United Performing Arts Fund to Allocate $8,820,000 to Member Groups

UPAF | September 30, 2019

MILWAUKEE (Sept. 30, 2019) – The United Performing Arts Fund (UPAF) today announced it will allocate $8,820,000 to its 14 Member Groups. A total of $7,487,215, or about 87% of the allocation, will be distributed to the six UPAF Cornerstones.

Upon the close of its fiscal year on Aug. 31, the total dollars raised by UPAF through 2019 was $11,884,129. “Since 1967, UPAF has played a key role in ensuring a vibrant arts scene for Southeastern Wisconsin, said Deanna Tillisch, UPAF president and CEO. “Thanks to the generosity of our donors, sponsors and volunteers, we are proud to continue supporting our 14 Member Groups as they enrich our lives and contribute to the vitality of our region.”

“Going into the 2019 Campaign, we knew that we were going to face a number of headwinds due to changes in employee demographics as well as the ever-changing environment of charitable giving,” said Tim Stewart, attorney and partner at DeWitt LLP and 2019 UPAF Co-Chair. “Due to the tenacity and dedication of the UPAF team and our supporters, we are pleased that despite these external forces we were still able to come through in providing crucial resources to our 14 Member Groups.”

Since 2012, UPAF has used a financial scorecard that measures financial well-being, sound fiscal practices and organizational management to aid in determining allocation totals for each Member Group. For the first time since the scorecard was introduced, all six Cornerstones increased their scores. “Our donors can have the utmost confidence that their dollars are going to professional performing arts organizations that are well managed, as indicated by their financial strength and sustainability,” said Tillisch.

UPAF By the Numbers:

·         Six UPAF Cornerstone Groups (First Stage, Florentine Opera Company, Milwaukee Ballet, Milwaukee Repertory Theater, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and Skylight Music Theatre,) will receive $7,487,215 or 86.63% of dollars allocated.

·         Eight UPAF Member Groups (Bel Canto, Danceworks, Milwaukee Chamber Theatre, Milwaukee Children’s Choir, Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra, Next Act Theatre, Present Music and Renaissance Theaterworks) will receive $1,156,287 or 13.37% of dollars allocated.

·         Smaller performing arts groups will receive $176,498 through the UPAF Affiliate Program, sponsored by Briggs & Stratton.

In addition to Stewart, UPAF’s 2019 Campaign was also co-chaired by Jim Barry, president of The Barry Company, and Sandy Botcher, vice president of field experience at Northwestern Mutual.

 Several factors contributed to the success of the 2019 Campaign, according to Tillisch, including:

  • Workplace Giving Campaigns raised $438,548 in new money with employee participation also increasing.
  • New and increased gifts increased by 36%.
  • The support of the Bucyrus Foundation Leadership Challenge Match helped to raise $441,284 from new and increased leadership donors who contributed $1,000 or more in 2019.
  • UPAF Bright Minds, sponsored by BMO Harris, UPAF’s Arts Education grants program hit an all-time high with 11 Member Groups receiving a total of $683,500, up $10,000 from 2018. Most of those dollars are raised through UPAF Notable Women, also sponsored by BMO Harris, which raised $71,000 in new money for arts education.
  • UPAF Connect, a community outreach program, brought in $260,000, an increase of nearly $20,000 from 2018. These funds will be used to connect the performing arts to individuals and families by partnering with 26 nonprofit organizations.
  • Thanks in part to the Adopt an Artist program, sponsored by Husch Blackwell, UPAF raised $98,867 from small-to-mid-sized companies. 114 companies participated in the Adopt an Artist program.
  • Reinhart Attorneys at Law Final Stretch Match helped raise $102,000.
  • Revenue from UPAF Dancing on the Green Golf Outing, presented by Associated Bank and co-chaired by Marie O’Brien of Enterforce and Craig Jorgensen of VJS Construction, increased by 53%.
  • Next Generation UPAF, sponsored by We Energies, raised $43,700 in new money and recruited more than 120 new emerging leaders to the Affinity Program.

UPAF allocation is determined by an independent committee representing a cross-section of organizations: Northwestern Mutual, We Energies, Baird, MillerCoors and PNC Bank.

The UPAF Allocation Committee makes decisions based on a formula that ensures transparency and objectivity while maintaining prudent stewardship of donor dollars. Allocation consists of six variables:

  1. Continuing Support: Guaranteed percentages for all 14 Member Groups.
  2. Financial Scorecard: Evaluates financial management based on nine ratios.
  3. Campaign Support: Member Groups earn dollars through active participation in the UPAF Campaign.
  4. Community Program Support: Dollars raised earmarked for UPAF Bright Minds and UPAF Connect. 
  5. Discretionary Fund: Built into the formula is the ability to “set aside” 4% of allocable dollars that are distributed at the UPAF Board’s discretion.
  6. Affiliate Program: Funds directed through an annual grant program for which smaller performing arts organizations may apply.

About UPAF

The United Performing Arts Fund (UPAF) has been setting the stage since 1967 by providing critical investment in our region’s vibrant performing arts scene.  UPAF’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. In 2018 UPAF raised more than $12 million to support the area’s performing arts environment. UPAF proudly bears Charity Navigator’s highest distinction for nonprofits – a four-star rating – and is the No. 1 united arts fund in the country in terms of dollars raised.

As an umbrella organization, UPAF supports a breadth of performing arts groups that collectively offer something for everyone through its 14 Member Groups and numerous Affiliates.  More than one million people are touched each year through performances, educational outreach, special events and community partnerships.