Help the arts! Help UPAF!

By - Apr 2nd, 2009 10:36 am
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ThirdCoast Digest and VITAL Source have remained committed to the arts in Milwaukee for the entire eight years we’ve been doing this, and we’ve had the tremendous pleasure to watch the arts community grow and thrive.

But any conversation about the health of arts in Milwaukee MUST include discussion of the United Performing Arts Fund. This muscular organization – the largest performing arts fundraising group in the country – has raised over $208 million for the arts since 1967 and has, as a result, touched the lives of millions and millions of residents in the region and fostered the growth of a community that contributes hundreds of millions of dollars to the local economy. Including – she said with a smirk – the survival of local arts publications like this one.

So it’s absolutely crucial that UPAF receives the support it needs from the public. And here’s your chance. This ain’t no bake sale – support now.  -Sr. Ed.

MILWAUKEE – (March 26, 2009) – The United Performing Arts Fund (UPAF) has announced its 2009 campaign goal of $9 million by mid-June and is reaching out to the southeastern Wisconsin community in a comprehensive way to help achieve this goal.  UPAF is a nonprofit organization based in Milwaukee that supports 36 of the region’s performing arts groups through its annual community-wide fundraising campaign.

UPAF is reaching out to the entire southeastern Wisconsin community by providing everyone with an opportunity to show their support for the performing arts.  In addition to donating at work through a UPAF employee giving campaign, all residents of southeastern Wisconsin can donate by visiting the UPAF Web site at and clicking on “give now.”  Those donors who are able to give a gift of $100, or $2 per week,  will receive UPAF’s signature benefit smART Card – a $400.00 value in buy-one, get-one-free tickets to all UPAF Member Group performances.

“UPAF is acutely aware of the difficult economic conditions everyone is experiencing, which is why we ask that you give what you can, since every gift matters to our performing arts groups,” said UPAF President Cristy Garcia-Thomas.  “Your single gift to UPAF is critical to allowing our 36 Member and Affiliate groups to continue offering exceptional live performances, award-winning education, mentoring and outreach programming to children and members of our community who ordinarily would not have access, while providing a substantial economic impact to our region.”

Through community support of UPAF, its 36 Member and Affiliate Groups are able to provide education and outreach to over 400,000 children, provide over 2,000 live performances and reach over 1,000,000 people every year.  In addition, these southeastern Wisconsin performing arts groups:

  • Have an economic impact of more than $236 million, together with regional cultural organizations.
  • Account for hundreds of jobs – not just for performers, but for the hundreds of those who work behind the scenes as well, those who help make the performing arts a reality.
  • Help Milwaukee-area businesses attract and retain talented professionals.
  • Make the region a world-class destination for tourists and the community a better place in which to live for local residents.

“The performing arts are indispensable to the vitality of our region,” said Garcia-Thomas.  “When it comes to the performing arts in southeastern Wisconsin, what happens on stage is only part of the story.  UPAF’s performing arts groups help enrich our culture by bringing new emotions to people whose spirits need lifting, retain high-level professionals to our region and change the lives of over 400,000 children through education and outreach every year.  Our performing arts have uplifted the region for decades, now it’s time for all of us to pitch in and help uplift the arts.”

The 2009 campaign is led by campaign co-chairs Julia Taylor, President of the Greater Milwaukee Committee, and Richard A. Meeusen, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of BadgerMeter, Inc.

For more information about UPAF, the largest fundraising organization for the performing arts in the nation, and to find out more about helping out, visit

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