For 49 years, The United Performing Arts Fund, or UPAF, has raised a great deal of money for music, theater and dance in Milwaukee.
The umbrella organization provides operating monies for key arts organizations in the community, like the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, the Milwaukee Ballet and the Florentine Opera.
“When people come here, they recognize that for a city our size, to have all the different cultural assets that we have, it really is quite special,” says Deanna Tillisch, the president and CEO of UPAF.
The organization supports many local groups through their fundraising efforts, which includes its annual Ride for the Arts. This year’s ride will be Sunday, June 5. And while the bike ride is expected to raise $600,000, the majority of the organization’s funds actually come from its fundraising efforts in local workplaces.
“Of our 23,000 donors, more than 17,000 come from the workplace. So that’s a bloodline for us. It’s a very efficient way to raise money,” says Tillisch. And one of the more unique ways the organization raises funds, is through workplace performances.
“We’re not only able to talk about the performing arts, but we’re also able to show the performing arts,”
she say. “We organize more than 400 different performances during our campaign with a majority of those going into the workplace. So it’s a great way to showcase what people are giving money to.”
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