The United Performing Arts Fund exceeded its 50th anniversary campaign goal, raising a record-high total of $12,235,106, the fund announced Wednesday during a celebration at Potawatomi Hotel & Casino’s Northern Lights Theater.
The 50th anniversary campaign total marks a more than a $2 million increase since 2012.
After setting a new record last year — with a total of $12.16 million raised — the fund set a goal in 2017 of simply raising “at least one more dollar” than 2016, UPAF president and CEO Deanna Tillisch said.
“It is only appropriate that for our 50th Anniversary we achieve a new giving milestone,” Tillisch said. “Our community deserves a standing ovation for its dedication to and support of the performing arts. These dollars will not only ensure entertainment excellence delivered by our 15 member groups, but will also provide arts education programming for 100,000 children and make the arts more accessible to individuals and families in our city.”
Tillisch also announced two, one-time gifts to two of UPAF’s Cornerstone groups: $500,000 to the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra to support its plan to move to a new facility, and $250,000 to the Milwaukee Ballet for its new facility.
The campaign launched March 6 and ran through June 14. Herb Kohl Philanthropies served as the presenting sponsor of the campaign with a $50,000 gift.
UPAF is an umbrella nonprofit that solicits donations on behalf of 15 local performing arts organizations, including the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, the Milwaukee Repertory Theater and the Milwaukee Ballet.
The campaign celebration featured performances by the Milwaukee Ballet and First Stage, and a tribute to actor Spencer Tracy, a native of Milwaukee known for his roles in Captains Courageous, Boys Town and Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.
The 2017 campaign was chaired by Betsy Brenner, former publisher of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel; Linda Gorens-Levey, partner with General Capital Group; and Alex Kramer, market leader for the Private Client Reserve of U.S Bank.