Milwaukee Business Journal: UPAF announces final 2019 campaign total, details on new fund

David Schuyler | December 17, 2019

Leaders of the United Performing Arts Fund announced the final fundraising totals for the 2019 campaign and more details on a new education fund named for the daughter of retiring president and CEO Deanna Tillisch at the organization’s annual meeting Monday evening.

UPAF raised $11,881,893 throughout the 2019 campaign, with $8,820,000 allocated to performing arts groups in 2019. Of the allocated funds, $8,644,318 went to UPAF’s 14 member groups and $175,682 going to 16 smaller performing arts organizations through the affiliate program, sponsored by Briggs & Stratton, the organization said during the annual meeting in the Stackner Cabaret at the Milwaukee Repertory Theater.

“The meeting provides us with an opportunity to review the year’s highlights and recognize and thank the many people and companies who support the performing arts with their time and dollars,” said Tillisch, who in September announced plans to retire on Sept. 30, 2020.

Highlights include a record $683,500 in grants being distributed through UPAF Bright Minds, sponsored by BMO Harris Bank, a grant program to fund arts education. Ten UPAF Member Groups will receive Bright Minds grant funding, which is up $10,000 over 2018’s total.

UPAF’s 2019 campaign was co-chaired by Jim Barry, president of The Barry Co.; Sandy Botcher, vice president of field experience at Northwestern Mutual; and Tim Stewart, attorney and partner at DeWitt LLP.

Co-chairs for 2020 were also introduced at the meeting: Tami Garrison, community affairs director of MillerCoors; Justin Mortara, principal of the Mortara Group; and Rolando Rodriguez, chairman, president and CEO of Marcus Theatres Corp.

In recognition of Tillisch’s final fundraising campaign in 2020, UPAF established a new fundraising initiative for 2020 called Kasey’s Fund. Throughout her tenure, Tillisch has been extremely committed to ensuring accessibility of the performing arts and the fund will continue those efforts.

The annual meeting also included performances by cast members of Milwaukee Rep’s production of “Nunsense” and the Florentine Opera Company’s Baumgartner Studio Artists.

CLICK HERE to view photos from the event!