MSO completes its $5 million fundraising campaign

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra (MSO) has announced the completion of its current fundraising campaign of $5 million.

“We are thrilled to have rallied the community and improved our business model,” stated MSO Board Chair Douglas Hagerman. “The MSO Board will now turn to the big picture—the changes that could permanently stabilize and capitalize the MSO."

“The community’s outpouring of support shows us Milwaukee recognizes the quality and value of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra,” stated MSO President & Executive Director Mark Niehaus. “We are honored and privileged to serve our community and make great music for years to come.”

As a result of a budget shortfall from fiscal year 2013, the MSO implemented a significant restructuring plan and embarked on a $5 million campaign to prevent a shutdown.

Individual gifts accounted for the largest portion of the campaign at $2,800,717. This included 1,408 new donors and 662 increased gifts above the prior fiscal year.

The corporate community in Milwaukee played a significant role in helping the MSO meet its financial goals by contributing $651,500, with the largest donations from Northwestern Mutual, Rockwell Automation, We Energies, and Johnson Controls.

Additional corporate support included A.O. Smith, Baird, Hal Leonard Corporation, and US Bank.

Foundations in the Milwaukee area have also responded generously to the MSO’s campaign with donations totaling $999,000, with the largest donations from The Bradley Foundation, the Greater Milwaukee Foundation, the Helen Bader Foundation, Edward U Demmer Trust, Herb Kohl Charities, The Krause Family Foundation, and the Daniel M Soref Charitable Trust.

On Dec. 19, UPAF announced a $250,000 challenge grant for new donations to the MSO, which was fulfilled in just over a month with $250,027 from 888 new individual donors.

As part of the Finale Challenge campaign in February, $156,464 was raised to assist in closing out the overall campaign.

By fulfilling its $5 million campaign, the MSO is able to continue its key partnerships with performing arts groups in the Milwaukee area, including the Florentine Opera and the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts, and remain a cultural beacon for the city of Milwaukee and the state of Wisconsin for years to come.

Breakdown of $5 million Campaign:

$2,800,717                 Individuals (56%)

$999,000                   Foundations (20%)

$651,500                    Corporations (13%)

$250,000                   UPAF (5%)

$300,000                   Pension savings* (6%)

$5,001,271                Total

*Following the announcement of the $5 million campaign, the MSO learned of pension savings that reduced the amount of cash needed.

For more information about the MSO or to donate, please visit