UPAF Increases Arts Education Grants

by Jacob Coakley

Each of the United Performing Arts Fund member groups will receive a grant from the $375,000 in its 2014 Arts Education Grant Program, a 5 percent increase over 2013.

United Performing Arts Fund Announces Increase in Arts Education Grants

Donor support for arts education continues to rise

Milwaukee, WI (October 24, 2014) - The United Performing Arts Fund (UPAF) has announced the outcome of its 2014 Arts Education Grant Program. Each of UPAF's 15 Member Groups will be receiving a grant this year, totaling $375,000, a 5 percent increase over 2013. This increase can be attributed to growing community enthusiasm to improve access to arts education, as well as UPAF's efforts to raise funds specifically for arts education by promoting membership in its affinity group, UPAF Notable Women, sponsored by BMO Harris.

UPAF Notable Women is dedicated to ensuring that all of our region's children have access to quality arts education programming. Membership in UPAF Notable Women grew by 94.5 percent in 2014 to 282 members, which equates to $282,000 going toward arts education. In addition to the funding raised through the affinity program, UPAF received support for its Arts Education Grant Program from several foundations and corporate partners, including the M&I Foundation, the Frank Weyenberg Foundation, Extendicare and ManpowerGroup.

"Research shows that exposure to different art forms helps increase students' engagement in the classroom, improves their ability to manage and understand their actions, and strengthens their confidence and attitudes overall," said Deanna L. Tillisch, president and CEO of UPAF. "UPAF is proud to be a part of a community that recognizes the positive impact of exposure to the arts and continues to increase its support of arts education year after year."

To receive a grant, each UPAF Member Group is required to submit an online application outlining a specific program within their organization focused on arts education. A panel of individuals with expertise in arts education, grant review and research evaluated each grant application based on impact and measurable value of the program. First Stage is this year's recipient of the Arts Education Grant Program Award, receiving the top score from the review panel and the highest grant amount.

Grant amounts awarded to UPAF Member Groups for 2014-15:

2014-15 Arts Education Grants

Member Group – Program - 2014-15 Grant Amount

First Stage - Theater Academy - $50,000
Milwaukee Repertory Theater - Artistic Internship Program - $45,000
Milwaukee Ballet - Relevé - $42,000
Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra - Arts in Community Education - $40,000
Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra - Community Partnership Program - $40,000
Danceworks, Inc. - Mad Hot Ballroom & Tap - $34,000
Skylight Music Theatre - PSI Program - $32,000
Florentine Opera Company - Opera in the Schools - $19,000
Milwaukee Children's Choir - Harmony Program - $19,000
Milwaukee Public Theatre - Community Health Choices Program - $13,000
Present Music - Creation Project - $12,000
Milwaukee Chamber Theatre - Young Playwrights Festival - $10,000
Next Act Theatre - Next Actors - $8,000
Renaissance Theaterworks - Women Warrior - $7,000
Bel Canto Chorus - Boys Choir - $4,000 - Total Dollars: $375,000

About UPAF Notable Women

A portion of the arts education funding comes from UPAF Notable Women, sponsored by BMO Harris, a group dedicated to ensuring all our region's children have access to quality arts education programming. To become a Notable Woman, women must make a new or increased gift of $1,000. Men may also show their support by contributing on behalf of a woman in their lives.

About UPAF

United Performing Arts Fund's mission is to secure community resources, promote the performing arts as a regional asset and improve the quality of life through responsible investment in and financial support of the performing arts in Southeastern Wisconsin. Our vision is to shape a diverse, vibrant and sustainable cultural life for all. In 2014 UPAF's Annual Campaign raised more than $11.7 million dollars to support the area's vibrant performing arts environment. UPAF proudly bears Charity Navigator's highest distinction for nonprofits -- a four-star rating.

As an umbrella organization, UPAF supports a breadth of performing arts groups that collectively offer something for everyone through its 15 Member Groups and numerous Affiliates. More than one million people are touched each year through performances, educational outreach, special events and community partnerships.