The United Performing Arts Fund 2018 campaign raised $12,065,857 to support southeastern Wisconsin’s performing arts groups, the fund announced Wednesday during a celebration at Potawatomi Hotel & Casino’s Northern Lights Theater.
The total marks the fourth consecutive year that the campaign has brought in more than $12 million. The campaign also exceeded UPAF leaders’ expectations, as it followed the fund’s 50th anniversary year in 2017, which raised a record $12.32 million thanks to several significant one-time gifts.
UPAF solicits donations on behalf of 14 local performing arts organizations, including the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, the Milwaukee Repertory Theater and the Milwaukee Ballet.
“Coming off our 50th Anniversary Campaign, we are ecstatic about the results,” said Deanna Tillisch, UPAF president and chief executive officer. “We are extremely grateful to be part of a community that is immensely dedicated to the performing arts. Through the ongoing generosity of our donors, we are able to provide essential dollars to our 14 member groups so they can continue delivering entertainment excellence, arts education programs and community outreach initiatives.”
The finale celebration on Wednesday included a Q&A with actors Michael Tucker and Jill Eikenberry, best known for their roles on L.A. Law. Both have Wisconsin ties, as Tucker spent three seasons with the Milwaukee Repertory Theater early on his acting career and Eikenberry grew up in Madison.
UPAF also announced its board has authorized an expenditure of up to $225,000 for a community-wide marketing campaign in September, celebrating the start of the performing arts season.
This year’s campaign was co-chaired by Jim Borris, president and CEO of Zilber Ltd., Susan Martin, retired executive vice president of WEC Energy Group, and Dave Vetta, Milwaukee region advisory board chair at First Business Bank.