BizTimes: UPAF sets $10.5 million campaign target

Lauren Anderson | February 23, 2022

The United Performing Arts Fund has set a fundraising goal of $10.5 million for its 2022 campaign.

UPAF leaders announced the fundraising target during a Tuesday evening launch event. The organization planned to host the event at the Bradley Symphony Center but ultimately held it virtually due to the city’s weather emergency.

UPAF raises funds on behalf of 14 member performing arts organizations, including its cornerstone groups First Stage, Florentine Opera Company, Milwaukee Ballet, Milwaukee Rep, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and Skylight Music Theatre. Its members include Bel Canto Chorus, Black Arts MKE, Danceworks, Milwaukee Chamber Theatre, Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra, Next Act Theatre, Present Music and Renaissance Theaterworks.

“Through 2022, UPAF is asking the community to join us in being for the arts,” said Tim Mattke, chair of the UPAF board of directors. “We are for entertainment excellence, for arts education, for a community made better by the arts and for representation, all of which are made possible by the UPAF members and affiliates. As these organizations continue the recovery from difficulties brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, funding received through UPAF is more important than ever and we turn to our community to make this possible with their best gift to the 2022 campaign.”

This year’s campaign runs Feb. 22 through May 31. Last year, the organization raised $10.1 million for Milwaukee-area arts groups.

Throughout the 2020-’21 season, UPAF members employed 1,267 artists, said Patrick Rath, president and CEO of UPAF. Rath also noted that 161,832 students participated in arts education programming through UPAF member organizations last season, nearly double previous years, because of the extended reach of virtual platforms.

Following the community campaign, UPAF will host a series of additional fundraising events, including its signature Ride for the Arts on June 5 and Dancing on the Green golf outing on July 18.

UPAF on Tuesday also introduced its new UPAF Chorus Line, a network of more than 300 volunteers who will assist with the organization’s fundraising efforts. The volunteer program is being coordinated by George Meyer, a UPAF board member and CEO emeritus of Kahler Slater, and his wife, community volunteer Sallie Meyer; Jen Moran, creative director of V Formation Creative; and Michael Rampolla, strategist and coach at SPEARity.