Kasey’s Fund

Making the magic of the arts available to all!

To celebrate Deanna Tillisch’s final UPAF Campaign and her longstanding commitment to accessibility of the performing arts, UPAF is launching a special initiative for 2020 to increase dollars available through UPAF’s Community Outreach Programs – UPAF Bright Minds and UPAF Connect.

The initiative will be named after Deanna’s daughter: Kasey’s Fund.

Kasey was born with a chromosome deletion, 1p36, which resulted in profound cognitive and physical disabilities. Because of the chromosome deletion, Kasey cannot walk, talk, read or write, but she lives a life filled with music, love and support and is one of the happiest people you could ever meet.

Music is one of Kasey’s great joys—she savors the sounds of the strings of a violin, the beat of a drum, the timbre of a French horn.  Music is also one of the main ways Kasey expresses herself. She plays her Mozart’s Magic Cube for hours on end, filling the air with sounds of the harp, violin, French horn, piano and flute, as well as a full orchestra, by pressing buttons.

Kasey’s story reinforces from a slightly different perspective why the arts matter—in ways not always obvious. For Kasey, it is as simple as having the ability to joyfully express her emotions with the touch of a button.

The ability to create and experience the performing arts opens up new worlds for everyone, including people with disabilities, people with serious illnesses, people dealing with trauma … everyone.

It is Deanna and her family’s mission to ensure that the music never stops for Kasey, and that all individuals can experience the arts in a meaningful way.

Funds raised will provide seed money for UPAF’s two Community Outreach Programs with a continued focus to increase diversity, inclusion and equality within the arts:

UPAF Bright Minds

  • Deliver arts education programming with a focus on children having limited or no access to the arts.
  • Fund sensory-friendly performances.

UPAF Connect

  • Take performances, workshops, activities to neighborhoods.
  • Bring neighborhoods to performances, distinct experiences – backstage tour, meet the artist, etc.
  • Tailor programming to enhance mental and physical health.
  • Underwrite pay what you can/free performances. 

Ensuring Accessibility
Individuals, companies and foundations making a new or increased gift will have the option to direct dollars to Kasey’s Fund.  Doing so will help remove barriers that exist for many families and individuals so they, too, can enjoy the best in music, dance and theater.

Check out this interview about Kasey’s Fund with Deanna, Kasey and TMJ4’s Vince Vitrano.