UPAF raises $420,000 from Ride for the Arts with time to meet goal

Margaret Naczek | June 5, 2023

The UPAF Ride for the Arts, which was held June 4 at Milwaukee's lakefront, welcomed 2,930 riders and brought in $420,000. The organization still has time to meet its goal of $500,00 as fundraising does not close until the end of June.

This is the 43rd year of the popular Milwaukee summer tradition.

In 2022, UPAF raised around $450,000 in its Ride for the Arts. The Ride for the Arts is UPAF's largest annual fundraiser.

This year's ride featured an extended 20-mile route that ran along I-794, through downtown and to the north end of Lake Park. It was the first year since the Covid-19 pandemic that the Ride for the Arts celebrated with a finish line party at Henry Maier Festival Park.

The Ride for the Arts began in 1981 and has welcomed over 295,000 riding participants and raised more than $11.7 million for UPAF. Annually, 100% of the money from the event goes back to support UPAF performing arts members.

UPAF's events director Ana Cook said ahead of the event that her goal was for the Ride for the Arts to become a community event.

"What I’m really excited about is that we’re bringing in a lot of different performers and representing a lot of different areas of the performing arts and of Milwaukee, so making this accessible and family friendly and not so intimidating to people. Sometimes they think a bike ride is a race, but this is really a recreational ride. It’s fun. It’s low-stakes," she said.

The 2023 UPAF Ride for the Arts featured presenting sponsor Miller Lite for the 33rd consecutive year. Other sponsors included Johnson Financial Group, Husch Blackwell, West Bend Mutual Insurance and Wheel & Sprocket.

The United Performing Arts Fund is the nonprofit organization dedicated to providing financial support to arts organizations in southeastern Wisconsin. UPAF supports the 14 member groups of First Stage, Florentine Opera Company, Milwaukee Ballet, Milwaukee Repertory Theater, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and Skylight Music Theatre, Bel Canto Chorus, Black Arts MKE, Danceworks, Milwaukee Chamber Theatre, Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra, Next Act Theatre, Present Music and Renaissance Theaterworks.

CLICK HERE to view this article and accompanying photos from the event on the Milwaukee Business Journal website.