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United Performing Arts Fund searches for new president, CEO

Posted at 7:49 AM, Feb 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-05 08:49:07-05

The United Performing Arts Fund is looking for a new president and CEO.

UPAF’s current leader, Deanna Tillisch, is leaving the organization this fall. Her early announcement will give the board of directors time to find a replacement, and Tillisch a final push to expand the reach of the arts to everyone in the community.

Tillisch has run UPAF for nearly a decade. Provided things go as planned in her final fundraising campaign, she will have led the organization to more than $100 million in fundraising.

“I certainly don't take credit for that,” Tillisch said. “It is the generosity of this community, people that get involved, the volunteers, a lot of it just happens. I just am fortunate to be at the helm at that time.”

The impact UPAF has on the community is visible. Tillisch gave the interview at Milwaukee Ballet’s shining new facility which that morning was hosting classes of students from Milwaukee Public Schools.

Through its member groups, UPAF-supported programs will reach more than 100,000 students this year.

“I have such a strong commitment to this organization,” Tillisch said. “I believe in its mission. I am passionate about the arts. So, to me, I want the next individual to be even more successful that I have been at UPAF.”

The search is on for that next individual. Tillisch will exit the stage after the completion of the annual fundraising campaign, expected again to raise more than $10 million dollars.

Tillisch is proud of her leadership, which yields numbers like that, but again shares the credit with Milwaukee’s commitment to a strong arts community.

“I see the generosity of people every single day. It is an honor and a privilege to be able to have an impact on the community, to influence the performing arts scene and to ensure its vibrancy," said Tillisch.

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