United Performing Arts Fund to Allocate a Record $9.175 Million to Performing Arts Groups

Boffo results support Southeastern Wisconsin’s vibrant performing arts scene

MILWAUKEE (Sept. 24, 2015) – The United Performing Arts Fund (UPAF) today announced that the organization will distribute $9,175,000, a 1.1 percent increase over 2014 and the most in UPAF history, as a result of its 2015 fundraising campaign. UPAF’s 15 Member Groups will receive a total of $8,991,549 with the additional $183,451 supporting 18 Affiliates.

The record-setting 2015 UPAF Campaign was co-chaired by Patty Cadorin, vice president and chief of staff  to the CEO of BMO Harris Bank; Tom Cardella, MillerCoors (retired); and Mark Sabljak, publisher, Milwaukee Business Journal.

“Behind the performances that thrill audiences are the businesses that create a thriving creative economy for our region,” said UPAF President and CEO Deanna Tillisch. “By allocating more than

$9 million to our performing arts groups, UPAF fulfills a vital part of its mission, which is to prudently allocate the dollars we raise to sustain and improve the vitality of our arts scene in Southeastern Wisconsin. It is only through the support of our community and its commitment to the performing arts that makes this all possible.”

There were many factors that contributed to the success of the 2015 Campaign according to Tillisch, including:

  • Securing $528,795 in new dollars through Workplace Giving Campaigns.
  • Raising almost $464,000 in new funding through individual leadership donors giving at a minimum of $1,000. More than 280 leadership donors increased their gifts by at least 10 percent.
  • Growing the percentage of Westside donors with approximately 13 percent of campaign donors residing in Waukesha County compared to 12 percent in 2013.


  • Recruiting 380 UPAF Notable Women, sponsored by BMO Harris, a 35 percent increase over 2014. In the past three years, membership has grown by 162 percent.
  • Raising more than $59,000 in new donations through Next Generation UPAF, sponsored by We Energies Foundation.

The allocation numbers are determined by an independent committee representing some of UPAF’s largest corporate donors: Northwestern Mutual, Johnson Controls, We Energies, Baird, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Ashton Group.

The UPAF Allocation Committee utilized the allocation process that was revised in 2013 to ensure transparency and objectivity while maintaining prudent stewardship of donor dollars. Allocation consists of five factors:

  1. Continuing Support: allocated by a determined percentage based on the size of the organization, with the six Cornerstone Member Groups receiving 92.3 percent of continuing support funds.
  2. Organizational and Financial Management: measured through the beta-tested organizational performances scorecard, developed by Northwestern Mutual.
  3. Campaign Support: Member Groups earn this through their active participation in the UPAF Campaign. (Groups receiving a smaller allocation in 2015 versus 2014 are mostly attributable to this criteria.)
  4. Education: dollars raised through UPAF Notable Women, plus other restricted funds raised during the campaign specifically for arts education.
  5. Discretionary/Intangible: A small percentage of dollars are set aside to be awarded to Member Groups that demonstrate exemplary results in all phases of their operation.

“Overall, Member Group campaign participation was excellent with total allocation dollars earned exceeding $2,115,000,” said “Tillisch. “Those Member Groups that saw a decline in funding this year versus 2014, in many cases, earned less credit though campaign participation.”

UPAF Member Group 2015 Allocations:


2015 Allocation


2014 Allocation Total
First Stage Milwaukee, Inc. $960,652 $784,766
Florentine Opera Company, Inc. $810,323 $793,017
Milwaukee Ballet Company, Inc. $883,220 $866,647
Milwaukee Repertory Theater, Inc.* $1,708,572 $1,634,685
Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Inc.** $2,549,859 $2,633,641
Skylight Music Theatre Corp. $601,015 $592, 248
Total Cornerstones $7,513,641 $7,305,004




* 2014 Funding includes a one-time gift of $250,000 from the UPAF Discretionary Fund for the Rep’s Distressed Building Campaign, a capital project.

** 2014 Funding includes $75,000 designated by two corporate donors for the MSO Emergency Campaign.  2015 Funding does not include an additional $93,000 UPAF provided to the MSO in June of 2015 to underwrite a Strategic Actioning Session.  Those dollars came from UPAF reserves.

UPAF Member Group 2015 Allocation Total 2014 Allocation Total
Bel Canto Chorus of Milwaukee, Inc. $65,853 $80,474
Danceworks, Inc. $192,375 $192,184
Milwaukee Chamber Theatre, Ltd. $169,607 $169,807
Milwaukee Children’s Choir, Inc. $89,229 $107,899
Milwaukee Public Theatre, Inc. $79,822 $86,389
Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra, Inc. $402,222 $413,333
Next Act Theatre, Inc. $167,174 $169,711
Present Music, Inc. $163,830 $191,128
Renaissance Theaterworks, Inc. $147,796 $137,378
Total Member Groups $1,477,908 $1,548,303


About UPAF

United Performing Arts Fund’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. Our vision is to shape a diverse, vibrant and sustainable cultural life for all. In 2015 UPAF’s Annual Campaign raised more than $12 million to support the area’s vibrant performing arts environment. UPAF proudly bears Charity Navigator’s highest distinction for nonprofits – a four-star rating.

As an umbrella organization, UPAF supports a breadth of performing arts groups that collectively offer something for everyone through its 15 Member Groups and numerous Affiliates.  More than one million people are touched each year through performances, educational outreach, special events and community partnerships.

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