Waukesha Freeman: Guest Opinion from UPAF 2018 Co-Chairs

A steady diet of performing arts is essential to our health

By Jim Borris, Susan Martin and Dave Vetta

“A clown with his pants falling down

Or the dance that’s a dream of romance

Or the scene where the villain is mean.

The world is a stage; the stage is a world of entertainment!”

Those lyrics written decades ago illustrate the power and the perpetuity of the performing arts and their ability to stir our emotions and provoke a community conversation. Yes, it’s important for all of us to “lap up” a little culture and the Milwaukee community is blessed to be a place where the arts thrive in abundance. On any given night you can experience the best in music, dance and theater.

In fact, it is well established that there is a strong correlation between attending performing arts and health, well-being and civic involvement.

We were tapped and willingly accepted the roles of co-chairs for the 2018 United Performing Arts campaign. Coming off a record-setting 50th anniversary year, we’re inheriting a tall bar to raise. But we know the Milwaukee area is again ready to demonstrate its support for UPAF and assuring the future of our robust creative culture.

Why is donating to UPAF the most cost-effective way to support our region’s performing arts?

The sum of the whole is greater than the parts and that’s why contributing to UPAF maximizes your contribution. UPAF is a four-star (the highest) rated nonprofit by Charity Navigator, the “Good Housekeeping” seal of approval for the effective allocation of your dollars. As a fundraising organization, UPAF has the mechanisms in place with other 50  years of experience to cost-effectively raise and distribute the dollars to its 14 member groups and affiliates. UPAF provides a convenient portal where you know your gift, whether given through the workplace or online, is being used to assure the vibrancy of our community’s performing arts scene.

The operating support that UPAF provides to its member groups is essential to their sustainability. Because UPAF concentrates on fundraising, the groups are able to concentrate on what they do best – create, perform, inspire and educate.

UPAF is also working with its member groups to make sure the arts are more accessible to a larger, more diverse demographic. Its UPAF Connect program is now partnering with almost 20 nonprofit groups in the metro area to bring the arts to underserved communities at no cost. For many, UPAF Connect is giving people their first exposure to our local performing arts groups. In addition, your UPAF donation contributed a record $600,000 for needed arts education programming.

A gift of $100 or more to this year’s UPAF campaign will get you a SMART Card, a passport to experience two-for-one ticket offers at all 14 UPAF member groups as well as discounts at area restaurants and merchants. It’s an investment that will see returns in your pocket-book, challenge your brain and enlighten your heart.

As our 15-week UPAF campaign begins we hope you will dig a little deeper to assure that the Milwaukee area’s performing arts scene remains world-class. Also, take in a live performance and experience firsthand magic. It’s just what the doctor ordered!

Jim Boris – President and CEO, Zilber, Ltd.

Susan Martin – Executive vice president, WEC Energy Group

Dave Vetta – Chair, Milwaukee Region Advisory board, First Business Bank

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