Donald and Donna Baumgartner give $1.5 million to Florentine Opera

Donald, Donna and John Baumgartner.

Last updated on July 3rd, 2019 at 07:12 pm

Donald and Donna Baumgartner have made a $1.5 million gift to the Florentine Opera Company in support of the company’s Studio Artist program.

The program, now in its tenth season, will be renamed The Donald and Donna Baumgartner Studio Artist Program.

Donald, Donna and John Baumgartner.

The Baumgartners sold their family company, Paper Machinery Corp., to its employees through an employee stock ownership plan in 2016.

The Baumgartners have been involved with the organization since 1991 and have frequently been the presenting sponsors of mainstage opera productions, including the Florentine’s recent production of Franz Lehar’s “The Merry Widow.”

Donald Baumgartner is a former member of the board of directors and serves as a life director on the Florentine Opera board.

“Donald and Donna have been champions of so many endeavors in our city, and the Florentine Opera is indeed blessed to be the beneficiaries of this wonderful gift,” said William Florescu, general director of the Florentine Opera. “The company is thrilled to have its nationally recognized Studio Artist Program linked to two people who represent the very best of Milwaukee.”

The couple issued a statement regarding the gift:

“We are thrilled to support this visionary program that Bill first introduced to Milwaukee in 2008! These vocalists are a hardworking select few who are enabled to both enrich their artistry and contribute much to the educational and cultural landscape in Milwaukee.”

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