UPAF raises more than $10.7 million, exceeding 2022 campaign goal

The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra is among UPAF's 14 member groups.

Last updated on October 25th, 2022 at 08:53 am

The United Performing Arts Fund brought in more than $10.7 million for Milwaukee-area arts groups during its 2022 fundraising campaign, the nonprofit announced Tuesday.

The total surpassed UPAF’s fundraising target of $10.5 million, and it’s up from last year’s total of $10.1 million. In 2020, the campaign raised $11.7 million.

Milwaukee-based 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 – and 26 affiliate organizations.

“As UPAF performing arts members and affiliates faced a collective loss of $38 million over the past three seasons and are embarking on a season without a guarantee of additional government funding, these organizations are more dependent on community support than ever,” said Patrick Rath, president and chief executive officer of UPAF. “We want to thank the thousands of generous UPAF donors who recognize the impact a vibrant arts community has on our region and humanity.”

This year’s annual campaign ran Feb. 22 through May 31 and drew 13,400 donors.

Of the $10.7 million total, $8.2 million will be allocated to a record 47 performing arts organizations throughout eastern Wisconsin. UPAF’s 14 member groups will receive 96% of those funds, including a special one-time COVID Relief distribution of $700,000 from UPAF’s reserves. The remaining $290,000 is distributed as one-year grant awards to 33 UPAF affiliates for unrestricted use. A special one-time distribution of $50,000 from UPAF reserves is included in this total to further expand the affiliate program’s diversity and geographic reach, according to a news release.

Funding raised from the 2022 UPAF Campaign supports the 2022-’23 performing arts season that is fully underway. Collectively, UPAF members and affiliates expect to reach more than 700,000 people throughout eastern Wisconsin this season.

During the 2021-’22 season, UPAF members put on more than 1,500 performances representing diverse voices and expanded access to the performing arts through more than 650 free community events. Through the UPAF Bright Minds arts education grant program, members provide approximately 50,000 students annually with high-quality, immersive arts education programming.

Tripling in size over the past three years, UPAF affiliate groups now represent five counties, with 20% being BIPOC led and focused on BIPOC programming.

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Maredithe has covered retail, restaurants, entertainment and tourism since 2018. Her duties as associate editor include copy editing, page proofing and managing work flow. Meyer earned a degree in journalism from Marquette University and still enjoys attending men’s basketball games to cheer on the Golden Eagles. Also in her free time, Meyer coaches high school field hockey and loves trying out new restaurants in Milwaukee.

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