Nonprofits and Education
Jerome Frautschi Foundation | Middleton
In the late 1990s, Jerome Frautschi gave what was recognized then as one of the largest gifts to the arts from a single donor in the U.S. Having watched the decline of Madison’s downtown in preceding decades and building on the momentum from the city’s then-new convention center, Frautschi gave $205 million to build the Overture Center in Madison, replacing the outdated Civic Center. The Overture, which opened in 2004 and takes up a whole city block, includes a 2,100-seat concert hall, 1,000-seat refurbished historic theater, 350-seat theater in the round and 80,000-square-foot Madison Museum of Contemporary Art.
Frautschi ran Webcrafters, a family-owned book manufacturing company, with his brother, John, for 42 years. The company was acquired by Minnesota-based CJK Group in 2017.
Another significant donation to the community, Frautschi and his family gifted the Second Point on Lake Mendota, called Frautschi Point, to the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the late 1980s, providing a link to the western and eastern ends of the university’s shoreline.
Frautschi has made several donations, through his W. Jerome Frautschi Foundation, in recent years to education initiatives, including to One City Schools, Boys & Girls Clubs of Dane County and Madison College Foundation. The Jerry Awards, the main high school musical awards program in the state, is named after Frautschi in recognition of his support for the arts.
He previously served as president and campaign chair for the United Way and on the board of the Madison Community Foundation, MMOCA, the Vilas Trust, Ten Chimneys, the Evjue Foundation, the University of Wisconsin Foundation, the Waisman Center Board of Visitors and the Letters and Science Board of Visitors of the University of Wisconsin.