Overture’s Ted DeDee and his late wife, Gail. An anonymous donor offered a gift in her name.
Wisconsin ranks near the bottom when it comes to spending that supports the arts.
According to the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, the state ranked 46th in per capita arts spending in 2014, outranking only California, Texas, Kansas and Georgia. The state of Wisconsin allocates a mere 13 cents per capita, while Minnesota leads the nation at $6.45.
This makes individual contributions vitally important, says Overture Center for the Arts spokesman Robert Chappell. And two Madison philanthropists have come through big-time, offering a dollar-for-dollar match up to $200,000 for donations made through June 15.
“Almost universally, people giving at this level don’t just want to sign a check but want to use their gift to leverage more gifts, to spur more support from the community,” says Chappell. “And it really works.”
Gifts this size are not common, adds Chappell. “This level of support is certainly rare, especially from individuals.”
Overture president and CEO Ted DeDee is confident people will step up the challenge so that Overture can leverage the available dollars: “I think the community as a whole understands the value of the arts,” he says.
Ron and Deborah Krantz have offered up to $100,000 in support of Overture’s community programs, which offer artistic and educational experiences at low or no cost to more than 200,000 children and adults annually.
“We’ve always been involved in some sort of philanthropy,” says Ron Krantz, principal and vice president at UW Provision Company Inc. In the past, they’ve tried to help underprivileged children through athletic programs. “Some people are not athletically gifted or athletically interested, so here’s an opportunity for people — athletes or not — to enjoy some of the arts in Madison.”
“It means a great deal to all of us that Ron and Deborah recognize the value of these programs to this degree,” says DeDee.
An anonymous donor is offering another $100,000 in honor of DeDee and his wife, Gail. DeDee’s wife died in December.
“Ted has offered unprecedented support for Overture’s resident companies, local artists, community arts organizations and the community at large,” the donor wrote in a prepared statement. “They made it crystal clear that Overture is committed to helping local artists succeed. That’s why I’m making this gift in their honor. A gift to Overture is a gift to support the local arts community.”
The campaign began in mid-March but so far has received little publicity. While he couldn’t release any numbers, Chappell says that the level of donations to date is encouraging.
Only donations by individuals and companies will be counted toward the match. Sponsorships and in-kind donations will not. For more information on the fundraiser, visit overturecenter.org/doubleyourpassion.