United Performing Arts Fund
Press Release

2020 UPAF Campaign Raises Over $11.6 Million for Local Performing Arts Organizations

$720,000 of total will be designated to specific arts accessibility programs

By - Sep 22nd, 2020 08:54 am

MILWAUKEE, (Sept. 22, 2020) – The United Performing Arts Fund (UPAF) announced last night that the 2020 UPAF Campaign raised $11,662,693.  Dollars generated through fundraising total $11,358,693, with an additional $304,000 raised in grant revenue. The Campaign is down by 1.9% compared to 2019, which is significantly less than the 8.5% UPAF projected once COVID-19 required all efforts and performances to be 100% virtual.

The 2020 fundraising outcomes include $720,000 raised through Kasey’s Fund, a one-time initiative that designates dollars exclusively for arts accessibility in honor of President & CEO Deanna Tillisch’s final campaign. The original goal for Kasey’s Fund was $250,000.

UPAF shared the news at its 2020 Campaign Finale, sponsored by Potawatomi Hotel & Casino and hosted by Marcus Theatres at the Majestic Cinema of Brookfield.

“When I announced that 2020 would be my final Campaign, it never crossed my mind that it would take place in the midst of a global pandemic when our stages were forced to go dark,” said UPAF President & CEO Deanna Tillisch. “While it has been the hardest Campaign, it has also been one of the most rewarding. The UPAF team was energized – daily – by seeing our community come together to protect assets that add so much to our lives.

“Arts accessibility has been a priority throughout my tenure so it is incredibly meaningful to secure $720,000 through Kasey’s Fund, more than three times our original goal,” said Tillisch. “During down economies, arts education and community engagement programs are often the first to be reduced or eliminated so this support is needed more than ever.”

In her remarks, Tillisch also called out the considerable contributions of the 2020 Campaign Co-Chairs, Tami Garrison, community affairs director at Molson Coors, Justin Mortara, principal at the Mortara Group and Rolando Rodriguez, Chairman, President & CEO of Marcus Theatres.

The event also featured performances by the Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra, Florentine Opera Company, Milwaukee Ballet and UPAF’s newest Member Group, Black Arts MKE.

During the Finale, awards were presented to recognize area companies and individuals for their support of UPAF and the performing arts. Recognized were:

  • The Mrs. Walter H. Stiemke Award: Jon Van Drisse, PricewaterhouseCoopers
  • Volunteer of the Year, Donor Dollar Stewardship: Jeff Behring, Northwestern Mutual
  • Volunteer of the Year, Fundraising: Pat Horne, Northwestern Mutual (Field Force)
  • Baird Award for Workplace Giving: Clarios
  • EPIC (Exceptional Performance in a Campaign) Award: We Energies
  • The Jack M. Birchhill Award, presented by A.O. Smith: WISN 12
  • The Ambassador Award: Matt Winder and Megan Conrad of Kahler Slater
  • Pedal Power Challenge, sponsored by ManpowerGroup, given to the UPAF Ride team that raises the most money in pledges: Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra
  • The Johnson Financial Group Award, given to the individual UPAF Ride for the Arts cyclist that raises the most money in pledges: Maureen McCabe
  • Workplace Giving Challenge, given to one Law and one Accounting firm for having the highest percentage increase in employee participation.
    • Law Firm: Warshafsky
    • Accounting Firm: RSM

The Finale program closed with Tillisch saying her farewell after nine years leading UPAF.  Tillisch’s tenure will end on September 30.

About UPAF

The United Performing Arts Fund (UPAF) has been setting the stage since 1967 by providing critical investment in our region’s vibrant performing arts scene. UPAF’s mission is to secure community resources, promote the performing arts as a regional asset and improve the quality of life through responsible investment in and financial support of the performing arts in Southeastern Wisconsin. UPAF proudly bears Charity Navigator’s highest distinction for nonprofits – a four-star rating – and is the No. 1 united arts fund in the country in terms of dollars raised.

As an umbrella organization, UPAF supports a breadth of performing arts groups that collectively offer something for everyone through its 14 Member Groups and numerous Affiliates. More than one million people are touched each year through performances, educational outreach, special events and community partnerships.

NOTE: This press release was submitted to Urban Milwaukee and was not written by an Urban Milwaukee writer. It has not been verified for its accuracy or completeness.

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