern Trust Economic Trends Breakfast presented by Small Business Times. Following my formal remarks, I had the opportunity to make a brief pitch in support of the United Performing Arts Fund (UPAF).
    UPAF is the annual campaign that raises funds to support performing arts groups in the Milwaukee area.
    I am co-charing this year’s UPAF campaign with Laurie Mahoney, senior vice president of Aurora Health Care. Laurie and I have willingly taken on the challenge of heading the campaign this year because we both have experienced and enjoyed the variety of performing arts available in the Milwaukee area, and because we firmly believe that having a diverse and thriving performing arts presence brings many benefits to our community.
    Those benefits help make Milwaukee and its environs the great place it is to live and work.
    Certainly our performing arts groups provide great entertainment and a personal experience unlike any other. In fact, live performances are great experiences that can be shared with family and friends. But beyond the performances themselves, exposure to the performing arts can inspire creative expression and innovative thinking. And that is important for attracting new talent and commerce to our area.
    As we have all heard, Milwaukee and the Midwest are facing the challenge of transitioning from a manufacturing-based economy to a knowledge-based economy. To make this transition successfully, we must be able to develop and attract qualified, innovative people and create an environment in which we can retain those individuals, and their families, over time.
    A key factor in that transition is a strong performing arts sector. Milwaukee has the right foundation for that with a wide variety of performance groups that provide access to diverse cultural, educational and entertainment opportunities.  And our performing arts groups themselves are businesses which provide thousands of jobs and have an economic impact of more than $60 million annually in southeastern Wisconsin.
    We are fortunate to have UPAF as a partner that is dedicated to keeping the performing arts thriving here by supporting 36 member and affiliate groups that touch a million people through performances, educational programming and regional community outreach each year.
    The 2007 UPAF Campaign offers an exceptional opportunity for businesses to lend their support for the performing arts and to help ensure that the Milwaukee area remains a desirable place to live and do business.
    If you and your company are not already one of the more than 28,000 donors who support the arts through UPAF, please consider a corporate gift and hosting an employee giving campaign in your workplace. If you are already a UPAF donor, thank you!  You are doing a great thing for Milwaukee and its future.  For more information on UPAF, its Member and Affiliate groups, or how to host a workplace giving campaign, visit UPAF on the web at

    Harry Stratton is the chief executive officer of Strattec Security Corp. in Milwaukee.

    Editor’s note: The United Performing Arts Fund (UPAF) 2007 fundraising campaign will kick off during a celebration on Wednesday, March 14, at 4 p.m. in the Bradley Pavilion of the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts. Additional information is available at or (414) 273-8723.



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