Donna and Donald Baumgartner gave $10 million toward new Milwaukee Ballet facility

Philanthropists provided lead gift toward $26 million goal

Donald and Donna Baumgartner with Milwaukee Ballet artistic director Micheal Pink at the site of the new center.

Last updated on July 3rd, 2019 at 07:10 pm

Donna and Donald Baumgartner gave $10 million to help fund the Milwaukee Ballet’s new facility in the Historic Third Ward neighborhood, the organization disclosed at a beam signing ceremony Thursday.

Donald and Donna Baumgartner with Milwaukee Ballet artistic director Micheal Pink at the site of the new center.

The lead gift from longtime Ballet supporters Donna and Donald Baumgartner, founder of Milwaukee-based Paper Machinery Corp., provided a jump start to the $26 million campaign supporting the new 52,000-square-foot facility at 132 N. Jackson St. and other Ballet programs.

“Donald’s first ever contribution to the arts was in the 1970s – and it was a $3,000 gift to Milwaukee Ballet,” Donna Baumgartner said. “It gives us immense pleasure to make this milestone gift more than 40 years later.”

The new Baumgartner Center for Dance will replace the Ballet’s headquarters at 504 W. National Ave. in Walker’s Point. It will house the organization’s administrative operations, two large rehearsal halls for the ballet’s main dance company, classrooms for children and adults, and five other rehearsal studios for children. The facility is scheduled to open in fall 2019.

The Ballet said it has raised nearly $23 million of its $26 million capital campaign goal. The campaign will support the new building as well as the Ballet’s Artistic Fund and an expansion of community engagement programs, including Tour de Force.

Thursday’s ceremony closed out the 2017-18 season, during which the Ballet saw a record of more than $2.5 million in ticket revenue and reached nearly 40,000 people through community engagement, the organization said.

“Our strong earned and contributed revenue results this season and ongoing artistic excellence – including six world premieres – underscore our incredible momentum as we work on our new home and our 50th Anniversary year,” said Justin Mortara, Milwaukee Ballet chair and president.

The Baumgartner Center for Dance is under construction in the Third Ward.

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