UPAF Announces August Rally for Arts Education Fundraising Effort

July 30, 2021

The United Performing Arts Fund (UPAF) is shining the spotlight on arts education throughout the month of August with the UPAF Rally for Arts Education in an effort to raise  $200K in funding to fully support for its community impact grant program, UPAF Bright Minds. This program delivers quality arts education to over 80,000 children in our region, and for the first time, UPAF is providing companies and individuals, in the month of August, the opportunity to designate 100% of their donation to support of arts education.


In addition, for every $100 donated to the UPAF Rally for Arts Education, a UPAF SMART CARD will be made available for FREE to a local teacher or teaching artist. The SMART CARD gives recipient teachers access to the same performance and restaurant discounts available to UPAF donors as a source of respite and rejuvenation after the stress of the past year.


“Throughout the past difficult school year, UPAF Bright Minds arts education efforts were there to give our local students a safe, healthy and creative outlet,” said UPAF President & CEO Patrick Rath. “Thanks to donations, UPAF Members continued to deliver important arts education programming, both safely at their facilities and in homes virtually since the start of the pandemic to now. It is imperative that this programming remains a part of their daily education as children make the transition back to the classroom. We ask our community to participate in UPAF’s Rally for Arts Education providing students the ability to further connect, express themselves and channel their energy in a positive direction through the performing arts.”

“First Stage’s mission is transforming lives through theater – and for us, the lives we focus on are those of the young people in our community,” said First Stage Managing Director Betsy Corry. “Access to the power of the arts should be the right of every child, regardless of where they live, where they are educated or their abilities. UPAF’s Bright Minds funding has ensured that First Stage can provide transformative programming to all students. Because of Bright Minds, First Stage is proud to say that we have never turned a student away from our programs due to financial need. Bright Minds is a program that helps all the UPAF members create opportunities and can change a child’s life forever.”

UPAF Members will be available for interview regarding their arts education programming throughout the month of August. Examples of these include The Milwaukee Rep’s Reading Residencies, which activates English curriculum through teaching key literacy skills through theater, centering around a Rep production from the season as well as First Stage’s Summer Theater Academy is the nation’s largest high-impact theater training program for young people, teaching life skills through stage skills to over 2,000 young people each summer in grades K4-12. Participants in arts education programming will also be available for interviews, such as MYSO student Raphaël Coly who performed as a part of the national Transformative Justice Coalition 5th Anniversary Black History Month Forum

Community members can take part in the UPAF Rally for Arts Education by making a gift at upaf.org/rally. They can also create an individual or company fundraising page to ask friends, family members or employees to donate to these efforts.


About UPAF Bright Minds, presented by We Energies Foundation

UPAF Bright Minds serves students in Eastern Wisconsin through grants to UPAF's performing arts Members supporting world-class arts education programs that are delivered directly into classrooms and through after-school programming to over 80,000 local students each year. These programs equip students with the tools to be successful in work and life.  


Programs supported by UPAF Bright Minds funding are assessed by a panel of community leaders for collaboration, accessibility, quality, diversity and impact, with a focus on participatory activities within a school setting that aim to: 

  • Increase confidence, academic performance, innovative and critical thinking, and discipline 
  • Improve a child’s emotional intelligence and self esteem 
  • Advance access to the performing arts particularly for marginalized communities and at-risk students 


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 Eastern Wisconsin. In 2020, dollars generated through fundraising totaled $11,358,693, with an additional $304,000 raised in grant revenue. 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.


UPAF works in partnership with its 14 Members and numerous Affiliates to ensure more than one million people are inspired each year through performances, educational outreach, special events and community partnerships. UPAF Cornerstone Members include First Stage, Florentine Opera Company, Milwaukee Ballet, Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and Skylight Music Theatre Members include Bel Canto Chorus, Black Arts MKE, Danceworks, Milwaukee Chamber Theatre, Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra (MYSO), Next Act Theatre, Present Music and Renaissance Theaterworks.


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