Milwaukee Business Journal: UPAF launches $200,000 fundraising effort for arts education

Margaret Naczek | July 30, 2021

The United Performing Arts Fund is launching a new fundraising this August to promote arts education.

The UPAF Rally for Arts Education has a goal to raise $200,000 to support over 80,000 children in southeastern Wisconsin. All money raised will go to support its UPAF Bright Minds grant program.

The UPAF Bright Minds grant program focuses on activities in a school setting that increase academic performance and confidence, improve a student's emotional intelligence and enhance access to the performing arts. Special attention is given to at-risk students and marginalized communities.

“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,” UPAF president and CEO Patrick Rath said in a press release. “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."

Since 1967, UPAF has supported southeastern Wisconsin's performing arts community. In 2020, the organization raised $11,358,693 in fundraising efforts with an additional $304,000 in grant revenue. Its partner organizations are 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, Next Act Theatre, Present Music and Renaissance Theaterworks.

UPAF's Bright Minds program has assisted First Stage in providing programming to southeastern Wisconsin students, First Stage's managing director Betsy Corry said.