UPAF campaign brings in $10.1 million

Milwaukee Ballet II Dancers perform at a UPAF campaign celebration. (Photo: UPAF)

The United Performing Arts Fund’s 2021 campaign raised more than $10.1 million for Milwaukee-area arts groups, UPAF announced Tuesday.

The total was down from $11.7 million last year, and it was shy of the organization’s initial target of $11.3 million.

UPAF raises funds on behalf of 14 member performing arts organizations, including its cornerstone groups First Stage, Florentine Opera Company, Milwaukee Ballet, Milwaukee Rep, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and Skylight Music Theatre. Its members include Bel Canto Chorus, Black Arts MKE, Danceworks, Milwaukee Chamber Theatre, Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra, Next Act Theatre, Present Music and Renaissance Theaterworks.

“Coming off of a year with an exceptionally large number of legacy gifts as well as in support of the performing arts during a time of total shutdown, we knew that we were setting an ambitious target,” said Patrick Rath, president and chief executive officer of UPAF. “We are pleased to have surpassed our budget goal during this unprecedented time, with a fundraising total of $10.148 million, providing critical support to UPAF members and expanding greater support to more organizations through our affiliate program that are valuable to the community.”

A total of $7.9 million will be allocated to 40 performing arts organizations throughout eastern Wisconsin. Of the total, 98% is earmarked for UPAF’s member groups. The remainder, $169,500, is distributed to 26 UPAF affiliates for unrestricted use.

This year’s campaign was co-chaired by Heather Dunn, senior vice president and chief financial officer of West Bend Mutual Insurance Co.; Steve Johnson, regional president of BMO Private Bank; and Greg Wesley, senior vice president of strategic alliances and business development at the Medical College of Wisconsin.

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