The United Performing Arts Fund has raised $8.1 million toward its goal of raising more than the organization raised for Milwaukee-area performing arts groups last year, with a sizable number of workplace giving campaigns yet to complete.
The organization, known as UPAF, is readying for the homestretch of its annual campaign to raise operating funds for 14 member performing arts groups and assorted affiliate groups in the Milwaukee area. The campaign, which kicked off March 4, wraps up June 12 in a ceremony in the Northern Lights Theater at Potawatomi Hotel & Casino in Milwaukee.
For the third year in row, UPAF did not unveil a specific fundraising goal as it looked only toward topping the previous year’s effort. The united arts fund is in the middle of its second campaign following a high-profile, and highly successful, 50th anniversary campaign in 2017 that raised more than $12.3 million.
If UPAF can beat last year’s fundraising total, it will be the fourth straight year that it will raise more than $12 million for the arts, and UPAF will have done so in the face of ongoing turmoil in the Milwaukee business community that has affected some of its biggest donors.
“Fundraising has changed fundamentally in the last eight years, ” UPAF president and CEO Deanna Tillisch said.
UPAF’s funds come from a variety of sources, but the largest components are corporate donations and matches, workplace giving campaigns and gifts from individuals. In 2018, corporate donations accounted for almost 37.7% of the funds, while workplace giving was not far behind, at nearly 32.5%, according to UPAF. Individuals donated 21% of the overall funds, while special events like the UPAF Ride for the Arts and golfing event Dancing on the Green accounted for almost 5%.
This year, UPAF’s campaign is led by co-chairs Jim Barry, president and CEO of The Barry Company of Milwaukee; Sandy Botcher, vice president of field experience at Milwaukee-based Northwestern Mutual; and Tim Stewart, attorney and shareholder at DeWitt Ross & Stevens in Brookfield. Stewart’s leadership is one of the keys to success for UPAF, which added a third co-chair to its annual campaign beginning in 2012 to address the growing size of the fundraising effort and to target potential donors in the western suburbs.